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Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Marriage Relationship

Scriptures: Gen 2:23-24, Eph 5, John 3:16

Okay, so like everyone, I’ve had a busy week. Of the 5 days that have passed since last Sunday, I’ve spent 2 of them in Regina, 1 driving to North Dakota and back, and 2 working on a newsletter that was waaaay overdue. All of this with an ear problem that sent me reeling several times a day. Praise God my ear is healed! So, why didn’t I do this blog (God’s work) first? Well, that’s kind of how I got behind in the first place. So, I regret the lateness of the blog entries, but I really needed to get the other ‘stuff’ out of the way.

Last Sunday, Pastor Lorne started his message by saying that he was going to talk about marriage. He mentioned that there were single people and men with their spouses missing in the congregation but he hoped everyone would get something out of the message.

He said perhaps you’ve heard him mention this story but it’s worth repeating. The story goes that Henry and Myrtle had just dropped their youngest off at university. Still in the truck, Myrtle slid close to Henry and asked if he still loved her. Apparently, Henry tightened up, got tense and said ‘I told you I loved you when I married you and if there’s any change I’ll let you know.’ (Laughter)

With this, Pastor Lorne said he would be talking about relationships within the marriage. He said it’s an interesting thing in the Bible but you really don’t find any place where it says the wives have to love their husbands. He said he really shouldn’t be saying this but when Myrtle asked her question, she was right on scripturally because it says what the husband has to do but not the wives.

For confirmation of that, Pastor Lorne said to turn to Genesis 2 (also used in his last message). V23 and 24 says, ‘The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman’, for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.’ Pastor Lorne said Adam and Eve shared a very close relationship because they were physically part of each other.

He said to turn to Eph 5 which talks about living wisely. Specifically, it says in v 18, ‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery...‘ Pastor Lorne said he looked up the word ‘debauchery’ in the dictionary and it said it means drinking in excess or becoming an alcoholic.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with marriage or spousal relationships, right? Well, Pastor Lorne said these are Paul’s instructions on how to conduct our lives. If you drink too much wine, you don’t make good decisions and it leads to debauchery where you say and do things you normally wouldn’t.

Eph 5:19-20 says we’re to ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything...’ Otherwise, you’re not doing anything to help the marriage relationship or your relationship with your children for that matter. In other words, keep things positive.

Pastor Lorne said he can’t stay on pitch but in his heart, he can sing and make music to the Lord. He said when he’s working, driving, or whatever instead of thinking about all the bad things in his life like how his wife burned the toast or how he woke up and had to make his own breakfast (both Pastor Lorne and Dianne were smiling when he said this), he said the Bible says that instead, you should be singing and making melody in your heart with the lord. He said when you get that attitude and even when you work, the people you work with will be so much better rather than fussing about the little things and situations. In other words, be thankful instead of complaining.

Then v21 continues by saying ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ He said it doesn’t say to submit to certain people, but it’s a two-way street and it makes for pleasant living and an easy way to get through problems when people are willing to submit to each other instead of just one person doing all the submitting.

So, how does this pertain to husbands and wives? Pastor Lorne said as a husband, he particularly likes Eph 5:22 which states, ‘Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.’
Pastor Lorne then asked the congregation if they liked that. At that moment, my husband spoke up and asked, ‘Sermon over?’ Of course the congregation laughed while I threw some side-ways glances at my hubby who just grinned at me.

Then before we’d even finished laughing, Pastor Lorne went on to say that even the next verse isn’t all that bad – v23 says, ‘For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church...’ With tongue in cheek, Pastor Lorne asked us if we were enjoying these words. He then continued reading into v24 which ends with ‘...wives should submit to their husbands in everything’. At this point Pastor Lorne looked at the clock and the communion dishes and said, ‘Hmm, it’s almost 11 o’clock. Should I quit?’ Again, there was laughter.

Pastor Lorne said unfortunately, that’s as far as some relationships go. He said even in this day and age of enlightenment...in this world of information overload...where if you want to know something, you just type in a word and everything to do with it is at your fingertips...that a lot of women are being totally mistreated, killed, bought, sold, and traded like an animal. He said it’s a very sad thing. He said that The National Geographic reports on the things that are done to women....where women have no worth and the suffering they go through...how In some countries if the family doesn’t like the wife of their son, they kill her and do away with her with no repercussions...

Pastor Lorne said that the really sad part is when some people read only those verses in the Bible and leave it at that, taking them out of context. He said we have to look at the rest. With that, he drew our attention to the next verse which says, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.’

He said this is where the husband’s part comes in. To love your wives as Christ loves the church. How much does Christ love you? Does He love you In word? In deed by His actions? Christ loves us so much that we’re the apple of His eye. God loved us so much that even before the beginning of time, the Bible says that that man...His treasured creation ...would need a Saviour. The plan was already made. That’s how much God loves you.

He loves you so much that ‘...He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:16 So, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.

Pastor Lorne said that every time he reads this it becomes a bigger thing. He said he realizes that we as couples have the responsibility in our relationship of husband and wife to show forth Christ’s love for His church because it says that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ gave up His life for the church.

Christ’s love is unconditional. Christ doesn’t love us because we love Him. He doesn’t want only those who love Him. So, we have the responsibility of showing our marriage to our family and the world...whether we’re the parents or the children...Christ’s love for His children, the church.

Along with this, the Bible says in Eph 5:26 ‘to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.’ At this point, Pastor Lorne asked if we’d every read those wedding announcements in the paper. He said they describe how radiant the bride was and what she and her bridesmaids wore in detail and then almost as an afterthought add that the groom wore a black suit. He said that sometimes it seems as if the wedding could go ahead without even a groom and he doesn’t even need to show up because all the attention is put on the bride and the groom seems to be superfluous.

Pastor Lorne said that’s how Christ is working in our lives. He said he knows that the guys don’t like to consider themselves as a bride but Christ is getting us ready and He wants everything to look good.

He does everything he can in our lives...and this is for everyone...both men and women...married or unmarried...His desire is to keep our lives so that we’re as good looking as possible for when we walk down that aisle to meet Him. So that no one will look at anyone else but you. Pastor Lorne then gave an account of a wedding where the bride came down a staircase and all eyes were on her as she descended.

Christ wants everything perfect for when He presents you to Himself. And He’s getting you ready and doing everything He can so that when you come to Him, you’ll be without spots or stains on your pure white dress and it won’t be all wrinkled up. Pastor Lorne said you’ll be perfect without any other blemish...no zits, etc...just perfect for Him and that’s what He’s working on.

Pastor Lorne said to the husbands that you might think that’s not your thing at all. That you think you’ll pay for the groceries and the bills and that’s all. But the Bible says you are to love your wives in this (the Bible’s) way so they can be the best that they can be. Pastor Lorne said he realizes things have changed over the years and when he thinks back about how when a couple got married, the wife was so busy because she had to sew the clothes, make the soap, spin the wool, do the baking, churn the butter, etc she didn’t have the time she has now. Life has changed where a lot of the women and wives have jobs, careers and degrees and that some of the natural things have changed.

But, Pastor Lorne still believes that God’s plan for a couple hasn’t changed. That even though women are taking more of a leadership role because of their expertise and how society has changed, he believes that in a marriage, women should submit to their husbands as to the Lord and that men are to love their wives as Christ loves His church.

Pastor Lorne said he’s spent a bit of time explaining how brides should look perfect but the Bible also says in v28 that ‘In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.’ He said that men probably like the way they look and don’t like to abuse their bodies so they take care of themselves. They take precautions to protect themselves when they work like wear gloves to protect their hands from getting smashed or wear a helmet to protect their head. So, men don’t like to do anything to hurt their bodies or cause it pain. He said men are to love their wives the same way they love their own bodies.

Pastor Lorne then referred us to Eph 5:31-32 which says, ‘"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Pastor Lorne said he wanted to talk about the profound mystery. He said that people have problems getting along at work or at school but for a marriage, you take a man and women who grew up in different homes with different rules and ideals, or whatever else is entailed and yet they’ll get married and try to live together. He said it’s sad to say that a lot of times it doesn’t work. He said he was watching a TV show about the 10 most expensive weddings and the sad thing was that they could spend 3 million dollars on a wedding and the marriage might only last 18 months. He said one wedding cost $2 million and didn’t last a year.

But Pastor Lorne said he thinks the Bible principles applied on both sides is the secret to a good marriage. He said that when Rev. Doug Lancaster spoke last week on the morning of COTH’s 40th anniversary celebration, he referred to the church as being a safe place.

Pastor Lorne said he believed every home should be a safe place...a place where the children can come and be safe, feel loved and know their parents are going to stay together...know that they’re loved and feel special. And he believes that can happen when a couple follows God’s plan for their lives. He said it doesn’t mean that the man is the head of the house and boss of the wife or that the wife has to submit and all that. Or that one has a more lofty position. He believes that they are equal. It’s just the way God has set it up – exactly the way His relationship is with His people, the church.

When we have a right relationship whether we’re the husband, the wife or one of the children, our home is a safe place.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email him.

Comments are appreciated. If you’re not sure how, please click on ‘comments’ under 'Labels' in the right column.

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