It is not difficult to understand why natural men and women come to dislike one another, why their so-called love turns to hate, and why couples divorce one another and subject their children to so much turmoil and trial. These people do not know God and do not have the love of God for others in their hearts. This, however, is not the way of Christ. It is a denial of the gospel and a contradiction of the teaching of Scripture.
When a married couple who profess to be true believers cannot live together in love and peace, cannot fulfil the vows they made to one another before God, cannot sacrifice pride and self for the good of their children and the testimony of the gospel, they are telling the world that God’s grace is not sufficient, that the blood of Christ cannot overcome the world and the flesh, that he that is in us is not greater than he who is in the world and that the claim of Scripture to make us ‘new creatures’ in Christ is not true (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Husbands, remember the scriptural injunction to ‘love your wives’ and your children (Ephesians 5:25). Do not provoke them or treat them selfishly. Give yourselves to their well-being, spiritual and physical. Keep yourself and your family in the love of God, no matter how difficult the way may become. What is required of husbands (and what truly believing husbands will want to do) is to love their wives ‘even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it’ (Ephesians 5:25). This is going a long way, right to the end, and with no giving up!
Wives, love, respect and obey your husbands. This is the clear teaching of Scripture (Ephesians 5:22). Make a clean, pleasant home for him, your children and your guests. Be a homemaker, a companion and a helpmate. Paul said, ‘Teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed’ (Titus 2:4-5).
The marriage road may not always be smooth. The images conjured up in the youthful mind of marriage ‘bliss for ever and ever’ may soon fade. Those who have been on the road for a long time know that marriage has to be continually worked on, but the truly believing couple will always remember that their marriage is a reflection (however faint) of the relationship between Christ and his church. He gave his life for her. They will work on it and seek to glorify God in their relationship.