Posts tagged christian marriage

21 things a man needs to know about marriage (part 3)



This is the final installment in a three-part series. The full first part and second part of 21 things a man needs to know about marriage is here, but we’ve listed the first 14 things from those posts here.

  1. A man needs to know that the ultimate team is marriage.
  2. A man needs to know the difference between being a consumer and an investor in life, in relationships, and marriage.
  3. A man needs to know the Christ-like role of servant, husband, and lover.
  4. A man needs to know that marriage is meant to mature a man into Christ-like character.
  5. A man needs to know the meaning of love.
  6. A man needs to know that a marriage and family depend upon God as their maker.  
  7. A man needs to understand sexuality as God’s good creation, distinct from its counterfeits.
  8. A man needs to know that the key to great sex is exclusivity.
  9. A man needs to know that marriages typically have a one or two year “honeymoon era.”
  10. A man needs to know that living together and having sex before marriage uses up a good portion of the “honeymoon era” euphoria. 
  11. A man needs to know that commitment is a key to success in all of life, and especially in relationships with a woman.  
  12. A man needs to know that marriage is not easy.
  13. A man needs to know that the purpose of marriage is less to make you happy, than to make you holy.
  14. A man needs to know that God gives authority and responsibility to a husband to make the marriage thrive and last.

things a man needs to know about marriage15. A man needs to know that he can change his marriage by changing himself.  He can make himself a better husband by making himself a more consistent and devoted follower of Jesus.  If he wants to improve any aspect of his marriage, family or parenting, the solution lies in deepening his daily commitment to God.  The path to build a great marriage or heal a marriage is to humble one’s will, to let the Holy Spirit take control of him and to obey Christ.

16. A man needs to know that romance is created and sustained intentionally.  Thinking about what she likes, remembering what is important to her, setting things up the way she prefers … these are all critical.  In dating and various stages of life, romance can spontaneously happen, but for the long term, it must be deliberately planned and created.  If a man wants to be a leader, this is an area in which to lead.  It leads to good things.

17. A man needs to know that divorce is avoidable.  He understands that nothing is impossible for God, and he humbles himself to admit and repent from the ways he fell short in loving his wife in the past, so he can excel at loving her from this day forward.

18. A man needs to know that he can recover from a wife’s affair because he has the power to forgive.  Jesus forgave all his sin, and he is called to do the same with his wife.  Furthermore, he seeks to understand what led his wife to be unfaithful, even if it means admitting his own failure. Usually a man breaks his vow to choose, love, and protect her before a woman breaks her vow to be faithful.

Note: if you have an affair, you don’t have control over whether you can recover because you can’t force a wife’s forgiveness.

19. A man needs to know that even the worst things can be redeemed for deeper purposes.  Romans 5:3-5 reminds us to rejoice and find value in tribulation, loss, and suffering because tribulation brings perseverance, and perseverance brings proven character like that of Jesus, and proven character brings hope, and hope does not disappoint because God’s love is poured out to us by His Holy Spirit.

Face crises and trials and suffering straight on with Christ and a few close teammates. A man steps up by surrendering to Jesus Christ and persevering in making Him the center and Lord of his life.

20. A man needs to know that humbling yourself to your wife is the gutsiest and most successful way to heal her heart and your frequently-compromised relationship. A man with courage and wisdom will never overlook his wife’s hurt feelings.  And he’ll seek to overlook the disrespectful words she blurts out in reaction to how he hurt her feelings.

When you are in conflict, don’t wait for things to blow over.  Don’t try to point out her fault.  Don’t try to minimize the situation.  And don’t defend yourself.  Instead, be a leader.  Start the apology.  A great starting point is, “I was wrong.  I hurt you.  Please forgive me?”

21. A man needs to know that a wife wants you to lead her, but will tend to lead and control you if you don’t lead and initiate.  Leadership starts with your character and your devotion to Christ.  Your walk with God determines the quality of your love and leadership as a husband.

Seek God.  Read His word in the Bible.  Pray for Him to shape and lead you.  Humble yourself before Him.  Seek a mentor or group to help you grow and become a good husband.

Leadership of a wife is humility before God, initiating teamwork with your wife, praying with her every day and praying for your family.  Most guys I know well are like me in this: If you’re frustrated with your wife and your marriage, the solution lies in getting back into Jesus and His Word!

21 things a man needs to know about marriage (part 2)



This is the second in a three-part series. The full first part of  21 things a man needs to know about marriage is here, but we’ve listed the first seven things from that post here.

  1. A man needs to know that the ultimate team is marriage.
  2. A man needs to know the difference between being a consumer and an investor in life, in relationships, and marriage.
  3. A man needs to know the Christ-like role of servant, husband, and lover.
  4. A man needs to know that marriage is meant to mature a man into Christ-like character.
  5. A man needs to know the meaning of love.
  6. A man needs to know that a marriage and family depend upon God as their maker.  
  7. A man needs to understand sexuality as God’s good creation, distinct from its counterfeits.

things a man needs to know about marriage

8. A man needs to know that the key to great sex is exclusivity.  The modern consumer mindset tricks a man into thinking that more sources of sexual stimulation will satisfy him.  But like a drug, they thrill but do not satisfy.  Sexual entertainment, images, and illicit sex erode rather than enhance sexual joy in a marriage.

To be a great lover is to practice with only one woman for life.   It is to be generous, exclusive, and serving; not greedy, distracted, and taking.  A great relationship and sexual relationship are connected in marriage, and that only happens when a man’s sole target of sexual affections, imaginations, and enjoyment is his wife.

9. A man needs to know that marriages typically have a one- or two-year “honeymoon era.”  This is a period of semi-blind euphoria that makes the relationship magnetic and easier. It’s as if our Creator gives that to us humans to get us jump-started in marriage.  Couples should know that when the euphoria wears off and they eventually settle into normality, the different feelings they experience do not indicate that they married the wrong person or are not “in love” anymore.

10. A man needs to know that living together and having sex before marriage uses up a good portion of the “honeymoon era” euphoria. It often causes the onset of reality after marriage to begin almost immediately after the wedding, depending on how long the couple had been living and sleeping together.  Research shows that divorce and issues of mistrust are more common for those who cohabit before marriage than for those who do not.  Cohabiting is not a “smart start” or “good practice” for marriage.

11. A man needs to know that commitment is a key to success in all of life, and especially in relationships with a woman.  One way of defining commitment in marriage is that it means never considering divorce. If you know that you won’t be leaving or divorcing, it forces you to face differences and problems and work through them.

In marriage it is the security of commitment that allows a woman to feel peace in the relationship.  The assurance of a husband’s commitment helps a woman entrust herself to him emotionally and sexually.

12. A man needs to know that marriage is not easy.  Marriage is not automatic, and it’s often difficult.  The euphoria of romantic infatuation in the first years of marriage fades, requiring the mature resolve to behave lovingly and invest relationally to build a deeper bond than infatuation.  Marriage will take intentional and continual effort.

13. A man needs to know that the purpose of marriage is less to make you happy, than to make you holy.   Now it’s true that a good marriage to a good woman can make you happier than most anything else on earth.  But if your goal is to be happy, then you will be focused on yourself, and you will damage your character and your relationships.

If you aim to be holy — like Jesus, not like a monk — you will invite God to change you.  You will allow your marriage relationship to change you and crush your selfish will and defensive pride. You will experience true oneness in your marriage — you’ll be deepest friends, intimate allies, generous lovers, caring providers, complementary partners, spiritual enhancers. (Thanks to Gary Thomas for the idea)

14. A man needs to know that God gives authority and responsibility to a husband to make the marriage thrive and last.  He is to steward and shepherd himself and his wife’s union.  He is to be proactive at assisting God in healing her past wounds, creating oneness in their bond and assuring her (and their children) of his love for her.

Women are natural responders when men initiate in love, prayer  and humility.  Men must not be passive, arrogant, distracted, or controlling.  A man will not point the finger at his wife’s behavior or shortcomings, but will examine his history as a husband and ask God to change Him.  His heart, his care and his initiative is the key to his wife’s responses and the marriage’s health.

Be watching for part 3.

21 things a man needs to know about marriage



In a culture of counterfeits and mistruths, marriage needs to be re-branded as an awesome, noble, and challenging adventure.

Guys have been blindsided in our culture.  We don’t see the path to manhood, and we often don’t know how to view women, sex, relationships, marriage, and our role as husbands.

CoupleFacetoFaceWheatFieldA key to the problems guys and men face is that we don’t understand the North Star of relationships.   It’s the gold standard of selfless love, the blueprint for building a family and blessing your children.  What’s that North Star?  Knowing Jesus Christ and His purpose for marriage, and trusting in His strength to make a lasting relationship possible.

Marriage needs to be re-explained.  It needs to be re-branded as an awesome, noble, and challenging adventure. Our manhood, our happiness and our children’s future depend on marriage — yours, mine, and everybody else’s.

In a culture of counterfeits and mistruths, it’s important to understand what marriage is about.  As you read through the following list, ask God to remake you and help you understand what it means to be a man and a husband.  Let’s value marriage and relate well to our wives, whether we’re married yet, or preparing for that woman.

1. A man needs to know that the ultimate team is marriage.  It’s the union and oneness of man and woman in lifelong covenant.  It’s the team that anchors a family.   It’s a bonded relationship that mirrors God’s sacrificial, unconditional, lasting love for his children (those who by faith have accepted His sacrifice and adoption into his eternal family).

2.  A man needs to know the difference between being a consumer and an investor in life, in relationships, and marriage.  Don’t let an advertising-saturated consumer society make you act like a consumer in relationships.  Decide to add value to a wife, not take value.

Just like great quarterbacks serve receivers, and great receivers serve quarterbacks, we need to be investors, not childish consumers, takers, or complainers.  We are to be modeled after Jesus, the ultimate relationship investor.  He is the definition of a man … responsible, initiating, courageous, self-sacrificing, healing, peacemaking, justice-doing, other-centered, not self-centered, loving others in ways that add value and nobility to them.

Before he is married, a great husband will be a relationship investor who will build friendship that adds value into the life of a young woman, her self-esteem, and her potential to serve God.  He will channel his sexual desires and expression into devotion to God and commitment to one wife for life.  He will marry and be sexually exclusive — only having eyes, imagination, and sexual intimacy with one wife.  Ask yourself this question daily: “Would I want to marry me?”

3. A man needs to know the Christ-like roles of servant, husband, and lover.  He is to be an investor in his wife, and he sacrifices himself for her best. He defines his manhood as pursuing purity in Christ, chastity before marriage, and enthusiastic fidelity in marriage.

4. A man needs to know that marriage is meant to mature a man into Christ-like character.  It can help conform him to the image of Christ, reshaping his will and identity into union with, and deference toward, his wife.  This is like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who honor, defer to and glorify each other.

The friendship of marriage helps each spouse become a better version of themselves, closer to what God designed and redeemed them to be.  They must face the truth about themselves — their strengths and their imperfections.  They will face conflict and difficulty and must grow empathy and teamwork.  Selfishness must melt away if they are to become healthy, strong, and mature together.

5. A man needs to know the meaning of love.   God defines love not by how much you want to receive, but by how much you are willing to give of yourself—your will, your freedom, your time, your emotions, your forgiveness, your resources.  The model is Jesus, who demonstrated love for us by dying for us while we were yet sinners.

A husband does this by choosing his wife as a priority in his life over all other pursuits, possessions, and distractions — regardless of whether she is kind, lovable, or respectful.  Love brings out the best in her.  A man initiates love, rather than waiting for or demanding respect or kind treatment.  Love is not dependent upon feelings.  Decisions and choices to love can regenerate the feelings of love.

6. A man needs to know that a marriage and family depend upon God as their maker.  God is the authority.  He provides the blueprints for marriage and is the power source of love, wisdom, and health.  God can heal any marriage if the persons submit themselves to God and let Him change them.

7. A man needs to understand sexuality as God’s good creation, distinct from its counterfeits. He understands that sexuality makes sense in the context of union to God and the union of marriage.  Outside that context it’s often reduced to moralism, rules, suppression, secrecy, illicit imagination, temptation, and shame.  Or, commonly, it is reduced to a consumer experience — materialistic self-interest, physical gratification, entertainment, techniques.  This causes shallow, stunted human bonding, untold stories of abuse, damage, abandonment, and fragmented families.

Watch for Part 2 next week.

What makes a distinctively Christian marriage?



(as first submitted via an article found at FamilyLife.com)

Years ago, when I was a single college student and a young follower of Christ, I traveled with some buddies to Southern California.  One of my friends knew a family in Pasadena who offered us a place to stay.

I will never forget walking into this home in Pasadena.  Almost immediately I noticed that there was just something different in the atmosphere.

I had never met these people before, but within 20 minutes I felt like I‘d known them all my life. They displayed genuine hospitality, care, love, and graciousness that I had never seen in a home before.

Steppin Up FamilyLife - Bob Lepine Christian Marriages

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 we read, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  That’s what I could smell in that house — the fragrance of Christ in the lives of these people who had been transformed by Him.  I’ve never forgotten what it was like to walk into that kind of environment.

Now the question for us is: What does it smell like in our homes?  If folks walked into our houses, would the fragrance of Christ be present?  Do people look at our marriages and see and smell the aroma of Christ?

I believe there are two factors that give a marriage the fragrance of Christ — that make it distinctively Christian.  And both are impossible without the transforming grace of God.

1.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of purpose.

When asked why they get married, most people will say something like, “Well, we’re just in love.”  But behind that statement are a number of other reasons for marriage:

  • They’ve dated long enough, and marriage is the next step.
  • There are economic benefits from combining incomes into one household.
  • They want sex without guilt.
  • They are adults, and marriage is what’s expected.  (They want to get their parents off their backs.)
  • They want someone to take care of them.
  • They are lonely and need the companionship.
  • They want to escape a bad situation — abusive parents, pregnancy, etc.
  • Their biological clock is ticking, and they figure it’s time to start a family.

At the heart of most of these reasons for marriage is the big me.  People are getting married for self-centered reasons, not God-centered purposes.  That describes me as well.

In fact, that‘s the universal human condition. We are self-centered; and so our self-centered tendency, carried into marriage, creates two self-centered people trying to negotiate enough good out of this deal so that they can co-exist.

But there’s another, higher purpose for marriage that is stated well in Psalm 34:3:  “Oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!”  A friend of mine actually used that verse when he proposed.  I think he saw beyond his own natural selfishness to a greater goal for his life.

When you focus your marriage on exalting and glorifying God together, your relationship will become a vehicle through which people can smell the aroma of Christ.  It will be a demonstration of the gospel to the world — you will show God’s grace, His compassion, His forgiveness.

Now, is there companionship that comes along with it? Yes. Is there love and intimacy that comes into the deal? Yes, and I‘m glad for these things. But when you magnify the Lord together you will both say, “This isn‘t about us. This is about putting the gospel on display to a watching world.”

When you truly understand that purpose, it changes everything. I like how Paul Tripp puts it: 

“We were made to live upward and outward, but most of us live inward. When we can quit living inward and start living upward and outward, life changes.” When our marriage can be about upward and outward, things change.

2.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of love.

What does this distinctively different kind of love look like? Well, again, it starts with being God-centered instead of self-centered. It’s upward and outward instead of being inward.

To be more specific, Christian love is self-sacrificing, not self-serving love.  In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul writes:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

That kind of love is different than what the world knows.  It is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not insisting on its own way, not irritable or resentful, not rejoicing in wrongdoing, but instead rejoicing in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Another way that our love should be distinct is that it should be a forgiving love, not a hard-hearted love. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

How many of you would say, “What I really want for my life is to be in a concerted partnership with the devil”? But that’s what you’re doing when you hang on to anger, resentment, and bitterness.

And then read verse 32 in Ephesians 4: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

A third way our love should be different is that it should be controlled by the Spirit and not by the flesh.  You can’t do this in your own power.  Regard your spouse as more important than yourself?  Forgive your spouse just as God has forgiven you?  Love your spouse by showing patience, kindness, and not insisting on your own way?  Try doing this consistently in the flesh for more than a day or so.

The only way we can have a different kind of love — and purpose — in marriage is to experience a true transformation in our lives. Here are the words that always come back to me as I think about the gospel and what God has done for us in Christ: He took those of us who were weighed down by sin and took the weight off.  He forgave us and freed us.  As we walk in that forgiveness and freedom day by day, He is transforming us more and more into the image of His Son. And in the process He gives us a hope that we never knew before we were saved by Christ.

These two unique aspects of a Christian marriage — a different purpose and a different love — are something we cannot manufacture by ourselves.  They are impossible apart from the transforming grace of God in our lives.  And when we experience this transformation, the world will notice something very different in our relationships.

 

Copyright ©2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

 

 

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.