Commitments for Great Marriages

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Recently my wife and I were having a conversation with some friends about marriages that have fallen apart. It saddens all of us to hear of family members, co-workers or friends who once enjoyed a happy marriage but now are experiencing the heartbreak of a broken marriage. Over this past year, I have had a front-row seat on both marriages that broke apart and that have been restored. For certain, there are few things more heartbreaking to me than to see a man and a woman, who had once stood at a wedding altar and vowed to be committed to each other until death would part them, parting in life. There is so much heartache, hurt and tears. Many observe these type of situations and a say, that will never happen to us! Believe me, I hope and pray it does not! However, maintaining a growing, close, open, committed marriage takes more than mere intentions and words. It takes work! What are some commitments you and I need to to make and keep in order to have great marriages?

Commitment to Jesus:

Genesis chapter two records for us the first marriage. It was designed by God. It was really great! God designed marriages as being between one man and one woman. Though society has redefined this, it does not change was is naturally and Biblically true. Many trying to make marriage work apart from God, but it was never intended to work without Him. One man said it this way, “If you want to be a good spouse, be a good Christian first.” Those who are in love with Jesus and His Word make the best spouses. Are you committed to Jesus about everything else in life—your dreams, your jobs, your family, your spouse? Who or what holds the highest place in your life? It needs to be Jesus! Does His Word have first place in your daily life? Do you prioritize serving Him by serving others in your church family? Do you demonstrate first love to by loving His followers and assembling with them? Are you committed to responding to His preached word with determined steps of growth. A lack of commitment to Jesus will always produce struggles in our marriages.

Commitment to Your Vows:

Do you remember standing at the wedding altar and saying something like this to your spouse? “I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto pledge myself to you.”  That is a serious vow! God says it this way in the Bible, “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes 5:5)  We should not enter vows with a mindset that we can break them if we change our mind or times get rough. If divorce is an option in your mind before you make the vow, then you should not make the vow. In fact, the word divorce ought be erased from your marriage vocabulary. Remain committed to your vows by the grace of God.

Commitment to Making it Better:

There are some marriages that remain “committed” to their vows in the strictest sense, but are cold. There is friction, years of unresolved differences, emotional baggage, little communication, fear of transparency and the list could go on. Publicly, the marriage is together, but privately it is not really twogether.  Great marriages do not just happen, they are diligently built and maintained. Marriages need regular investments. What will you do in the near future to make your marriage even better? One of the reasons my wife and I host a couples retreat is that we desire to help couples make their marriages better. There is room for improvement in every marriage, including mine. I encourage you to make it better!

Can you think of some other commitments that should be made in our marriages? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below! If you are struggling in your marriage, there is hope! God is able to do what we think is humanly impossible. Please seek counsel from your pastor. If you have been divorced, please know, that God love you no matter what and still has a beautiful plan for your life. While God hates divorce, He does not hate you! You can find all the healing you will ever need in seeking Jesus with all your heart. 

Also, I would like to invite you to join my wife and I at our church’s annual Couples Retreat on March 22-23, 2019, you can find out more about it here.  We pray that it would be a blessing to you!

 

The Good Husband

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This year at Couples Retreat we were delighted to have Pastor Jeff Hargraves from Chapmanville, West Virginia with us. He and his wife, Ginger, were a real blessing to our couples. My wife and I really enjoyed the time to pause and invest in our relationship. In one of the sessions Pastor Hargraves went through a list of verses that describes a good husband and the good wife. Take sometime to read these verses and let them direct you to be a husband that pleases God.

  1. Dedicated to his wife’s happinessWhen a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business:but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. (Deuteronomy 24:5)
  2. Satisfied with his own wife—Drink waters out of thine own cistern,and running waters out of thine own well.Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. (Proverbs 5:15-16)
  3. Makes preparation—Prepare thy work without,and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. (Proverbs 24:27)
  4. Sees his wife as God’s reward—Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 9:9)  House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord. (Proverbs 19:14)
  5. Guards his spirit—And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. (Malachi 2:15)
  6. Submits his body to his wife—Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence:and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
  7. Understands his headship—But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
  8. Communicates openly with his wife—Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not:let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more:but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 5:25-32)
  9. Loves his wife as Christ loves the Church—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. (Ephesians 5:22-23)
  10. Not bitter toward his wife—Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected:for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. (Hebrews 12:14-17)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:18-19)
  11. Provides for his home—But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)
  12. Understands his wife and honors her—Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Part 2—The Good Wife will be posted later this week.