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Husband - Wife Relationships

I would like to explore some biblical concepts of husband and wife relationships. I think that God has blessed me with an excellent marriage for the past 25 years. I would like to share some of the principles from God’s word that have been the center of our marriage. Genesis 2:24 is the first verse in the Bible that talks about marriage. “For this reason (woman came from the man) a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Marriage and the family is God’s institution not man’s invention. When the government is now trying to redefine marriage to include homosexual relationships, the government is abandoning God’s word.

A key to a good marriage is that parents do not interfere in the marriage relationship of their children. Many couples have “in-law” problems. Many of the problems arise because the parents never really approved of the marriage in the first place. Other parents cannot give up their daughter or son. They want to keep control. According to the bible that is wrong. The Lao culture is a culture where extended family is very important. That is terrific. North American families are too independent. I believe that God wants families to work together and respect each other. We all need to get along together in love and build each other up. On the other hand there are some problems in cultures like Japan, China and Laos that arise because these cultures are not based on Christian principles. When there is a dependence on family to the extent that parents control even their married children there are problems. When our children marry we are to let them go and bless their marriages according to this verse in Genesis 2:24. Our relationship are not to be independent like many North American families, dependent like many Oriental cultures but interdependent like God’s word teaches. Many times a family sets aside things as holy to the Lord instead of helping family. That is independence. Interdependence is where there is a mutual carring but not interferring.

One of the sayings Lydia’s mother told her was, “Live far enough away that I can only see the smoke from your chimney.” The meaning of this proverb is that parents should not be able to hear or see what their married children are doing but that they could still be close. We have lived with parents for several months at a time and know the challenges of living and working together. This is fine for a temporary situation but not a good long term solution. Fortunately we have good Christian parents who are kind and considerate. We have been able to help each other out from time to time. That is inter-dependency.

A second very important principle that we learn from Genesis 2:18 is that God originally created a woman to be a helper for man. Lydia has been a tremendous help for me throughout our marriage. She has worked along side of me though many challenges. She has been very resourceful, creative and careful. When I was a student at university and seminary, she was very supportive. God has blessed me with a very great helper. We have worked together and many times I have received credit when she worked as hard as I did. God will bless her for her faithfulness and her support.

One important lesson I learned early in our marriage was that I could help my wife become better or bitter. I did not want her to become sour so I have worked at trying to keep her life sweet.

Men - you keep your wife sweet by being considerate, loving, and praising your wife often. When is the last time you thanked your wife for making a meal, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the house? Some men would say - why should I thank her for doing those things? That’s her job. Who wrote up the job description for her? Are you paying her to do those things? Make her job easier and increase her joy in doing these things for you by praising her a couple of times a day for the things she is doing for you. If you only nag and complain you will make your own life miserable. You have the power to destroy your spouse and to live in misery or divorce.

The bible tells us to esteem, think of others as more important than ourselves. (Phil 2:4) You need to honour, and cherish your mate. This happens when we believe in divine guidance. If we believe that God is in control and that he has the very best for us then we must believe that the one that God gave us for marriage is the very best person in the world. Have you ever told your wife or husband that he or she is the very best person in the world? Do it with sincerity and you will be surprised how that will pull you together. The more we praise and honour our spouse the better person he or she will become.

Marriage is sacred. The world destroys God’s standards by encouraging men and women to live together without getting married or saying that it is OK for men to live with men or women with women in an intimate relationship. Do not allow your godly standard to be attacked by cheap videos or TV programs. Don’t waste your time before the TV absorbing an alternate lifestyle that will destroy your marriage.

Ephesians 5:31, 32 states that the relationship of husband and wife is compared to Christ and the church. Christ is to present the church as pure and spotless before God. The husband is to encourage his wife to grow spiritually and take on godly character.

A passage that has had significant impact in our marriage relationship is found in 1 Corinthians 7:2 - 5. Our body is not our

own. This verse speaks about the need to give our total self over to our mate. Men, even when we don’t feel like serving our family after a hard day at work, realize that we have a responsibility to care for each member of our family. Remember that we are to give ourselves to our family as Christ gave himself for the church. We are to sacrifice ourselves to help others. That means that even though we are tired, we keep on and serve our family. Jesus served the people even when He was tired and his disciples wanted to send everyone away. Wives - there are times when your husband wants to be close. Seek to please him and satisfy his desires. Men - there are times each month when the Bible commands us not to be intimate with your wife. Lev 18:19, Lev 20:18. Husbands need to e more sensitive to their wives needs. Be tender and loving. Be considerate and kind. These are things which God wants for all Christians. Take time to relax with your family and talk together with the TV and other distractions off. Find out what they would like to do and work together as a family. I have trouble doing this but I have made it a goal to try to do this more with my family. Lydia and I have been talking about retirement perhaps still 20 years away. We are discussing the possibility of building a new home. We are talking about a vacation with Lydia’s parents. Most men find it a challenge to talk about these things but this is what God wants us to do to be effective as husbands and fathers.

Learn to talk about things which take money. - a new car, a home, a new outfit or eating out - anything which could cause a conflict in your relationship. Better talk about it and be in agreement than one person spend money and cause disagreements. I know some men will go and spend money on something they know their wives would not want them to have and then argue and fight. Men - this is wrong. Ladies it is wrong for you to do the same kind of thing. It is like taking a knife and making a big cut on your spouse’s body. It will take time to heal but there will always be a scar. If we do it often or deep enough the scar tissue will build up and the flesh becomes hard and ugly. It will affect our relationship. ( Index fingers - one cut and scarred - cannot move all the way. )

Set goals together. When do you want a new car? What kind of car should it be? How much can you afford? What would happen if you got laid off. Could you afford payments? Work together as a team and not two selfish people trying to outdo the other. The more you work together the better your relationship will become.
Last year just before our 25th wedding anniversary we wanted to pay off our house mortgage. Lydia worked with our finances and we spend our money very carefully. Now we do not have any debts and we can do a few more things together like taking her our for Valentines day to a restaurant and getting her flowers. We were able to go out as a family last night to enjoy the play at UMEI. There are times when you sacrifice your own desires for the best of the family.

There may be times when we try to communicate but it seems that one of the couple does not want to change. There is a time to go for family counseling to get help. God has given us brothers and sisters that can help to work through problems from a fresh point of view. I would like to encourage you to consider going to the Seminar on Basic Life Principles at Cobo Hall in Detroit from April 28th to May 3rd. This seminar not only helps individuals but families to grow together.

May God direct us as we remember the three things which I have tried to explain this morning. 1. We are to leave our parents and cleave to the one God has given for our whole life. 2. Wives are a helpmate but husbands are to love and esteem their wives. 3. Your bodies, your lives are not your own so you need to work together and sacrifice your own desires for your family. If we follow these spiritual guidelines we will have much better families.
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Lao Christian Fellowship - Leamington
Feb 22/ 97