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Ephesians 5 

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 

All right. I could’t take it any longer. I have to use some kind of statistic on the topic of marriage in our society today! Here it is.

In an recent Pew Research Center survey, adults were asked which statement was closer to their own viewpoint. The statements had to do with marriage and having children.

Statement #1

Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority.

Statement #2

Society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.

Results? Here we go again United States divided!

4% answered “don’t know” “neither” or  “both equally”

The rest of the country?

Statement #1

46% of Americans think society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority.

Statement #2

50% of Americans say society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.

I guess the Bible is accurate once again in reflecting the human condition.

“This is a great mystery!”

The Bible doesn’t say everyone needs to get married and have children. Our best model of human life? Jesus. Didn’t marry. Didn’t have children.

But the overall message of the Bible is crystal clear. For everyone else, marriage and children are the foundation of well-being for society.

Now what if I don’t want to use the Bible as my criteria? Fine. Look at any research having to do with marriage and children.

Married with children-

Healthier. Mentally and physically.

Joy level-

Higher when married with children.

Satisfaction level-

Higher when married with children.

So, what is the mystery? The mystery is why something so obviously helpful in bringing well-being into our lives, and as a result, bettering the well-being of society, is not considered a priority for half our country!

When husbands and wives model the love Jesus has for people, society thrives. Always. When we become the kind of people who can devote ourselves to the well-being of those closest to us, everything else around us gets better in the long run.

ME

What are some of the qualities you see in marriages you admire?

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Ephesians 5

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her…

“Husbands love your wives like Jesus loves you.”

Jesus adores me. Jesus is absolutely devoted to me and cherishes the relationship we have together. Exactly.

For a husband to be devoted to his wife as his #1 neighbor is the foundation of well being for our families, and beyond that for the society.

Now, this is not about romance, it is about focus. It is about understanding. To be devoted to my wife’s well-being is to have compassion and feel her needs. Where is she vulnerable? How can I be the kind of husband who will pay attention to this?

So often in marriage there is the challenge of husband’s having their main focus and devotion being on something other than their wife. There is nothing wrong with paying attention to other areas of life, if loving neighbor #1 is #1.

You see Jesus doesn’t command us to love everyone. He loves everyone, but we can’t because we don’t have his capacity. Love needs to be specific. We simply don’t have the resources to be that specific and devoted to the well-being of everyone.

This is why we start small. We start with our wife. When we devote serious attention, thought, prayer and service towards her, we will be changed in a way that makes further devotion possible. We expand that love to our children and/or those closest to us. And so on. And the range of our influence over the well-being of society grows.

ME

What are ways a husband might take a wife for granted?

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Ephesians 5

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.

For wives, this means devoting yourself to your husband as you devote yourself to God. The phrase the Bible uses concerning the husband’s role is, “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church.”

Husband the head? How sexist! Before you decide this is old fashioned and outdated it would be better to actually understand before you respond.

This has nothing to do with the husband being the boss. The husband in the family is to be like Jesus with the church. Giving himself for the sake of the well being of his wife just as Jesus gives himself for our sake.

If the husband is bullying or arrogant in the relationship this is not the model of Jesus giving himself freely to the church, so that is already a false way of looking at with it means to lead.

For the husband to take the lead in marriage is like being a good shepherd. It has to do with security and provision. Just as Jesus is responsible to protect and provide for his people, husbands are to take the lead in protecting and providing for their family. O, wives protect and provide for their family, too, but it is the husband who is ultimately responsible.

Simply outrageous! How outdated. Really? How’s it working when the husband is not responsible for security and provision?

ME

What are the qualities of a good shepherd?