MAINTAINING CHRISTIAN MATRIMONY
Once upon a time there was a perfect marriage—one time, and from then on it was different.
Adam and Eve had a perfect marriage in the Garden of Eden. They were two holy and perfect people, blended into one, making a perfect union. Then came the day when they fell into sin and the marriage was no longer perfect. God punished them, but He also provided a way for them to become sanctified, making them acceptable despite their imperfection. Now we can attain a marriage made holy by two people living sanctified lives. Two people, sinful in nature, but giving God complete control of their lives, becoming holy only by the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ, blending their lives, become a holy union. This holy union is a level that is unreachable and unattainable by the world. This oneness is unknown to them.
Natural love was created by God, too. Christians and the world alike understand this love. It is a love that withstands trials and circumstances of the natural sense and grows or wanes with time. It can be partially broken and restored again; it can make a marriage last. But still, in many ways, an emptiness or lack is there. Two people having only the natural love continue to long for a sweeter union.
How can two believing persons maintain a holy matrimony? If husband and wife are spiritual and completely submitted to God in every way from their wedding day forward, this would seem to be the answer. But is it possible? Can both be in command? To survive the days of trials and storms, God set up a plan that would strengthen this union. He created a hierarchy: Christ is the head of the home, the husband is head of the wife, and they together are responsible for the children.
Christ loved His bride (the church) so much that He died for her. So, too, must the husband love his wife. But just as the church (the bride of Christ) desires to be obedient to Christ, so also must the wife obey her husband.
A husband who is demanding and harsh to his wife disgraces his Head (Christ), and it is very difficult for the wife to submit to his proud way. When a husband is kind and loving in his manner, it is easy for his wife to follow his leadership. A husband who demands obedience while at the same time not being obedient to Christ can cause his wife to be obstinate and rebel, and the marriage may come to failure.
Inasmuch as a husband shoulders his responsibilities of leadership in the home, the better his home will prosper. If he becomes lazy in his responsibilities, it is tempting for his wife to shoulder them. If this is allowed to grow, she could become a domineering wife. The Bible leaves no room for this in the Christian home. I believe that every domineering woman secretly wishes her husband would develop more of a backbone and shoulder his responsibilities. Somewhere in their marriage, she has probably shed a tear of disappointment.
The apostle Paul taught that for the reason of this hierarchy of leadership, a man should pray with his head uncovered and a woman with her head covered. This is an outward show of her obedience to her husband. With an unmarried sister in the church, it shows obedience to her father. This respect and obedience should be taught to daughters while still very young by their mothers.
Some say that the woman’s hair is given for a sign. Some women in the world have long hair but the obedience and respect is not maintained. A visible covering that is removed from the man when praying and added unto the woman is a true symbol of our obedience to Christ and the Scriptural order. By this, a wife is a glory to her husband.
This glory could be explained like this: When a skilled workman creates a product, the product is his glory, because it brings honor and credit to him. To a husband who has skillfully created a harmonious home, the home will become an honor and glory to him, giving him respect by both the world and the church.
Now we will discuss the real way of life. When the going gets tough, how will God’s plan carry a marriage through?
A young man desires a help meet. Mother doesn’t run his bath water any more or cover him up when he takes a nap. Neither does she polish his shoes, get him a cold glass of tea, wash his car, or greet him at the door with a kiss. He longs for the touch of a woman in his life. He finds that perfect girl and marries her. For a while, she polishes his shoes, washes his car and does all those wonderful, little, helpful deeds.
But along come children, and her responsibilities widen. No longer is a spotless car a priority. The garden must be cared for, the laundry must be done, and the baby rocked to sleep. Stresses and strains from all sides come upon the home. Sickness, bills, child training, and getting a financial start in life increases the headaches. Will the marriage hold? Ah, yes, the Christian family will survive.
Daddy comes home for supper and is greeted at the door by shrieks of happiness. The very best time of the day has arrived. Daddy is home! Mother’s eyes give him a warm greeting, and a merry greeting is said. There is a warm hug and, “What’s for supper? Sure smells good.”
This home is a sanctuary from the world. It is a happy place to be. At the table, the whole family comes together. School happenings and childish cares are shared. Love is spread, because each one is in his place at the table and everyone is included.
After supper, the children run and play and husband and wife talk over the day. Disappointments and trials, funny happenings and news, cares and longing are communicated.
Soon Dad takes his place in the best chair, and the family is getting the dishes done. Dad has his Bible in hand and is studying something. Mother comes close and asks, “What are you studying?” Again husband and wife commune—spiritually.
Eventually it is bedtime. The children are called in, and family worship begins. There comes a blending of spirits: a confession, a tear, a concern, and a few words from the Holy Book, and all kneel in prayer.
God must look down on this family with love and satisfaction. Here is a holy union—husband, wife, and children submitting their lives to Christ. They are sinful by nature yet sanctified by the blood that Christ, the Head of this home, spilled for them.
From Messenger of Truth, Vol. 110, No. 15, July 25, 2012