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Purpose: God’s view of marriage is part 2 of 6 that shows how man's concepts of marriage go counter to God who designed marriage and made it a pattern for healthy relationships and a strong society.
Marriage is not, as most people believe, a mere human agreement with legal ramifications. In man's eyes what contract man makes he can also break.
This is the secular view of marriage. God’s Word, however, gives us an accurate perspective.
God Himself instituted marriage. God declared the two to be one in Genesis 2:24. Every marriage is divine in nature because of God’s creative Word.
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
This is seen even more clearly by the way Jesus spoke of marriage in Mark 10:9, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Every marriage has been joined together by God. No one should treat marriage as a mere man-made union.
This is not God’s concept of marriage.
Whether a marriage is done in court or in church, a man and woman take oaths before their mighty Creator.
In every marriage, then, there are three components: God, husband and wife. When one spouse, therefore, gets serious about God’s part in the marriage, great hope develops. One now has a majority! God greatly desires to pour forth His work of grace in every marriage. The Lord is looking for a spouse who will seriously apply His Word.
The divine marriage institution means that both Christians and unbelievers are all accountable to God for the way they treat their spouses and generally carry out their marital roles and duties. Marriage is not a man-made institution but a divine covenant.
How do we get this hope back? In this chapter we want to tackle the problem of hopelessness head on. Good changes do not happen until faith and hope are restored. Only then will one begin to reach the point where one’s marriage can grow.
Let’s first identify some basic observations about marriage.
Notice that our standard for harmony is based on God’s design – not a person’s feelings. Since God designed marriage, the closer we adopt that original plan, the better the marriage. This is true in a positive way as well as a negative one.
If a marriage is doing well, then the couple are to some degree doing some right things. If a couple does not have a happy marriage, then they should recognize that they have somehow departed from God’s design.
This understanding enables us to find a right approach. If a couple have a lousy marriage, then it is easy for them to accuse each other and perhaps blame God. This gets them right where the evil one wants them – without hope. But if that same couple can accept that they have fallen from God’s design (even if they do not know how), then they can turn to God with hope for improvement. They only need to discover God’s principles and by His grace carry them out.
Here are four observations about how God works in our lives and marriages. They are important to remember both for your marriage and for others.
If we do not accept these biblical perspectives on how God interacts with His people, then we will give up hope before we see any real improvement.
God wants to build great marriages.
God has a way to restore a broken marriage.
God works with those who are listening to Him.
God leads us back by living by His design.
These truths are always true for God’s people. Some of our readers might not yet know God. It is important to get to know God through Jesus Christ so that God will especially help and care for us. Once we are a follower of Jesus, we not only find forgiveness for our disobedient way but become God’s child.
For example, if a wife learns how God forgives her of all of her rebellious and stubborn ways through believing that Jesus died on the cross for her, then she can find God’s help to pass this kind grace on to her unkind husband. For purposes of this book, we assume the readers to have found God’s grace in Christ.
Because of God's design and grace, we can all step back in hope for our marriage. This is the first step to renewing marriages.
You like others will no doubt face thoughts about giving up on your marriage. ￼You might believe that you cannot make those needed changes or that your spouse will never reform.
These thoughts are not from God. You can be sure they are from the evil one. Consider these thoughts for what they are, that is, temptations.
Once we give up hope on being able to improve some aspect of our marriage, we tolerate less than desirable conditions. We see this occur when a man thinks about trying to give up pornography. He will hear,
“You can’t do it.”
“You tried it before.”
“It won’t make a difference.”
All of these statements support the main conclusion that the evil one wants you to make – give up!
A wife might have overcooked dinner in the oven again. Her husband thought he was patient, but this is the third time. He is very irritated, inconsiderate and blurts out some rude remarks.
She is thinking of rudely responding.
“I’ll serve him what he deserves – a burnt supper.”
“He didn’t even ask about my day when he came home!”
“I’ll just go out with my ‘real’ friends.
Maybe he will learn to appreciate me.”
There are two signs of giving up. The inward signs are not as evident as the outward signs but both are detectable if one is looking for them.
For example, the lack of contentment with one’s spouse often results in the outward sign of a very busy life. Why spend time with each other if he or she does not find what he is looking for at home. Along with this is the discovery that there is little attraction to be together. This can be seen by the way one finds more attraction to others even if it is in just a romantic novel or television series.
Bitterness of the heart (inward sign) finds little room for sexual pleasures so one or both spouses engage in pornography, seductive movies or affairs. An unforgiving spirit (inward) can be seen by how easily a spouse gets angry over little things. Although disrespect for one’s spouse is an inward sign, it can be noticed by impolite words.
Again, we see how cleverly these tempting thoughts are threaded together. They direct us to give up hope and respond in sin.
The Lord, however, always wants us to turn in the direction of hope. It is here that we will find strength to do His will.
Let's look at a marriage project that helps us build hope for our marriages.