ANCHOR OF HOPE:Hope for the marriage
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33
As a Christian, one of the greatest assets we posses in life is access to wisdom that is beyond our own experiences. Wisdom which is always right, and never leads us to our destruction. But this wisdom must be diligently sought after by reading scripture just as one might seek for gold. Wisdom that is not searched out is like gold that lies just beneath the earth’s surface and is never mined. Its potential to add value to the prospector’s life exist, but is worthless until work is initiated to extract it from the earth. The later verses of Ephesians chapter 5 provide such wisdom for marriages. The deposit of wealth contained within the last ten verses of this chapter is invaluable for husbands and wives.
The overall context of these verses is written for the instruction and building up of the church at Ephesus. It was penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the apostle Paul to provide an illustration of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church — not a particular denomination, but rather those who have by faith believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Within these verses great wisdom pertaining to marriage shows us that selflessness and sameness are necessary and the sacrifices that will be made in order to have a successful marriage.
Selflessness can be defined as the acts of placing another’s needs before your own. It has been said that marriage is not a 50/50. Divorce is a 50/50. Rather marriage is a 100/100. The husband and the wife mutually giving of their own needs, placing the needs of the other ahead of their own. We see throughout scripture that Jesus Christ consistently placed the needs of others before his own.
Sameness can be defined as the quality of being the same. It can be related to the word unity. Although often the husband and wife may have different preferences, they must operate as the same. The Bible says once married the two have become one. The husband and the wife have been joined together as one and unified in Christ. In other words when a crucial or critical decision needs to be made the decision should not be termed “his” decision or “her” decision, but rather “our” decision. This requires communication between the two different, equally important members of the marriage and often requires laying aside personal desires, or selflessness, to come to a mutual decision.
Sameness can also be brought into our personal relationship with Christ. He communes with us through scripture and prayer. Just as it is difficult to stabilize a marriage without communication between the husband and wife, it is difficult to enjoy a personal relationship with Christ without allowing Him to communicate to us through scripture, and to return communication to Him through prayer.
Sacrifice, or the offering of a gift in reverential honor, goes beyond and focuses on the giving of time, treasures, and talents for others. Sacrifices are done willingly and in accordance with the desires of those around us. Jesus was selfless in meeting our need for a Savior. He gives of all that He has for you and me.
There is hope for every marriage! That hope is provided by the wisdom contained within the Bible. We must be selfless, unified, and willing to sacrifice our time, money and effort for the sake of our spouse. It is within this wisdom we have the ability to grow and strive together through life as one. There is great peace and satisfaction in having a marriage that is hopeful and a picture of Jesus Christ and His relationship with the church.
Tim Braddock is pastor of Emerald Coast Baptist Church in Destin and can be reached at Tbraddock@emeraldcoastbc.com.