Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." ...The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. ...For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18, 22, 24 NASB unless noted)
Marriage is to some degree either a blessing or a malady.
How do we tip the scale such that the relationship remains a blessing?
Would it be too simple to suggest that following God's instructions hold the answer?
I have to assume that those who follow Yeshua also hold in high regard the Word of God, the Bible, recognizing it as the source of truth, and treating it as something akin to an owner's manual.
There is we find some instruction to finding "fullness of joy."
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:10-11)
Following his instruction is the route to that joy. Joy is our ultimate goal and the basis of all we do—in my opinion.
So, in regard to marriage what are His instructions? Well, there are four basic directives, two each for the husband and wife.
First, we have these:
The husband is "to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)
Wives, place yourselves under your husbands' authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord's authority. (Ephesians 5:22 GWN)
And there are these:
Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding since they are weaker than you are. Honor your wives as those who share God's life-giving kindness so that nothing will interfere with your prayers. (1Peter 3:7 GWN)
The husband is invited to:
* love (agape) his own wife even as himself
* honour your wives as a priceless gift
The wife is invited to:
* place herself under her husband's authority
* respect (phobeo) her husband
I used the word "invited" because we have the free will not to do these things (see Martha, Martha). "Invited" because if we do we will find them to be a source of God's joy in us. This will not be easy. These things are asked of us because they go against/expose our fallen nature.
Notice there are no commands such as "mothers love your children" since for the most part that comes naturally. However, holding your husband ahead of your children is not natural, even though it is a requirement for experiencing Yeshua's joy and in the best interest of the children.
At the outset of the first marriage, God makes a point of emphasizing the principle of leaving, or forsaking, the parents and cling to the spouse. Although the verse specifically refers to the husband the commands to the wife would solicit the same effect when followed.
Any wife will know in short order if a husband loves himself or the children more than her. She will respond to this by withdrawing or being embittered against him.
Any husband will know when the wife esteems her children or her parents more than him and will withdraw and/or lash out in anger against the competition be that the parents or his own children.
No one in these situations will experience joy. They will experience loneliness, the very condition that marriage was instituted to resolve.
Should the one spouse not do what the Words asks does not relieve the other of their obligation to what the Word requires of them. The spouse doing the Word will experience the joy that Yeshua promised.
All of this is predicated on the foundation of love:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
Then we will experience the depth of joy that God experiences, "My joy will be in you."
©2016, Dr Steven Bydeley, a man.
All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.
Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and have taught internationally on various topics.
Without Prejudice. © 2023, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.