Chapter 7

Marriage

       

Recently I had the awesome privilege to experience God’s creation first hand. I was staying in a hotel away from my family on a work assignment. It was a lonely situation. Oddly enough, there were two ducks of all things who came to be my buddies. I named them Mertle and Gertle. They were beautiful pure white ducks with bright orange bills and feet. They live near a lake by the hotel. They waddled and quacked as if to be talking to me as well as each other. I anxiously looked forward to seeing them each day. I would feed them bread and sweet rolls for breakfast. On a good day, they would eat out of my hand. 

Each time I fed them they started out being shy. Then after they tasted their breakfast Danish, they seemed to forget their inhibitions. Mertle, the male, was not always the gentleman. He was bigger that Gertle who was the female duck. Sometimes Mertle would be a food hog, pushing his wife out of the way while going after the food. I would try my best to give each of them an equal portion. Poor Gertle would be so sweet and submissive to Mertle. She would stand and wait while Mertle was making a pig of himself. She tilted her head and looked at him as she waited patiently for him to finish being a hog. 

I visited them every day. This went on for some time. One day I did not see them. I went looking for them and found them by the lake. As I turned the corner, there they were, side by side. They were never very far apart from each other. This particular time, Gertle was the nearest to me. As I approached Mertle hastened to come between me and his wife. I believe that he was protecting her. I noticed that he did the same when the Canadian geese came close to her. They were much bigger that him. I don’t believe that it mattered to him what would happen if they attacked him. His main objective was to protect Gertle, even unto death if necessary. 

How is it that the ducks get it right but we humans have a hard time? While Gertle was submissive to Mertle, Mertle would give his life for her just as Christ gave His life for us the church, His bride. 

Marriage may well be my favorite subject to talk about. It’s the subject that brings a smile to my heart and refreshes my soul. I truly wish that every married couple could feel the same. Unfortunately, the state of marriage in this country is miserably dismal. Husbands and wives care more about what’s on TV or football than they do about their marriage. I wish I had a dollar for each time I herd of a husband or wife say, “I’m not happy.” This would be liken to God saying, “I do not like being up here on the cross. I think I’ll get down.” In light of my assessment of today’s marital condition through out the United Statesand other parts of the World, I consider myself an expert here. 

Coleen is my Joy. We are God’s joy. Giving God joy is the purpose for which we were created. We are to our wives as Christ is to His bride, the church. We are the church. The church is not a building. The model of marriage by which we are to follow is that of the relationship between God and the church. Consider the following passage. I warn you gentlemen. Before putting yourself on a pedestal, take heart as to what is to follow.

21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 

Ephesians 5:21-24

Most husbands have no problem with this part. “Come ye submit wife!” That’s just wonderful. What a great plan God has for us guys? The next part is what men often neglect to read. Granted, after reading the first part why not quit when we’re ahead. It can’t get any better than this, right? As you read, remember that the model of marriage we are to follow is that of Christ to His bride, the church. 

25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Ephesians 5:25-31

Men, are you willing to love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church? Are you willing to die for her? Do you share the word of God with her? Do you look past her imperfections as Christ recognizes no blemish in us, loving her unconditionally? If you are not yet married but plan on getting married, does this scare you to death? It should. There is less than a 50% chance that your marriage will make it through time. 

A man and woman must strive to learn all they can about Christ’s relationship to the church before delving into marriage. It is not about the expectations of duty in regard to making either one happy. It is about fulfilling God’s plan with the person He blessed one to the other. Recognizing God’s design and accepting your spouse as not only a blessing but an essential partner to the end of fulfilling His plan is powerful weaponry when the evil one attempts to intervene and destroy. And, I guarantee, he will definitely try to destroy. The devil hates marriage while God hates divorce. He does not hate those subject to divorce. However, like all sin, He hates the sin of divorce. Anything against God’s plan is a sin. 

Wives, are you willing to surrender to your husband by granting him kingship over your life? You see, it’s a two way street. Wives are to submit and support. Men are to sustain leadership and be true even unto death. This is the only way marriage can work. This is how marriage is designed by the creator of the universe. 

Coleen and I were married when I was 30. I was not saved until I was 36. Coleen actually led me to accepting the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are very, very, lucky to have what we have. Through the grace of God, we beat the odds. Sometimes it seams to be unfair that our marriage so far is full of joy while others around us are either divorced or miserable. I wish I could give to everyone what Coleen and I have. I believe that anyone could have what we have. However, couples need to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit enabling them to understand what marriage entails. 

Jesus died for the church. The church is not a building. We are the church. At the altar, a husband makes a pledge before his wife and God. He promises to love her, even if it means he must die for her, as Jesus died for the church. If a man’s wife causes him grief it is of no consequence. His promises at the altar are not dependant on the action of any other. He needs to be as Jesus is, true to the church having unconditional love for us. 

Falling in love with the wife of your youth was a blessing from God, a miracle! Staying in love is none the less a miracle. Regaining back the love that once was is also a gift from God that couples merely need to accept from Him, casting away pride. For a wife and husband to be on the same page, they need to first be on the same page with God individually. Then having surrendered to the Lord, both husband and wife will not only be able to reconcile with each other, their marriage will also be blessed.

14Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15And did not he make one? 

Malachi 2:14-15

4Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you or abandon you.”,  6And so we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” 

Hebrews 13:4-6

image16