Marriages may be made in heaven but strong marriages are built on earth. Brick by brick! Sacrifice by sacrifice. Forgiveness by forgiveness. God gives us the blueprint but we have the choice to obey or ignore His rules. When we choose His ways we find the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit to heal our sins and to change us from within. When we ignore His ways, we are left to our own devices to repair our marriage and chart our directions. The outcome may not look good.
The fundamental thrust of a successful marriage is this: it is not so much about finding the right person; it is becoming the right person. And the middle years of marriage are the most crucial ones. In the early years of marriage, spouses want each other; in the later years they need each other. It is in the middle years that one or both spouses deem independence as more important than commitment. Pastures on the “other side” may look greener compared to the boring tasks of looking after children, doing daily chores, going to work, and having little time for self. Spouses quit. Marriages break.
The central blueprint of strong marriages is the continuing and irrevocable call to all husbands to love their wives undividedly and unconditionally: “Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… for he who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph 5:25,28). And the reciprocal call to all wives is to respect and submit to their husbands in a relationship in which they are already loved: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.. let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:22,33). But please note that no husband has the right to demand submission from his wife until he has chosen to “love his wife as himself” (Eph 5:33)!
Martin Luther said this: “There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” He should know. He was once a monk and celibate priest and his wife, a nun. And he said this after 25 years of married life!
维系坚固婚姻的蓝图，就是坚持不放弃而不断地回应呼召。那就是丈夫无条件、一心一意地爱护他的妻子：“你们作丈夫的，要爱你们的妻子，正如基督爱教会，为教会舍己。。。爱妻子便是爱自己了。（以弗所书 5:25,28）在另一方面，妻子则被神呼召要在一段婚姻感情已被爱护之下，敬重和顺服她的丈夫：“ 你们作妻子的，当顺服自己的丈夫，如同顺服主。。。妻子也当敬重他的丈夫。” (以弗所书 5:22,33）。但我们必须注意，直到丈夫选择以 “当爱妻子，如同爱自己一样” 之前，他没有权利得到妻子的顺服（以弗所书 5:33）！
Philip Lyn 医生牧师