Every year the President of the United States comes before the American people to report the condition of our nation and lay out his agenda for the country. In order to see his list of priorities through he needs to get Congress on board with his plans. Let’s pretend today that I, Jocelyn, your humble student, is the President of The Marriage Club. I want to address The Marriage Club Congress and its members about the state of our unions. We do things a little differently here in The Marriage Club because rather than offer you “my” agenda or list of priorities for your marriage, I want to offer you a biblical standard that addresses how we as the members of The Marriage Club can create and/or maintain Godly marriages. I’ll open by having you pick up…or for some of us, dust off your Bibles and turn with me to Ephesians 5:21-33. In order for us to have Godly marriages, we need to do better than our best to live by this biblical standard.
Members of The Marriage Club, the reason so many marriages fail is that husbands, wives, or both do not obey the standards God has laid out in Scripture. The divorce rate in our country is astonishing! One in two marriages will end in divorce. Directly affecting my community (the black American community) is the glaring statistic stating that, for a host of reasons, 42% of black Americans will never get married. In addition to this statistic, black Americans have the highest divorce rate (32% end in divorce) than any other ethnic group. When we are experiencing financial problems, infidelity, endless fighting or a host of other marital problems that can arise in any ethnic group, we aren’t turning to Scripture to guide us back to God’s plan. Maybe some of us don’t even know what our biblical roles are within marriage. If we are willing to learn, understand and obey the roles that God has given husbands and wives, I am certain our marriages will have a better success rate. God has a plan for each of us in marriage. Our obedience to follow that plan is what brings glory to God. My prayer is that you, the members of The Marriage Club will pray over and meditate on this scripture (Ephesians 5:21-33), often, and decide for yourselves whether you can and will do better than your best to follow God’s plan. Reflect on the text below and determine for yourselves, the state of your own union. Is the state of your union in disarray because you are out of balance with God’s plan? Does your union seek to glorify God? Have you surrendered your will, to His will, for your union? It’s never too late for us to evaluate the state of our unions and get on board with God’s plan. So what does Scripture say about the plan for husbands and wives?
God’s Plan for the Husband
- He is to be the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. True authority in the marriage relationship has been given by God to the husband. From the beginning, God designated the man as the leader in the marriage relationship (verse 23). Like Christ, a husband should be firm and decisive but also humble and unselfish. Before a husband can expect his wife to submit to him, he has to submit to Christ.
- He must love his wife as Christ loved the church. Jesus said, “I…came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). To love as Jesus loved means that a husband focuses primarily on his wife’s needs, not his own (verse 25). Just as the church loves Jesus because of his incredible display of love for it, so the wife will love and submit to her husband as she sees his demonstration of love toward her. One heart burning with love sets another on fire.
- He must encourage his wife’s spiritual growth. One of the husband’s first priorities is to make sure his wife has a good relationship with God (verse 26). He is to encourage his wife’s spiritual growth, recognizing that it affects her personal happiness as a woman, wife and mother.
- He must love his wife as he loves himself. A husband must recognize that he and his wife are actually “one.” Therefore, he must do for his wife what he would do for himself. He should give her needs as much attention as he would his own (verses 28-29).
God’s Plan for the Wife
- She must submit to her husband’s leadership. Just as a wife submits to God, seeking his will above her own, so she must submit to her husband and his decisions (verse 21, 24). The wife’s submission does not hinge upon the husband’s fulfillment of his role. Even when you feel as if your husband is not fulfilling his roles (and vice versa for that matter) you are still to remain in obedience to the role God has given you. Only if the husband asks his wife to submit to something that is not in agreement with her duties to Christ, is she to disobey her husband’s authority, but only to follow Christ (Luke 14:26; Matthew 19:29).
With this, I’d like to thank you for tuning into The Marriage Club’s State of the Union Address. Go in peace and in love. Blessings.