What Does the Bible Say about MAINTAINING Marriage?
“Homosexuals have just as much right to be miserable as heterosexuals!” This is a quip I’ve seen a few places by proponents of gay marriage. It’s usually preceded by statements about how Christians should focus on having better marriages themselves instead of trying to keep others from marrying. Not trying to get into that debate here, but suffice it to say that the high failure rates in modern marriage has opened the door for our society to feel the freedom to redefine and reshape it. Marriage doesn’t have to be redefined to find a happy ending for society and for couples. Just like wisdom about defining and purposing marriage is found in the Bible (see yesterday’s post here), wisdom on MAINTAINING marriage can be found in the Bible as well. And I believe it will work every time it’s tried.
What does the Bible say about MAINTAINING Marriage? It’s actually a fool proof way of maintaing any relationship, but the Bible gives some greater clarity in relation to marriage. Basic principle:
Put the needs of the other ahead of your own.
As a principle for all relationships: Philippians 2:3-4 (NASB), “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do notmerely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
As a principle for close relationships: Ephesians 5:20 (NLT), “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
And as a principle in marriage: Colossians 3:18-19 (ESV), “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
What does this have to do with putting the needs of the other first? Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in his great book Love & Respect frames this verse like this. God’s commands for wives to submit and husbands to love are a command to them, but it speaks to a God given, primary need for the husband and wife. God created men to need respect, to lead, and to thrive when respect is given. God created women to need love, affection, and to be pursued and to thrive when loved sacrificially. Putting his needs first and her needs first simply means to live out your God-given role and put the others needs as your primary mission in life.
Next we’ll look at what this looks like according to Dr. Eggerich.