MARRIAGE: Following God’s Design

Date Preached: August 4, 2019
From the Series: Family Life
Topics: marriage
Scripture: Ephesians 5:22-33
Notes: Download PDF
Speaker: Gary Combs


Who we put in charge of building our “house” can determine its success or failure. Today, we want to discuss how making God the Builder means following God’s design for our marriage. Are there areas in your marriage that need a tune-up? Or maybe even a restart? The truth is we all need help with our marriage. And the best help is found in the Lord. For God has a design for marriage.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he gave instructions on how to follow God’s design for being the family of God. Among these, are his instructions on how to follow God’s design for marriage.


Below is an automated transcript of this message:

All right, good morning, church! It’s so good to see all of you here this Sunday morning. We’re continuing our series “Family Life,” and we know that we want what’s best for our families. We always do. But sometimes we forget that God is the one who really wants what is best for our family and that we need His help.

Our theme verse teaches us that we need Him to be the builder of our family and the one that is the foundation. Here’s what we see in Psalm 27, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” The scripture tells us that we need the Lord to build the house. After all, as we learned last week, He’s the creator, and He’s the originator of the family. The family was his idea.

If we try to build it without Him, we work in vain. If we put Him in charge of her house, it leads to joy and success as we put God in charge.

This week, as we think about making God the builder, we want to talk specifically about marriage. As we talk about marriage, we’ve entitled this message “Following God’s Design for our marriage.” God came up with the idea of family; the whole idea of marriage was His idea. In fact, He made man and woman; He was the father who walked the first bride down the aisle. He was, also, the pastor who held the first wedding. We want to hear what He has to say about marriage this morning.

Last week, we took note that those who are committed to Christ and express that commitment by being faithful attenders of a local fellowship of believers and serving and giving and showing that example to their kids how that impacts their family to the good. There’s, also, a little known fact that that same thing helps marriages stay together. Making a commitment to Jesus and then making a commitment to express that by fellowship with other believers raises the likelihood and helps us stay together as married couples.

For years, I quoted the wrong statistic about this, and so I apologize for my error. It was reported to pastors all over the US. We were all saying, “What’s wrong with you Christians? You’re all divorcing at the same rate as the world. You should be different.” In fact, though, we found out that the statistics were wrong when they actually were asked the right questions. Questions like, do you study the Bible, how often do you go to church, do you serve in your church and does the husband and wife both go? When they got down into the details of really finding out if these families were committed to being involved in a church fellowship, it actually showed that their marriage did not end in divorce and had a much greater likelihood of staying together.

This was first reported by Shaun Feldhahn in her book, “The Good News About Marriage.” Here’s what she wrote. “Every study that has ever been done has found that the rate of divorce among those who regularly attend church is much lower than among those who don’t. … the bottom line is that weekly church attendance lowers the divorce rate significantly— roughly 25 to 50 percent.”

Here’s the good news; it turns out that the active practice of your belief as a Christ follower really makes a difference. Isn’t that good news? How’s your marriage doing? I put something in the bulletin today. Married couples will need to sit down and think about this. So I’m gonna read through these fifteen questions. It is kind of like a check up for your marriage, if you will. And if you’re a single person, take notes; maybe someday the Lord will have that in mind for you. If you are thinking, “No, I don’t think he has that in mind for me,” well, then take notes anyway, because you’re surrounded by people who are committed to this. You can encourage and pray for them and help them. In other words, this is for everyone.

I had someone tell me earlier in the week, “I’m not coming this Sunday because I heard you talking about marriage.” I asked this person, “ why?” She said, with tears in her eyes, “because I have failed at marriage in the past and hurts me to hear about it.” Here’s what I’ll say to you. All of us have failed at marriage in the past. Some of us had the fortunate ability to recover from and stay together, and some of us haven’t. Some of us have had a marriage that ended in divorce.

Here’s what I want to say to you. There is much grace in Christ. There is much forgiveness. and we get a “do over” in Jesus’ name. And so if you’re sitting here right now and you’re kind of like getting ready to plug your ears because I’m talking about marriage, please don’t, because I think if you’ll listen to God’s word, it will encourage you. Whether you’re single, (by the way, all of us start out single and we experience singleness over and over again, whether it’s through divorce or whether it’s to the death of our spouse, we need to get right with God) we can be right with one another including marriage, So I hope you can listen today. I hope you’ll pray right now that your ears will be open.

Now let me go through these 15 questions, and maybe you’re sitting near your spouse right now, and you can kind of be thinking about it. Here’s my recommendation; take it home and you can do it over lunch, like really talk about these 15 questions, or maybe over dinner or later in the evening, after you put the kids to bed.

Here it is:

1. How often do we laugh together? 2. When is last time we had a meaningful conversation about something other than our schedules or the kids? 3. Do we ever turn on music and sing and dance and act silly? 4. How many times in the last month have we prayed together or read the Bible together? 5. Do we ever hold hands? 6. Has our physical intimacy grown cold, infrequent, or a source of too much pressure and stress? 7. When is the last time we said “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you”? 8. When is the last time we said “Thank you” for regular, ordinary task like making dinner, doing the dishes, paying the bills, fixing the car, or folding the laundry? 9. When is the last time we (cheerfully!) said, “How can I help you this week” (and meant it)? 10. When is the last time we surprised each other with a gift, a note, or a night out? 11. Have we raised our voices at one another in the last month? 12. Are we more eager to spend time with someone at work, at church, or at the gym than we are with each other? 13. When we have time together at home, just the two of us, is the television always on in the background? 14. Are there hurts or sins or fears that we need to disclose to one another? 15. How might the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit shape our life together in this season of marriage?

I got these fifteen questions from a book written by Kevin Deyoung on getting a check up on your marriage. So hopefully you’ll take the survey. We took the time to put them in the bulletin. Maybe you can have a meal either today or sometime this week and make like your script for your date together and get serious about doing a tune up in your marriage.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the church of Ephasus, he gives them instructions on how to follow God’s design for marriage. And I believe that we can follow these instructions through the power of Jesus, who energizes us to do so. And as we look at the text you might be asking, how can we do that? How can we follow these instructions?

As we look at the text, we’ll see three instructions on how to follow God’s design for marriage. So let’s start at verse 22. We’ll read Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV) on marriage. “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” This is God’s work. Amen.

We’re looking for three instructions on following God’s design for marriage. Here’s the first, (1) Wives willingly follow your husband’s lead. Now, when Paul is writing to the church of Ephesus, six chapters jam packed with instructions on how to be the church, he included household instructions, because the church is the family of God. And so he began to talk about what it looks like to be the family of God and how Christian families should look. And he begins the conversation on Christian families in chapter five by talking about husbands and wives. In chapter six, he talks about children and parents, and then he goes on to chapter six to talk about masters and servants (today we might say, employers and employees or bosses and employees.) Here’s the thing that’s really unique about these instructions; they start from lesser to greater in all three cases, which turns the world upside down from the way things are normally thought of.

He begins with wives, and then he speaks the husbands. He begins with children, and then he speaks to the parents. He begins with servants, and then he speaks to the masters. He does this because the only way to live it out in a Christian way is to understand that what he’s looking for is for one to give permission to the other and to lead. That’s what he’s looking for so that there’s permission giving. We’re going to drill down on three key words for wives. We’re talking to wives right now, but we’re also talking to everyone in the room that is a Christ follower because we are the bride of Christ as the church.

The three key words are (1) submit, (2) head and (3) respect. Those are the three words we’re going to look at. You’ll see in verses 22 thru 24 is to wives, and then verse 33 reminds both the husband and wife what God is looking for.

Let’s work on the word submit first of these three words. In the Greek, it’s hupotasso. We get the word hupo from the Greek word meaning under. Like a hypodermic needle which goes under the skin. Tasso means under alignment or to line up under, so it literally means for wives to line up under your husband’s headship. Understand you’re doing this, wives, not in response to your husband. It says, wives command yourself, or voluntarily decide, regardless of your husband. Regardless of that external, internally say, in advance, I will line up under my husband . I will follow his lead.That’s why I put the word “willingly” in our point; willingly. So, as an act of your own will, not in response to, because let’s just face it, ladies, he doesn’t deserve it. If you do it based on him, there would be no submission. You’d be like I’m in charge because he can’t do it. I mean, let’s face it, you know, it’s not because he earned it. It’s because you are deciding I will obey God’s word and I will do so because God said to do it, because this is His design for marriage. I have decided to willingly follow my husband’s lead. Submission is permission. Get this in your head; you are giving permission to your husband to lead. You’re not making yourself a doormat. You’re not becoming one who’s just like a robot that does everything. You’re giving him permission to lead.

When you go get in the car, how many of you are climbing into the driver’s seat? If both of you try to climb in and say, “Look, I think we should be equal partners, I’ll take the break, you take the gas, I’ll take the steering wheel and you take the shifter. Have you ever seen that work out? It ends up being a wreck. You’ll end up wrecking things. You need one person driving.

Here’s what, God’s word has to say about giving permission to drive. I know what you’re already thinking, because the culture is telling, you know, that’s old fashioned thinking. That’s patriarchal; that’s whatever they’re saying. I want you as a Christian woman and as a Christian man to be thinking, ‘I don’t care what the world says. I’m gonna do what God’s word says. The family was his idea; marriage was His idea. I’m gonna do it His way because if I do it His way, by His strength , I know blessing will follow.

Submission means to line up under; to give permission for the head to be the head. Here’s the thing; later, we’ll find out that the only way the husband can be what he’s supposed to be is if you give him permission to be that because he’s not going to force you to be that because he can’t be what his commitment is. He’s not going to snatch the keys from you and throw you in the trunk of the car and lead. That’s the opposite of what he’s supposed to do. If he’s supposed to be a servant leader, you have to willingly surrender the keys to him. That’s the way it is when we follow Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t kick the door in and snatch you by your hair and drag you out and say, ‘You will follow me now.’ The Bible says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. This is the way we come to Christ. He invites us. He calls to us and he says, “Come follow me,” and then we give Him permission by submission. In the same way, wives, you are to line up under your husbands.

Here’s the problem; we have a sin problem. Every one of us has a sin problem. Here’s how it affects the wife and being the wife that God has called her to be. We find it in the following verses of Genesis, chapter three, where God is speaking to the woman, he said, “I will surely multiply your pain.” This is a result of her sin. In childbearing. In pain, you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband. But he shall rule over you. So God had made her so that she was the image of God. And he had made her in such a way so that she was a nurturer and very relational . So she’s wired for that. And so she’s wired for childbearing. Men can’t do that. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that yet only women can do that. She was built for a relationship with her husband and to support him. But sin causes both of those to go awry so that parenting hurts. Can I get a witness? Not just the physical bearing of children, but the whole process. And then being a wife who submits when in fact, the sin gene says no, ‘I want to lead.’ The sin problem causes her to want her husband’s role. So that’s the sin problem. That’s what we’re battling against. That’s why we need forgiveness in Jesus name, and that’s why we need to turn over the old nature and have a new nature born again in Jesus. We have a sin problem. It goes back to Eve, and all of her daughters are born with this. So why should we submit beyond the fact that it’s God’s word that we should obey?

Let me give you a few reasons why. Here’s one reason; because it is fitting. It is. It says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” You might look at this as proper or becoming. Hey, ladies, it becomes you. It becomes you as a Christian wife to be submissive to your husband. It’s becoming; its appropriate.

Here’s another reason; because it brings you into alignment with the word of God. That’s the one I had said earlier, but let me give you a stronger text. It is in Titus 2:4-5 (ESV) “4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” It says for wives to submit to your own husband that the word of God may not be reviled. The Greek word for reviled is blasphemo. That one’s an easy one to translate, isn’t it? So that the word of God is not blasphemed by your inappropriate behavior. When you line up under your husband, the word is proclaimed and it is shown forth.

Here’s another reason; I’m giving you reasons why submission is best for your marriage. In 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV84) “ 1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” It’s the most powerful way for a believing wife to influence her unbelieving husband. Now, may I say to you, Peter is not proposing that you should marry an unbelieving husband or that a husband should marry a nun. In fact, Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, in 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV) “14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” He warns that we shouldn’t be unequally yoked or in a partnership with an unbeliever because God’s goal for us is oneness.

Now, wives, some of you didn’t obey that and now you’ve married a “fixer upper.” She goes, ‘I see potential; I feel like I could just it bring out. I see goodness in him. I think I can bring it out.’ All of your girlfriends and your family say, ‘no, no, no.’ But you say you love him; once that happens, your brain has gone out the window and you’re already at that place where you’re thinking with your heart, not with your head. Husbands do this too.

But here’s the thing, if you’re a single woman right now, let me just warn you right now because you still have time. You’re a single woman right now and you’re thinking that you can fix him. He’s on his best behavior right now because he’s trying to get you. He is trying to win you. The minute you marry him, it’s just going to go downhill, so listen to me. Don’t do it. Marry a believer; no missionary dating. Missionary dating is when you feel like you can lead him to Jesus. Don’t do missionary dating; it’s too dangerous because you’ll lose your head and start feeling with your heart.

But let’s say you’ve already made a bad decision . You’re sitting there right now thinking how you could get out of the sermon; that’s what you’re thinking. What do I do? How do I get out of here? 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV84) “1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” was written for you.

1Corinthians 7 says this, “If you’re unbelieving husband or your unbelieving spouse will live with you and peace and not leave you that you should stay with him or her because you’ve made a covenant before God to stay with him.” In 1 Peter:3 it says that if you live as the design of marriage for you calls for your behavior, it has the best chance of winning him or her to Christ. These are reasons that I’m giving, and I could give more, but I wanted to help you understand that there is the sin problem. The command is here and the benefits.

Okay, so we’ve been talking about lining up under our husbands as leader. Here is the second word; it is head. Notice it doesn’t say president; it doesn’t say dictator . He is the head , which is an organic, not an organizational term. It’s a beautiful word. What’s a head without a body, it just rolls around. It can’t do anything right. You need a body to support the head, and you need a head in order to nourish and lead the body. What does He want to show in marriage: Unity, oneness, the beauty of His creation and that we are the image of God. We are image bearers of God. Marriage is to be showing oneness. And so the husband is to be lined up under God as the head of the body. Headship is about function, not equality. We are equal, but the head has a function. It’s not because he was born somehow superior and that he could lead better. And in fact, often the wife might be a better leader. She might have more leadership gifts than the husband, but in marriage she is to show forth the image of God , which means, she says, ‘I’m going to submit to him as the head, which gives him permission to be the kind of head that God’s calling him to be.’ 1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV) “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

Let me ask you a question. Is the Father greater than the Son? Is the Son greater than the Spirit? No. They are one God; they are in unity. This is the mystery of the Trinity, that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are one and equal persons. They are all God, yet the Son submits to the Father and the Spirit submits to the Son. So there’s mutual submission and beauty in the Godhead. And so then Jesus says things like this, “I only say what the Father tells me to say. I only do what I see the Father doing.” And then He says, “I will send the Spirit. He will remind you of everything I have taught you.” And so they submit to one another and are equal yet mutually submissive.

This is the picture of marriage. This is the mystery and the beauty of it. It’s not about equality. It’s about function, and we are equal in Christ, as shown in Galatians 3:28 (CEV) “Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.” Headship is about function, not equality. It’s about functionality; that God has instructions, and He has a purpose for you.

So we’ve covered two words: submit and headship. Let’s cover the final word: respect. It’s found in Verse 33. It’s kind of a surprise when we land there and encounter the word respect. It’s a surprise as I’m reading it because He’s not mentioned it in all those verses prior. Verse 33 is clearly summarizing what he’s taught. He says, “Wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives,” and he goes into detail about how to do it. Then he gets to verse 33 he says, ‘Oh, by the way, let me just say again,’ “ Husbands love your wives.” No surprise there, he’s summarizing wives respect your husband. It’s kind of a surprise.

Why is it there? We’re going to unpack the word respect. It might be looked at like this; earlier, I said, submission is permission. I think respect is response. Let me try this out for you and see if this helps. Submission is her permission for him to be the head. Respect is her response to his loving headship. Submission is permission giving; respect is her response to how he’s leading.

Another way of saying this is respect is how she shows her husband love. In other words, he receives love through the respect gate because he’s not like you . I don’t care what the world says, that men and women. We are not the same; to say we are is a lie. We are all born different.

This is from Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, She most desires the respect he desperately needs from this book, he writes. “In marriage, a woman’s basic need is to feel loved whereas a man’s basic need is to be respected… Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person… When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband.” He calls this the crazy cycle. Now here’s the crazy cycle. Have you ever been on the crazy cycle? This is what a crazy cycle looks like without love from the husband. She reacts without respect, which causes him to react without love, which causes her to react with even more disrespect, so that he reacts even more without love. And there you go. You need to get off the crazy cycle.

How do you do that? We’re going to talk about it more as we get into talking about the husband. But this is what it looks like in terms of respect and love. Respect is the need that the husband needs more. In fact, if you ask 100 men that are married which would matter to you more, that she is respectful and she doesn’t put you down or that she expresses love towards you. Which one would, if you had to give up one which one? Approximately 90% of the men would say that they wanted to be respected. They want respect. They want to be looked to. They want them to talk good about them.

If you were to ask a woman something like that, she would say, ‘I want to know that I’m loved. I want to know that he cherishes me.’ He has a deep need for respect.

Here’s the closing question for wives. Will you follow God’s instructions? Will you decide that God knows better than the world does? God knows more about marriage, since it was His idea, than you do. Will you submit? Will you line up under your husband as the head and respect him as God instructs?

Now here’s to the husbands. You ready, guys? You’ve got the longest section. The wives had to go first, but you’ve got more verses. Husband, sacrificially love your wife. I am trying to capture the word agape here, which is translated love. There are three words I’m going to focus on. For the wives, we focused on love, headship and respect for the husband. Now, let’s focus on love, nourish and cherish which will help us understand the role of the husband.

The first word is love. The Greek word here is a agape. I like the Greek language. It’s much more precise than the English language; they say we have one word for love. We say, ‘I love my dog. I love my car love, chocolate and I love my wife.’ You can tell that there’s an awful lot of grey area there that we kind of overuse it. But in the Greek, there are three Greek words for love: Aros means sensual, sexual love; we get the word erotic from that word. Phileo means conditional or friendship love. The city of Philadelphia is named after brotherly love and is named from the Greek word phileo which means I love you because you’re my sister. I love you because your my mom, I love you because you’re pretty. I love you because…. It’s conditional. But then the highest love is God’s kind of love, agape, which means sacrificial love. I love you as an act of the will because God has poured out his love on me. I love you in spite of not because of.

Husbands, you’ve got the longest section. Your word is just as hard if not harder than theirs. Husbands love like Jesus who laid His life down for the church sacrificially and died. What’s the kind of leadership that the husband is called? What kind of headship is he called to? It’s servant leadership. That’s so that he leads like Jesus so that he’s a certain he can’t do this if she doesn’t give him permission. Now, there are husbands who forcefully take the role and and it never works out that way. But for him to be a servant leader, she has to permit him to do it. This is the beauty of the of the instruction here.

Notice there are two verses on how to love; verse 25 says, “As Christ loved the church,” verse 28 says, “as their own bodies.” There are two kind of metaphors that Paul gives to help husbands. “As Christ loved the church” is the first and then “as your own bodies.” Let’s look at the first one, “as Christ loved the church;” we see it in verse 25. How did Christ love the church? First of all, he died for the church. Husbands should be willing to put her first.

When I’m doing premarital counseling, I always look to the man and say, “You should drive the beat up car and let her have the new car.” I don’t like to see a husband pull up in the parking lot and he’s got one those chromed out Ford F150’s with all the bells and whistles on it and she comes up in some kind of a 20 year old minivan that’s blowing smoke out the back. That’s a problem for me. I’m gonna go out and call you out on that. Men like boys and their toys. And then your wife and kids going around taking leftovers. Men, listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me. Put her first . It would be much easier for her to line up under you if you’re always loving her like Christ loves the church. Put her first.

First of all, you’re a sacrificial leader. In verse 25 and then in verse 26 say to sanctify her with the word. Now what in the world he’s talking about? It is what Christ did for the church. ‘So what’s in that for me as a husband? I’m not Christ.’ If Christ lives in you, you’re to be the spiritual leader of your family. So what kind of a servant leader? You to be a sacrificial leader and a spiritual leader. Husbands are to be the spiritual leader of their house, sanctifying her with the word. She needs to know that you’re leading in prayer, that you’re reading the Bible on your own so that you’re bringing a fresh word. you would mean.

Listen, men, you wouldn’t believe how many of your wives make appointments to come see me to pray for you. They say, ‘My husband won’t pray. I’ve never heard my husband praying. I have to make him come to church with me.’ Here’s the thing about it, guys; in most cases, women are much more spiritually receptive than men. We’re kind of hard headed guys. Sometimes the wife gets saved first when we’re both unbelieving. Sometimes the wife gets saved first or she’s just more committed. She’s taken notes at church. She’s reading the Bible daily. That’s often the upside down, because that’s what sin often does is the husband is passive and he won’t lead spiritually.

Men, if you want your wife to line up under you and respect you, give her something to respect. Be a sacrificial leader. Put her first, put the kids first and yourself last and then be a spiritual leader, washing your wife and your family with the word of God. How you gonna do that if you don’t put it in you first? Come on. I’m preaching to you from God’s word. I’m preaching to myself. How do you love, like Jesus, and then as your own bodies?

In verse 28, here are second two words. We’ve talked about he’s must love and be like Jesus and then verse 28 as you love your own bodies. And then he gives these two action verbs to help you understand how you do that; by nourishing and cherishing, found in verse 29

First of all, nourishes has the idea to nurture or to feed or provide. For now, most women and any time I say a thing like that, I know there’s like a lot of women who are thinking, ‘I’m not like most women.’ Well, anyway, I’m trying to speak in generalities. My observation as a pastor through 27 years as a husband of a woman, as a father of a daughter and I had a mother. Did you have a mother? I had a mother. I’ve got some observations about women that I think are somewhat accurate. I hope I can get a witness on this that women want security. They want to know that the bills are going to get paid. They want a home that looks nice, and is a safe place to live. They desire, by in large, security more than men. They value security more highly and deeply than men; that is my observation. Whereas men would live by themselves if they never had women in their lives; they don’t really care that much. They are higher risk takers. They don’t take good care of their bodies. They don’t take care of their home. They will take really great care of their F Ford F 1 50, but other than that, everything else they kind of like don’t care so much until they get married. Then they start caring about these things.

Your wife needs to be nourished. She needs to know that that you’re working hard as a provider to provide. Now, should both of you work together as a team? Sure. You’ll work it out. However, she has a unique need to know something; that there is security. That you’re involved as nurturer.

Here’s the second word: cherish. it literally means to keep warm. It means to keep someone warm. It means to be gentle and tender. These are all kind of opposite words of how we view masculinity, but we’re talking about her needs that you are to meet. You are to love her, nurture her and cherish her. In other words , be tender with your words and with your touch. Do not be rough and dot not be harsh or cruel.

Colossians 3:19 (ESV) “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” That speaks to the idea of cherishing. ‘Well, I’m a man, you know. She just needs to love me the way I am. It’s how I am. No, both of you need to grow up in Jesus, both of you. . The husband and wife have got some changing to do because the old nature leads to divorce and death. The new nature in Christ leads to oneness, and eternal life. Which one do you want? Trust God’s word. If we follow his instructions, it makes a difference. It leads to blessing. Don’t be harsh with your wife. Cherish her sacrificially and with understanding and honoring her.

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” I will mention more on that in just a second…”since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” So, husbands live with your wives in an understanding and honoring way; she is the weaker vessel. Now what do we mean by weaker vessel? If my wife is sitting here, she’s going to say, ‘I don’t know what they’re talking about here because when I get a bad cold, I go to work. When Gary gets a bad cold, I have to bring him chicken soup in bed.’ Most times, the husband has a physique that’s much stronger than the woman, other than the wife. Perhaps he’s speaking of this, but I think more is revealed as you look at the word vessel. Vessel is a common Greek word that means plate or cup. Something that you put something in to eat or drink from. She is the weaker vessel.

Why did he use that phrase ology? Here’s what Peter’s saying, You should cherish her. Honor her like fine china. Not that she’s so much weaker than you or looking down upon her but that God has given you headship and you should honor her. She’s not ordinary everyday ware.

Now, at my house, we have special plates, special cups and special glasses. We have glasses that have the letter C on them that were given to us when we were married. We never drink from these glasses. They’re up in the top shelf. We can’t reach them. We only get them out when company comes. We have special plates, and we have special cups that have Christmas trees on them. We only get them out at Christmas. The kids all go, “It’s the Christmas plates! She says, “Be careful; they aree made of china. Don’t break them.” Honor them and understand them. These are only for Christmas. Are you all with me? I’m being a little ridiculous. I’m overstating a little, but you have only one wife, husbands. She’s special. She’s not like any other woman. She’s not your mother. She’s not your sister. She’s not your daughter. She is special and understand that and honor her as that. Can I get a witness? Are you still in the house? Cherish her. Cherish her like fine China.

Here’s the problem. You know, the daughters of Eve have a sin problem that prevents them in the flesh from obeying God’s instructions. In fact, they’re bent to do the opposite of what God made them to do.

In the same way, men are bent to do the opposite because of the sin nature. What’s their sin nature? He tends to be a heeder and not a leader. That’s a letter D in there. I tried to emphasize heeder not a leader. Look at what it says in Genesis. This is God speaking to Adam in Genesis 3:17 (NKJV) 17 “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” Men were made to lead and to work. That’s where they get their identity. Sin has worked it so that we become passive and don’t want to lead. We don’t like to hand the keys to the car to the wife . We just kind of leave them on the dash. She starts driving and we kind of enjoy it because it’s kind of like having a mom. These men are boys that never grew up and their mom spoiled them rotten; they think their wife is supposed to do the same. So we have these boys trying to be husbands. They have their games and their toys.

Men are built to be trucks, not cars; trucks have that heavy suspension. And a truck just doesn’t run right without a load. When men get a load on and they start growing, they stop being little boys and they start being men. They start carrying a load. Trucks just run better with a load in the back. And that’s what’s going on here.

The sin problem is we want to be passive, ‘Whatever you want, honey. Yeah, you take the kids to church. I might make it to the 11 o’clock…’ We put her in charge of everything until we want our way with something. And then we try to snatch the keys back.

Remember the crazy cycle that I mentioned a moment ago? Remember that one, how, without love, she reacts. Without respect, which means he reacts without love. How can we break? Don’t you want to get off the crazy cycle?

There’s another cycle described in this book called The Energizing Cycle. In the book, Love and Respect, he says, “If we really love our wives as we should, it motivates her to respect us, which motivates us to love her more because she’s respecting us. So we love her more and then she respects us more. And then we love her more. And then she respects us more. That’s a better cycle. Who’s gonna go first? That’s the problem. I think he should go first. I think she should go first.

Husbands, lead, love, cherish, honor, respect, understand, nourish. Do your part and she will start. But even if he doesn’t, wives do it anyway. Somebody has to get off the crazy cycle. Somebody has to go first. It would be better if both of you win at the same time when you sacrificially love your wives, nurturing and cherishing her according to God’s design.

Here’s number three: MARRIED: Display the mystery of our oneness in Christ. Verses 31 and 32 because after all, Paul was talking about the church and Christ the whole time. He was giving us housekeeping instructions about husbands and wives. But he’s really talking about the church and Christ, and he quotes Genesis 2:24 saying, “Therefore, a man shall leave his fathe and mother and hold fast to his wife. The two shall become one flesh.” He’s quoting the founding documents of marriage in Genesis 2: 24. God’s intent for marriage was oneness, which mirrors the oneness of the Trinity, which is a mystery. It also mirrors the mystery of Christ in the Church, which is all the believers who come to Christ are one with Christ and therefore one with the Father and one with each other.

This is the mystery. And so when he says, in verse 30, this mystery is profound, what mystery is he talking about? He’s pointing to one flesh. What’s the mystery? That the husband and wife become one flesh? This is the mystery that points to Christ and the church. In what way are we one flesh? I don’t see my wife appear connected to me right now. She’s not standing here, but the minute I mentioned her, I’m reminded of all the oneness that is true for over 40 years now. We’ve been married this past June, the biological unity. He created us so that we’re perfectly fitted for one another. The male and the female, the husband and the wife are biologically fitted so that there is mutual pleasure and procreation. This is how he designed for the generations to come forward so that we’re biologically one. Relationally, we are to leave and cleave, leave and hold fast. Relationally we are to show that we stay together no matter what, through thick and thin. Remember those vowsthat some of us took, ‘for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse in sickness and health. So help me God.’ I remember all of those vows; the oneness that’s relational and then the spiritual union.

Are you surprised by this? That we are made spiritually one in Christ? You shouldn’t be surprised. The scripture says He’s both witness and participant in our marriage. God is witness and participant.

Malachi 2:14-15 (ESV) 14 “… the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” God is both witness and participant.

Notice how Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes. He said, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV) “9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Now, Solomon, the wisest man in the world, knew how to do math. One plus one is two. Where do you get a threefold cord? He’s showing us something here that God is both witness and participant because he cares about your marriage and it points to Christ in the church.

If you read 20 to 33 carefully, you’ll see that Christ is named five times if you include references to him as Lord or as Savior or as Him or Himself the pronounced over 15 times. In other words, this passage is more about Christ than it is about husbands or wives.

He wants your house to be his lighthouse. He wants your marriage to show forth the glory of God through your oneness and unity in this world and you’ll be unique. It points not just to its present desire for oneness but to the future.

In Revelation, Chapter 19, (I’m running out of time, so I’m not going to read it. I’ll assign it to you) where he talks about the wedding feast of the lamb and the bride which is the church You’re invited. Look at verse 9, “and the angel said to me, blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the lamb .” You’re invited.

And then I would remind you of Christ’s prayer for our oneness. John 17:20-26 (NLT) 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

Don’t you want to make the last prayer that Jesus prayed on planet Earth come true for your part in your marriage? Jesus, may your prayer come true in my marriage and in this church that we would be one with the father, the son and the Holy Spirit and that the world would know about him as we display the mystery of Christ in the church by being one in marriage, I want my life, my house, to be a lighthouse. How about you?

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, Thank you for this word. Thank you for your instructions. I pray , first of all, for the person that’s here today, and they need to just get right with you. I pray for you, my friend. Right where you are right now that you would pray along with me. Dear Lord Jesus, You can pray it right in your seat. Prayer is just talking to God. Right in your seat. Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I need a savior. I submit to you. Man or woman, that’s where it begins. I submit to you as my lord and savior. I believe you died on the cross for my sin, that you raised from the grave and that you live today. Come and live in me. I invite you. I give you permission to save me and be my lord and my savior. I submit to you willingly. That’s the first prayer lord that we offer now for those that are coming to Christ. Others are here today. And you would say I’m a Christian, I believe. But I I’ve got problems. I need help with my marriage. Lord, forgive me. I hHaven’t been the husband I should have been. I haven’t been loving. I haven’t cherished. I haven’t been a nurturer. I haven’t been a spiritual leader. Lord, I repent. Please forgive me. Help me to change. Give me strength. I’m a wife that hasn’t been respectful. I’ve tried to get my own way. . I’ve tried to change him. I’ve tried to fix him. Lord, forgive me for trying to take your role. I just give him to you now and I surrender afresh. I want to be the wife you’ve called me to be. You pray the way the Lord’s put it on your heart, right? Yeah, We’re all repenting now because we all desire this new life in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.