SEVEN SECRETS FOR WIVES
On the 2nd March 2000 Colin and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? Colin was 60 years old on the 1st April 2000 (yes, April Fools Day!) and I follow next year. In the early years of our marriage I remember attending a silver wedding anniversary of a couple in our church, and I thought they were old! When I planned a Ruby Wedding anniversary (40th) for my parents years ago, I thought they were getting very old! Now it wont be long before we celebrate our ruby anniversary. But age is more a matter of the mind than years, isnt it? I feel younger than I ever have in my life. However, I do trust that I have become a little wiser and more mature as the years have gone on.
Colin and I have been blessed with a faithful and committed marriage. I can remember thinking before I married, "What on earth it would be like to live with a person for all your life?" Wow, these years have seemed like one day and now were ready for another 37 years! The following are some of the secrets I have learned over the years. They are all biblical concepts. I am sure you must be getting used to the fact that I always resort to the Word of God for the foundation of my life, so back to the Word we go. Here are seven "Ss" for you.
its one of the secrets so I cant leave it out! We may not always like what God says but its the only way that works. Lets find out more.
1) Submission is Biblical.
Many couples today believe they can get along doing things their own way, rather than standing on Gods truth. But mans way doesnt work. I listened to a preacher the other week who quoted the fact that the percentage of divorce amongst Christians is now higher than the world. How devastating! But this is the fruit of mans ways.
You can read the Scriptures again: 1 Corinthians 7:3,4; 14:34b; Ephesians 5: 21-24; Philippians 2:6-10; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-6. The word "submission" is "hupotasso". It comes from two words "hupo" which means "under" and "tasso" which means, "to set in order." Therefore it means, "to place in an orderly fashion under something." Husbands cannot demand submission from their wives. We place ourselves under our husbands protection and leadership "as unto the Lord." It is something we do of our own accord, because we want to do His will.
2) Submission is a heart attitude.
Submission is not an outward act that we do under sufferance. It is a heart attitude. It is an attitude that is worked in us by the power of the Holy Spirit as we yield our will to the Lord. Most of us dont learn this lesson easily but as we continually yield it becomes more a habit of our lives.
3) Submission is for our protection.
God did not devise submission to bring wives into bondage. No, it is for our blessing, protection and covering. Gods ultimate plan is for His female creation to be under protection throughout their entire lives under their fathers protection as a single person and then under their husbands protection when they marry. We see an understanding of this in Numbers Chapter 30.
4) Submission is a kingdom principle.
The word "submit" does not belong in Satans kingdom. It is antipathy to everything that belongs to the kingdom of darkness. The key word in Satans kingdom is "independence." It was the spirit of independence and "Ill have it my way" that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven, and he continues to corrupt the world with this same spirit today. It may feel good at the time but independence always brings destruction. This is why we now have such an epidemic of divorce. On the other hand, submission may not feel very natural, but it is a principle of the kingdom of God. The reason it doesnt feel natural to our flesh is because it is supernatural. It belongs to a kingdom of truth, light and holiness. Most of the time we dont feel like submitting because it goes against our fleshly nature. However, as we die to the flesh and yield to the power of the Holy Spirit we will have the grace to submit. As we flow in this kingdom principle, we will walk in the power of the kingdom of God. Gods kingdom principles work and no others.
5) Submission is a picture of Christ and the church.
Does the bride of Christ order him around and tell him what to do? Does she wear the pants? Is not He head of the church? God planned for the marriage relationship to picture this truth to the world. Is our marriage a clear picture or distorted? Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:22.
6) Submission wins the victory.
Submission is not weakness; it is power. Submission is for the mature. It is a three-year-old mentality to stamp your feet and demand your own way. Jesus Himself is the example. He sweat drops of blood as He anticipated His submission to His Fathers will. He cried, "Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." In submitting to the Fathers will He won the greatest victory in the universe. He redeemed a people. He won a bride. He won the victory over death, hell and Satan. When you are sweating it out, remember that you have not yet "resisted unto blood." Matthew 26:39; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 12:2-4.
7) Submission takes faith.
In 1 Peter chapter 3, we read the example of godly women who submitted to their husbands, even though their husbands were not Christians, and even at times when they were wrong. But these women had a secret. They exercised the grace of submission toward their husbands, but they trusted in God! Even when they couldnt trust their husbands decision, they trusted God. Dear wives; God is bigger than your husband! Remember that. When you think he is wrong and leading you down a wrong path, trust God. God will work for you as you put your trust in Him. Twice Sarah was taken into a harem, but she put her trust in the Lord and God delivered her!
When you walk in a spirit of submission, you will receive seven blessings in your life. You will have
1) Sensitivity to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
2) Serenity - Soul rest and peace in your heart. Matthew 11:28-30.
3) Security and Stability in your life.
4) Sweetness in your life.
5) Soundness of doctrine.
6) Strength of character. And you will be
7) Saved from deception. 1 Timothy 2:14-15.
We are to complete our husband, not compete with him. Genesis 2:18 says, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a help meet for him." The word "help meet" is "neged". It means, "part opposite, counterpart, over against or before, other side." God made us opposite to our husband. We have a different task. It would have been unnecessary for God to make another creation like Adam to do the same thing as him.
I believe that one of the most fundamental understandings of a successful marriage is to know our role in the marriage. God ordained the husband to be the Provider, the Protector and the Priest of the home. He created the woman to be the Nurturer, the Nourisher and the Nest builder. The husband is the Breadwinner; the wife is the Bread baker! The husband is the King; the wife is the Queen.
We support our husband, not by competing for his role, but by encouraging him to be what God ordained him to be - the leader and the provider. When we take away his God-given task and try to do it ourselves, we undermine him as a man, and we come out from under Gods divine order. Oh you may think you can do a much better job than he can! But thats not the point. The more you attack his position, the weaker he will become in it. However, as you relinquish it to him, he will gradually learn to take his responsibility. He may make many mistakes at the beginning, but he will grow stronger and wiser as you affirm his role.
In many homes today there are two Adams, both trying to fulfill the role of Adam the provider, rather than an Adam and an Eve. Many women have rejected the role of embracing and nurturing children to take on the husbands responsibility. The greatest calling that God has given to women is being cut off because they would rather have Adams job! As we have adopted this humanistic stance, we see more and more divorce and broken marriages. As we have rejected children and Gods plan for marriage, He has taken away His hand of blessing and we see destruction on every side.
I hate to sound like a broken record but I must reiterate it again. The basic ingredient of a successful marriage is to release your husband to be the provider and leader, and embrace your calling to be a mother and to make your home a peaceful haven for your husband.
3. SERVE YOUR HUSBAND.
This is meant to be a time of sharing my secrets. Can I share with you what I believe is one of the most destructive forces in a marriage? It is the sin of selfishness! The secret of a successful marriage is selflessness and serving. If you are trying to get something out of your marriage for yourself, you will never be satisfied. It doesnt work that way. Forget about yourself and think of all the ways you can serve and satisfy your husband. This will bring you joy and freedom. This will release your husband to love you. Even Jesus, the Son of God, did not come to be served but to serve. He was our example. Read Philippians 2:6-8.
Stamp on all the works of the flesh that poke their way up in your life - your self-pitying, self-centered, self-gratifying, self-serving, self-pleasing, self-opinionated self! They destroy the marriage.
Marriage seminars are good. Marriage counseling is good. But they are not the total answer. I know couples that have been to loads of marriage seminars and still have problems in their marriage. All you need to do is forget about self, start serving and your problems will disappear!
Make your home a refuge where your husband can find peace and harmony from the strife of the workplace. Daily prepare a nutritious and appetizing meal for him. There is nothing more soothing than coming home to find the table set nicely, the meal ready with delicious smells floating from the kitchen, a peaceful atmosphere, and everyone ready to sit down to the evening meal.
4. SWEETEN YOUR MARRIAGE.
Ouch! This is a challenge to me. If I start to get a little harsh, Colin will say, "Come on, Darling, be sweet to me." And I do have to be reminded! But he never lets me get away with sharp words. He always pulls me up to be gentle and sweet.
How do you sweeten your marriage? With words - sweet words, soft words, encouraging words, cheerful words, positive words, helpful words, supportive words, kind words, wise words, forgiving words, loving words, pleasant words and life-giving words. You cant miss having a successful marriage if you put this secret into practice!
I am always challenged by Song of Solomon 4:11 where the Bridegroom speaks to the bride and says, "Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue." What drips from the honeycomb? Sweetness! What kind of words drip from your tongue?
A dear friend called in this morning and shared this quote with me: "People turn their best side out: they are delightful in company, but snarly at home. There they give vent to their dissatisfaction, their temper, their grouch. They are scent-bottles abroad, vinegar-bottles at home To be a Christian at home one must learn to keep sweet."
Your words will gradually kill your marriage or they can keep it alive with love. Its your choice. Proverbs 18:21.
5. SANCTIFY YOUR MARRIAGE WITH PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING.
None of us are exempt from trials. We all face hard times in our marriages. What do you do? Grumble and groan? Complain and criticize? Talk negatively and nastily. Oh it is so easy to do this, because this is how we feel. But heres the secret. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Thank Him. Trust Him. All your groaning and blaming one another will not solve the problem. God is your Deliverer! You can trust Him. Learn to hang on to God and look to Him as your source. Dont trust in your husbands ability alone, but in the Lord.
Make it your habit to pray and praise the Lord together daily. If you pray daily together, youll keep free from "the little foxes that spoil the vines" that eat away at your marriage. Make your home a house of prayer and thanksgiving. Matthew 18:19 is a wonderful promise for married couples. "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." Notice these words "If two of you " The two of you together can claim great power and miracles in your relationship and in your home as you faithfully pray together.
And never forget the exhortation in Ephesians 4:26, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." If you have an argument or get upset with one another, dont act like a baby and put on the silent treatment. Sort it out. Say "Im sorry." Forgive one another. Never go to sleep until you have restored the relationship. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
6. SEPARATE EVIL FROM YOUR MARRIAGE.
Keep your marriage and your home a pure place for the habitation of the Lord. Dont allow the filth of the world to creep in. It can happen so easily. Dont watch immoral movies together. Youll have a limited selection, but be strong about this. When you sit and watch immorality and filth, you condone it, you deaden your conscience, you negatively affect your marriage and you defile your home. Oh, one of the saddest things I hear from wives as I speak to them all over the country is the grief and lament that their husbands are glued to the TV and many of them are involved in pornography. Oh how I grieve. Pornography is destroying thousands of marriages.
Keep your marriage bed holy. Just because you are married does not give you license to do kinky things. True intimacy in the sexual act can be gloriously satisfying without trying other things. I like this statement from Matthew Henry. "Those who keep themselves pure in times of common impurity, God will keep safe in times of common calamity."
Dont bring death to your bed. Most contraceptives either kill newly formed life, or kill the sperm that holds the potential of future life. The Pill, IUD, Depo-Provera, and Norplant are all abortifacients. They cause the death of a newly formed human being. Keep your bed holy.
Ezekiel 44:23 says, "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean."
7. STRENGTHEN YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR MARRIAGE.
Marriage is not a contract. It is a covenant, made before God and witnesses. Marriage is not a fuzzy feeling of love. It is a commitment. It is a commitment to build a godly marriage that is a picture to the world of Christ and His bride. It is a commitment to build a family and raise a godly seed. It wont always be easy. Its hard work. But we are committed to the task. We take no notice of difficulties. We are not daunted by problems. We keep on with the task, because we are committed to a vision of building a godly generation. We are not concerned only with the present, but with the future, and the generations to come. We have no thought of quitting because we know that it would affect not only our children now, but also the generations to follow. We keep pressing on toward the goal, pushing through the mountains of difficulties, as we trust in our God.
Got any rivers you think are uncrossible?
Got any mountains you cant tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible!
He can do what no other can do!
God is for your marriage. He will be with you to make it strong and precious. There may be times when the tide goes out on your marriage. When the tide goes out, you see all the ugly things on the beach. When the tide goes out on your marriage, the ugly things loom large. But dont despair. Dont look at the rubbish. Look to the Lord. There is a divine law I want to remind you about. The tide ALWAYS COMES IN AGAIN! If you are going through a tough time, hang on to God. The tide will come in again with love and blessing and reconciliation.