You’ve probably heard that there are several basic reasons why marriages fail. The main issues:
- Lack of communication
While these are certainly factors in many break-ups, they don’t need to be.
- Can we work through this?
- Can we come to an understanding?
- Is a compromise necessary?
- Does anyone—or do both—need counseling?
- Can we change the way we relate to each other?
- Can we take steps to correct the problem?
The Bible gives clear instructions for marriage. Let’s look at Ephesians 5, “The Family Chapter.” Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:21-33).
This passage begins with mutual submission, distinct roles, and the beautiful parallel between the marriage relationship and Christ with His church. (I wonder how many marriages look like Christ and the church.) So, what’s our problem? It’s not in not knowing how to do it right. The Bible clearly says:
- The wife—Puts herself under the authority of her husband and responds to him. She respects him.
- The husband—Loves his wife and gives himself for her. He nourishes and cherishes her.
The problem with marriages is a problem with the human heart.
It’s a very bad, four-letter word: S-E-L-F.
When the wife only thinks of herself—her desires, how her husband doesn’t meet her needs, how unhappy she is, how she wants to use her time, how she wants to spend her money, how her parents are great and his aren’t, what she wants to read, and what she wants to look at—she becomes discontent.
When the husband only thinks of his own needs, his own body, his own desires and lusts, his own gadgets and toys, his own wanting power and needing to be the boss, he becomes a demanding, manipulative tyrant.
SELF . . .
The ugliest word in marriage.
Would you like to hear a much better word?
When the wife pleases her husband, and the husband looks out for his wife’s interests, the marriage goes well.
Simple? No. Only through Christ living in us, our commitment to our marriage, and obedience to the Bible can we ever come close to being selfless. Let me share a couple of helpful verses with you.
- For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
- Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
How can you make this practical? Maybe you need to spend less time online, focus on your spouse’s needs, and show love when you don’t feel love or when you’re tired. What would make your husband or wife happy? Do it. What will please your husband/wife? Do it. Is there something you do that drives your spouse crazy? Quit doing it. Think of him more than you think of yourself.
Now that’s a better word!