What is the State of YOUR Union?

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.

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6 Responses to What is the State of YOUR Union?

  1. Lakeshia says:

    Great Job! A lot of men and women do not know their roles or the roles are only being followed by one in the union and sadly, it is usually the wife.
    My recent post No Time For Breakfast

  2. anonymoous says:

    the woman's only role is to submit? also…did you quote the verse where it says submit to EACH OTHER?

    • The Student says:

      I pulled something I read about having a Christ-centered marriage (I didn't write this) but I hope you'll find it useful…

      …Those who call for such "mutual submission" argue that husbands are not called to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. "Evangelical egalitarian" Gilbert Bilezikian has claimed that the introduction of any authority into marriage "would paganize the marriage relationship and make the Christ/church paradigm irrelevant to it." It should be obvious to anyone who reads the biblical text with an open mind that "mutual submission" in the egalitarian sense was not in Paul's mind at all. Seven times in verses 22-33 he uses the little word "as." Wives submit to their husbands as the church does to Christ. Husbands love their wives as Christ does the church. If "mutual submission" entails the unselfish leadership of the husband alongside the caring submission of his wife to that leadership, then we have no problem with such an understanding. But that is not what is meant by egalitarians and feminists.

      Paul holds up a mirror to Christ and his relation to the church and then says, "See? This is the ideal of what a marriage should be." If that is the model, then equal submission is obviously not the correct interpretation. Does Christ submit to the church? Does He obey the church? Does He wait on the church to take initiative? The answer to each question is clearly, "No." There is no egalitarian relation between Christ and the church. Christ leads the church; the husband leads the wife. The two relationships are analogous to one another. Christ is the servant who leads (Mark 10:45). Thus husbands are servants who lead, but they do lead! Since Paul makes this analogy explicit, to deny the complementarian position is by extension a denial of the headship of Christ over the church. Paul cannot be understood as defending the feminist notion of equal submission or of full interchangeability of roles. Those who disregard this text are not simply rejecting Paul, but are rejecting Scripture and may be following a false image of Christ.

  3. nylse says:

    if the husband is doing what he's supposed to and fulfilling his role, then it's quite easy to submit. submit is not a bad word – we do it every day (for eg at work to our bosses). There is a submission to each other, but both can't be the head. someone's got to lead and it's the man. If he's leading and loving in the way God intended – submission is a non-issue. Now obey…that's another story ! :)

  4. The Student says:

    I think a couple have to define for themselves what they think of when they think "obey." I don't think its meant to be demeaning. I think of it as another level of submission.

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