Love & Marriage: Simple Rules for Wives

Love & Marriage: Simple Rules for Wives

Illustration:
Last Saturday we were wrapping up a busy day at the football fields.  Boy it was a long day.  A hot day.  I am a coach on both Jay and Jack’s team.  So, after both of them play their games, I am pretty tired.  Angela is exhausted too.  While I get to coach and watch the game, she is on Jett duty.  Nevertheless, we were both super tired after it was all done.  So, we pack everything up and I am carrying everything to her car.  We have tents, chairs, bags, food, drinks, and coolers.  Going to these games is a real ordeal but it is fun.  When I arrived to the car I started putting things into the trunk.  I suppose I was not paying much attention and as I was heaving stuff into the car, my ring finger on my left hand caught the end of a chair and it hyperextended my finger.  

It hurt.  It hurt real bad.  

Naturally, I went on my way.  We had more football to watch at home and the kids were hungry.  So, I forgot about the pain and went on my way.  Never really thought much about it.  

The next day, I got up and hurried to get ready for church.  When I go to church I noticed that the same finger that I hurt the day before was really hurting now.  I looked down and my finger was swollen black and blue.  It was throbbing.  

I figured that maybe it would help if I just pulled the ring off.  That was a bad idea.  The ring was stuck.  My finger had swollen around the ring and the ring wouldn’t budge.  I pulled and I pulled and nothing happened. It just hurt.  

In that moment, I realized a powerful truth.  We have men and women hurting in their marriage.  Perhaps they have hurt each other over time and one day they wake up and realize that the hurt is larger than they thought.  So, what do they try to do?  They try to break free from the marriage.  They try to slide out of their commitments much in the same way I tried to slide off my ring.  

Interesting fact.  I did get the ring off.  It hurt coming off.  I thought that would solve the problem but it didn’t.  Man my finger still hurts even today.  You see, divorce doesn’t solve the problem.  The hurt is still there for years.  Leaving our marital commitment may solve a temporary issue, but the pain and hurt will remain for years and years.  

I do not believe that God is in favor of divorce.  I believe that God is strongly pro marriage. True, the Bible does give men and women an out of their marriage and that reason is unfaithfulness or adultery.  I would also add abuse to that list as well.  

Matthew 19:9 ESV
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

However I have heard to many times that people are getting divorced for the wrong reason.  They divorce because of a differing opinion on finances or parenting.  They divorce because they are not “happy” anymore.  Friends, this cannot be.  

God Wants Our Marriages To Be Constructive, Cheerful and Christ-like!

I believe that God wants our marriages to be fruitful, Christ honoring, and yes, joyful.  Two weeks ago, we discussed three simple rules for husbands.  Today, we will look at 3 simple rules for wives.  I believe that if men and women take these rules into consideration, that their marriages can be everything that God has planned them to be.  

Let’s look at todays Scripture together.  

Ephesians 5:22-23 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, ...

Background:
Obviously, Ephesians is written by the Apostle Paul.  Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus is really about the power of the Gospel.  Half of the letter is dedicated to helping the church understand how powerful and transforming the Gospel can be to the convert.  The latter have of the book takes the doctrine of the Gospel and informs believers to connect doctrine with our lives.  Literally, the Gospel is not something to just possess, the Gospel is meant to be deployed.  

Paul knew that the church could not grow unless the foundation of that church, the family, was strong.  Men and women needed to understand their roles and what God was calling them to do and say.  The Gospel should govern our homes.  There are lots of helpful hints for husbands and wives in Paul’s writings but today we are just looking at one short piece of Scripture.  

3 Simple Rules For Wives 

I. Practice Submission vs. 22
Ephesians 5:22 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Illustration:
June Cleaver is my favorite TV mom from my childhood.  I loved Leave it to Beaver and she just seemed so perfect.  Always having the right advice for the right time.  Always caring.  Always nurturing.  She seemed like the good submissive housewife.  



Thoughts on marriage, homemaking and being a wife have certainly changed since the 50’s and 60’s.  Listen to this.  

Funny Illustration:
On May 13, 1965, Housekeeping Monthly offered the following advice to women in what they called "The Good Wife's Guide":

Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious dinner ready when your husband gets home from work. This is a way of letting him know you have been thinking about him and are concerned with his needs … Prepare yourself. Put on some make-up, put a ribbon in your hair, and be fresh-looking. He's been with a lot of work-weary people. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash them up, brush their hair, and change their clothes if needed. Remember, they are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part … Have a cool or warm drink for him, and arrange his pillow and take off his shoes … Over the cooler months you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. After all, catering to his comfort will bring you immense satisfaction … Let him talk first. Remember that his topics of conversation are more important than yours … Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to relax.

Point:
Ok, ok, I know what you women out there are thinking, “submission is a dirty word”.  Submission is often viewed as another form of the word slavery.  

Is Paul really telling wives that they must submit like slaves to their husbands?  

Hardly.  

Greek:
The Greek word for “submit” is ὑπείκω.  It is a verb and it is pronounced hupeikó or hoop-i'-ko.  It means to retire, to withdraw or to submit.  However it also means to give away.  

We see the word used other times in the Bible.  Perhaps the most notable time we see the word submit comes from the example of Jesus.  

Let’s take a look.

Jesus submits His will in favor of the Father’s will in John.

John 6:38 NLT
For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.

Jesus submits His will of dying on the cross to the will of the Father in Matthew.

Matthew 26:39 NASB
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

Submission is a tricky thing isn’t it. As parents, we expect our kids to submit to our will.  As citizens we are to submit to the will of the governing authorities.  As humans we are called to submit to the authority of Christ.  

Yet, when it comes to our marriages, we often have time submitting to our husbands.  

Ladies, let me remind you that submission is another form of strength.  No one would argue who the boss was when Jesus stood before Pilot.  Jesus was the boss for sure yet Jesus gave a beautiful example of strength in submission. 

Ladies, when you submit to your husbands, you are demonstrating strength in submission.  You are a living breathing example of Jesus Christ in your marriage.  

Remember, your husbands should be demonstrating strength in Christ’s leadership and service.  You are to be demonstrating strength in Christ’s submission and service.  Each of you, husband and wife, are to serve one another in leadership and in submission.  One feed the other.  

Men, you may be thinking “Boy my wife is not very submissive to me” or “I don’t feel like my wife is serving me”.  Let me tell you something gentlemen, your wife will only be willing to submit to you as long as you are willing to demonstrate Christ-like servant leadership.  If you do not hold up your end of the bargain, your wife will not follow you.  

Christ submitted to the Father because He had a good, loving Father.  Ladies, submit to your husbands and husbands loves your wives by being the servant leaders that you were called to be. 

Point:
Now ladies, submissive behavior does not include breaking God’s law or going against the Words of Christ.  Truly submissive strength is covered when the husband calls the family to glorify and honor God.  It is not demonstrated correctly in a master/slave relationship.  

Why do we demonstrate submissiveness?  Is it for our husbands?  Is it to grow us spiritually?  The answer is “yes”.  However we submit to our husbands because it honors the Lord.  

Ephesians 5:21 ESV
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

3 Simple Rules For Wives 

I. Practice Submission vs. 22
II. Practice Solidarity vs. 23-24
Ephesians 5:23-24 ESV
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Illustration: Stand By Your Man
In 1969 Tammy Wynette sang this song.  Try not to break out in song as I read the lyrics.  Perhaps we can sing the words together when I get to the chorus.  

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You'll have bad times, and he'll have good times
Doin' things that you don't understand
But if you love him, you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him, oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man.
Stand by your man, give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely.
Stand by your man, and show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can.
Stand by your man.
Stand by your man, and show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can.
Stand by your man.

Point:
You know, perhaps there is some good theology in this song.  Maybe there is something in this song that points us back the truth found in Scripture.  When I read Ephesians 5:23-24 I see a picture.  I see a husband that loves his wife as Christ loves the church.  I see a woman who loves her husband and desires to serve her husband as Christ served the church.  I see a husband and wife standing together in solidarity, united in their desire to be Jesus to one another.  

Point:
You know ladies, we men are fairly fragile creatures.  Sure we may try to put on a macho show but the truth of the matter is that we need you.  

Remember, we need aid.  After all, God created Eve because he knew Adam needed a helper.  Remember the story in Genesis.  God trotted out every sort of animal and revealed to Adam a need that perhaps Adam didn’t even know he had.  Adam needed a helper.  We men are no good on our own.  We are prone to getting ourselves in all sorts of trouble and you ladies help us be the best versions of ourselves.  Stand by your man and help him.  We need you.  

Remember, we need your assurance.  That’s right, we need to know that you love us each and every day.  We need you to build us up.  We need your encouragement.  Ladies, when is the last time your encouraged your husbands verbally?  When is the last time you told them “I love you”?  When is the last time you kissed him before he walked out the door?  Wives, this is important stuff.  If you want to stand by your man, encourage your man.  Hopefully, we husbands are doing our job by loving you and encouraging you.  God not only wants you to help your man, he wants you to encourage him.  Remind him of the reasons why you love him.  

Illustration: Facebook Love…


Remember we need your appearance.  No, I am not talking about make up or how you are dressed.  We just need you there!  Where is there you might ask?  There is in that moment when your husband is struggling.  Ladies, men struggle. 

We struggle at home.  

We struggle at work.  

We struggle on the field.  

We struggle with our decisions. 

We struggle with so much.  

An important part of being a wife is just being there for your man.  Stand by your man means to stand by him by being present with him in whatever situation he has found himself in.  It means being attentive and not distant.  Wives, you want to be listened to.  No doubt we husbands have to become better listeners.  However, ladies, when you have truly listened to your man?  

Lastly, we need your affection.  We need your love ladies.  We need your touch.  You can stand by your man, by showing him and only him your love.  This is done though intimacy.  This is done verbally.  

Men do you remember two weeks ago I challenged you to discover what your wife’s love language is?  Hopefully you took me up on that challenge and you are seeing fruits from that effort.  Now ladies, I am going to challenge you to put into practice some of these points.  

Stand By Your Man By Giving Him Your…

A. Aid

B. Assurance 

C. Appearance

D. Affection 

Proverbs 31:10 ESV
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

3 Simple Rules For Wives 

I. Practice Submission vs. 22
II. Practice Solidarity vs. 23-24
III. Practice Sanctification vs. 23-24
Ephesians 5:23-24 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Illustration: Asile…Alter…Him
A young bride-to-be was at the rehearsal for her wedding.  She was nervous and having a hard time remembering what she was supposed to do when she walked down the aisle. The minister said, “Relax, it’s not hard. First, all you need to do is slowly walk down the aisle.  Second, walk straight at the altar.  Third, when get to the altar, turn and look at him—your husband to be.  If you’ll just remember those 3 things, you’ll do just fine.”

    The next day, everyone was seated at the church and it was time for her to walk down the aisle.  As the organist played the Wedding March, she walked down the aisle saying out loud, “Aisle. . .altar. . .him.  Aisle. . .altar. . .him.  I’ll alter him!”

    Thousands of brides have walked down the aisle saying the same thing—“I’ll alter him.  I’ll change him!” 

Remember ladies, marriage is not so much about trying to alter your husband.  It is more about how Christ can alter you.  

Point:
Ladies, we have talked a lot about what you can do for your husband.  Perhaps it is not so much about doing for your husband as much as it is about what you practice before your husband.  Marriage provides for both husband and wife the perfect petri dish to grow in Christ like behavior.  Ladies, what sort of example are you setting in the home for Christ?  Does your husband see Jesus in you, how you talk and the way you carry yourself?  Does he see Jesus in how you parent the children and how you treat others?

I pray that he does.  Ladies, marriage give you the perfect place to grow in your walk and relationship with Christ because you have a built in person to serve each and every day.  Remember, you never look more like Jesus than when you serve Him wholeheartedly by serving another person. Especially your husband.  

Take Away Points:
So what are our take away points this morning?

1. Marriage is good.  Good for the man and good for the woman. 

2. Marriage is meant to be fruitful.  Marriage exists at its maximum potential when each person serves the other.  The man serves in servant leadership, the woman serves in submissive leadership.  Both positions are positions of strength and holiness.  

3. Marriage is meant to enrich each person.  

Final Point:
Wives, I pray that you will do your best to put into play some of these actions.  I promise you this, that if you do these things, that your marriage will be more fruitful and joyful.  

Proverbs 31:10 ESV
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.


Turn This Information Into Implementation!

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