Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Will You Marry Me?”

Part IX

How much do you know about marriage?

In observance of humanity, I am persuaded to believe that too many know too little about this subject. I invite you to study this very important theme as God has instructed and instituted this union.

The need is obvious. It is obvious by the fact that two out of three marriages end in divorce today (a stat that has even found its way into the “Body of Christ”). It is obvious by the advice given by marriage counselors, preachers, in-laws, lawyers, advice columnists, and by this entire like. It is obvious by the attitude of many of our civil authorities, Senators, representatives, and so on. It is obvious by the teaching that our children are exposed to in our public schools.

It is interesting to note that none of the above, including most preachers, refer to God’s word in dealing with marital problems, or even teaching in advance the understanding of marriage as God has revealed it. God’s word affirms that there is not a problem that a husband or wife may have that God doesn’t answer.

The key is: APPLICATION!!!

Up to this point, the lesson we have engaged in show that we should be impressed with the fact that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition, but a 100/100 proposition. Each party involved has responsibilities that are 100% his or her own; and if the marriage is a happy and successful one, each working to fulfill these responsibilities. In the last several lessons we have examined in brevity some of the basic responsibilities of the perspective husband and wife. Beginning with this lesson we are going to look at some of the necessary ingredients that must go into a happy marriage.

It is vital to note that these ingredients are focused on ATTITUDE!

Understanding –        

1 Peter 3:7Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

I find it interesting that although the man is the head in the marriage relationship, and we already know that he is commanded to love his wife as himself (Ephesians 5:28); Peter commands the man to dwell with their wife in understanding, giving honor  to the wife!

Note: Many have struggled with the mention of the woman as the “weaker vessel”; and although there are physiological truths to this (yet, we also know that in many ways she is stronger in certain arenas than men), it is not truly what Peter is speaking towards.

Consider your mothers fine china. Do you treat it like the daily dishes, or is it given a reverent respect and appreciation for the special occasions that it is used for? Peter is simply stating that men should elevate their wives as something of the greatest value and needing to be made more precious than anything else in his possession! Doesn’t this coordinate with Ephesians 5:28-29?      

This is not happenstance, a side thought, nor is it something that will be confined to just the man before or after the couple is married. Let’s take a look at this subject.

First, the man and woman that are planning to enter into the marriage relationship ought to spend the necessary time to come to an understanding of just what marriage is all about, as described by God!

To many times today, husbands and wives have become competitors instead of companions!!!

They must understand that marriage is ordained by God and that it is He who joins them together as husband and wife. They need to understand that God is the greatest marriage counselor that there is and that His book, His word is the greatest marriage manual that can be had. All of this is just the beginning of understanding!

Second, perhaps the most important and difficult part about this understanding is to be able to understand each other!

The husband, in order to respond to his wife, must try to understand that she is different than he is (don’t say duh! Are you really ready to understand your potential mate?).

Here is a thought that may help you comprehend the difficulty in this instruction: Say that all you’re working like you have done a specific job; then the time comes to train a replacement. You train the replacement to do the job exactly how you did it. The following week, the new employee fails miserably. Management and you go in to see why. You complain, “I showed him exactly how I do this job”. The new employee agrees, and then says, “He showed me exactly how he does the job right handed, but I am left handed; and he says I have to do it exactly like he did it!” Where was the veteran employees understanding of the new employee?

The woman thinks differently, she is made differently, her emotions are different, and therefore her needs are different (those of us who have raised girls were very thankful for this difference during the teenage years!!!).

Without this understanding the husband cannot relate to, nor treat his wife as a wife ought to be treated. Along with this understanding he ought to also understand her responsibilities, as well as his own to the marriage. Do you really understand your potential mates? Having this understanding, wives will never be left wanting!

Third, wives do you really understand your husbands? Do you understand that he is different than you? Do you understand the responsibilities that God has assigned Him? Do you understand your responsibility as a help-meet to him? Do you understand that universally he is not as emotional as you and if he does show a little emotion that he is no less a man? Do you respect the great role in the marriage and family that God has given him, his likes and dislikes and respect them?

Fourth, each partner must try to understand why the other acts as they do or why they say the things that they say; what they value, and is God in the center of it!!! Each should also try to understand self as they relate to each other. Can you see why understanding is so important and necessary for a successful working marriage?

Fifth, the lack of understanding in the marriage relationship is purely selfishness, and selfishness is the hidden cause of virtually all domestic conflicts (James 4:1).

Note the words of Paul to Christians in their submission towards one another; which has application here as well:

Romans 15:1-3We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”” (Psalms 69:9)

Similarly, Paul had this to say about selfishness, note:

Philippians 2:3-4Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The use of the word “nothing” extends the borders of unlimited actions to be regulated by this command; which would include how we interact as husband and wife!

If husbands and wives have a proper understanding they will work to assist each other rather than to please self! This is clearly understood by those of us who wish to maintain harmony with God in our service to Him (fellowship – joint participation), why would we then struggle to see the necessity in the harmonic union of marriage?

In dealing with understanding, just as it is essential in every walk of life, we must submit to the wisdom of God. Virtually all wickedness can be accredited to the lack of understanding. Note what terms Paul would use to describe perilous times to come after the Apostolic age:
2 Timothy 3:1-4But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

Everything mentioned here has a root in selfishness!!!

(Did anyone count how many times understanding is emboldened in this lesson? Just curious?)

Next: “Trust, Giving and Taking, and Communication