God designed marriage as the most intimate of all human relationships.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”—Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
We are supposed to be “one flesh,” but unfortunately, it seems like most marriages are not in perfect harmony. Many couples fail to recognize that their marriage is not thriving until it is in trouble. It is easy enough to fool ourselves that if we are faithful in other areas of our lives such as serving others, fellowshipping with other Believers, and spending time in His Word, then our marriages are naturally blessed.
This way of thinking isn’t always the case. Despite having a strong faith, scripture says that every marriage will have difficulty. Simply put, every marriage will face the difficulties of married life.
- “…Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles…”—1 Corinthians 7:28 (ESV)
How can we turn to the Bible to help us gain a better perspective of our role as husband and wife and recommit to our marriage covenant?
Lack of Covenant Submission Hinders Our Marriage…
Our role as husband and wife are clearly laid out in Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus:
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord… Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”—Ephesians 5:20-25
Submitting doesn’t mean you are weak. It actually means that you are coming into agreement with each other. The actual definition of the Greek word hupatasso that Paul used in this letter is, ‘to be subject to or yield to another’s preference over your own.’
Looking at this through the lens of the Hebraic roots of our covenant relationship, we get an even deeper dive into the significance of submission. Think of it this way: What is mine I have imparted to you, and what is yours has been given to me.
That Godly design of submission is shown to us in the covenant promises God made to Abraham.
“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates…’”—Genesis 15:18
Covenant promises are everlasting and unbreakable—just as the lasting blood covenant of Jesus that reconciled you to the Father forever.
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”—John 10:28
The Father is in the business of keeping His promises. And because we are His ambassadors, we are to submit to one another in love, just as He does.
Trust Restores Our Marriage…
Stop for a moment and take a personal assessment of your trust in the Lord. We are the Body of Christ, and He is our Lord and Savior. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves, “Do I truly trust the Lord with all matters of my life?”
Or, are we more selective about what we ask the Lord to help us with and determine for ourselves what we want to handle on our own?
Many marriages suffer from that way of thinking. We say we trust each other—we probably even believe it in most cases—but do we allow our husband or wife into all areas of our hearts and lives?
It’s one thing to trust your spouse with certain things, but it’s completely different to allow your partner an opinion and preference in all areas of your life. If we are honest, yielding and seeking as “one flesh” in every aspect makes us uncomfortable.
After all, shouldn’t we be independent and stand on our own two feet? The answer is no. We must identify this lie from the enemy, so we can stand on the Word of God. God calls us to be vulnerable and to show mutual respect to our spouse just as in our relationship with Christ.
God’s design for marriage is complete vulnerability and trust.
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”—Genesis 2:25
Restoration in Godly Love…
The cornerstone of a thriving marriage is that both parties are submitting to Christ.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…”—Ephesians 5:25-26
Did you catch that? Husband and wife are to be washed in the Word of God, which leads to the restoration of relationships between themselves and God.
Fortunately, the Bible gives us a perfect instruction on how to love. But this is not possible without tapping into the Holy Spirit’s power that dwells in us.
What does biblical love look like?
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.—1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What 1 Corinthians doesn’t say is that if you have two or more of the qualities listed here, then you love others. You must have all 16 facets of love to fully love “as Christ loves.”
Although this definition of love may appear overwhelming, there are steps you can take to achieve it within your marriage—if you are willing to recognize where you need God’s strength and petition for it through prayer. You can be confident that you are aligning yourself with God’s will.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”—Hebrews 4:16
Make no mistake—God’s will for marriage is for couples to live and thrive in the covenant relationship together in Him.
- “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”—Ecclesiastes 4:12
- “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”—Mark 10:9
5 Steps to Change:
1. Recognize that spiritual warfare is real in marriage. We are quick to treat our spouse as if they are the enemy, when all the while the enemy is the same serpent that deceived Eve in the garden.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’”—Genesis 3:1
Once we clearly identify the enemy, it is easier to unite as one flesh against the accuser. We then recognize the restoration God performs from the storms in our marriage. Often, God uses these struggles to bring us into a closer, more intimate relationship with Him and with each other.
2. Realize that marriage is a covenant. The marriage covenant is a voluntary eternal promise that we enter into, knowing that it is “for better or worse.” We declared on our wedding day that we knew there would be struggles, but also stated we would stick by our spouse throughout those struggles.
Our marriage covenant says that we will love our spouse even when they are unlovable in our eyes.
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”—1 Peter 3:1-2
3. Be intentional about how you interact with your spouse. We often fall into past patterns that only brought the fruit of bitterness, resentment, and anger. We allow our mind, will, and emotions to take over and expect our spouse to be the one who needs to make changes when in reality the only thing we can change is ourselves. God calls us to be humble and love each other even when we believe it's not deserved.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”—1 Peter 3:8-9
4. Continue investing in your marriage. Relationships take commitment, time, and work. A marriage will go through seasons of distraction and busyness. We grow and change over the years and must continue learning about the spiritual changes in our spouse as well.
It’s not uncommon for empty nesters to feel like strangers because they have lost track of their spouse’s changing heart over the years. Or even newlyweds to feel overwhelmed by the newness of their relationship with their spouse.
Take the time to talk to each other about your hopes and dreams, rather than just about kids, daily to-dos, and business.
>>>Read [HERE] about how Curt Landry encourages his wife, Christie, to pray—because, “it makes the day go much better!”<<<
5. Pray for and with one another.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”—James 5:16
Do you want to know the quickest way the enemy pulls down a covenant relationship? He distracts you from praying because he knows its power. Intentional prayer is our best defense against the accuser’s attack on marriage.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”—Psalm 55:22
God wants us to bring Him our worries and despairs. He wants to be the one who heals the hearts and makes the marriage thrive!
If you would like prayer about your marriage, we would love to come into agreement with you for your breakthrough!