As the saying goes in many marriage seminars…
“Many prepare for the wedding but they do not prepare for the marriage.”
So much has been said about the sinful activities of sex and what goes on in a marriage that we really do not have that much of a clue as to what a really good, successful marriage looks like.
Some of us are so inundated with TV marriages, TV homosexuality, 30 minute solutions, episodes, drama, and tidying up after a few episodes, that when the show on TV is over, we resume our “normal” routines. Because marriages, inside and outside the church end in divorce at the 50+% rate, we are challenged by LGBT. They have already issued a challenge that they could do better at marriage.
We all know that they can’t because of the sin of homosexuality. God did not join male and male or female and female together.
Genesis 2:24 is the basis for this for marriage is Biblically defined as a union between one male and one female. Homosexuals cannot become one flesh because their sex organs are incompatible. Therefore, they cannot teach heterosexual couples anything about marriage.
Besides, it’s about holy matrimony, not perversion.
In many marriages between one man and one woman, arguments, frustrations, adultery, fornication, porn, chat room porn, money issues, child abuse issues, molestations, religious fairy tale spins, and domestic violence, unnecessarily fill our lives.
When the Lord brought Eve to Adam, everything was set. Adam had God in his life. Adam had a job. He tilled the Garden and he was supposed to subdue and have dominion. Meaning that if there was anyone or anything out of the ordinary, it was his job to straighten it out. It was Adam’s job to handle business.
To cut right to the chase, it is what’s in the character of two individuals that determines the kind of marriage they will have.
We can no longer rely only on observing other couples because you are not going to see everything that goes on in their lives.
Too many times, we look to “marriage templates” to see what we can use to make a marriage successful. We look at their money handling experiences, sexual satisfaction experiences, time management experiences, and communication or connection experiences. We look to reinvent to find ways to bring vigor back to a relationship. We look to spice or bring spark to a dull relationship that is in deep trouble.
It all boils down to the man working on his character and the woman working on her character.
The fallen nature of Adam and Eve produced an evil character. Sinister character. Selfish character.
The only remedy to this is to be born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. To repent of sin. To come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9….
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
The Lord knows what lurking in the hearts of people. And let’s face it. People do not want to change. Some people are stuck in their ways and would rather divorce than change. If the heart refuses to change, people are in trouble and marriages are definitely in trouble.
Galatians 5:22 is the fruit of the Spirit. One person taught it this way that the fruit of the Spirit is the “recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit.”
In other words, after a person repents of sin, and is born again, the Holy Spirit teaches them how to mature in the character of Christ by the obedient application of the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit teaches men and women these things….
Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
Hence, a real marriage looks like these things because these things represent the very character or attribute of Christ.
We must all work these things into our lives and then work to bring it out of our lives.
No marriage is perfect but the Lord is perfect, and His Word is perfect.
Before I go further, a man and a woman must be satisfied in the Lord before they can be satisfied with each other. No relationship can achieve full satisfaction apart from a strong, vibrant relationship with the Lord. Too many couples are looking for satisfaction in a marriage and do not get me wrong, in a way some satisfaction will be achieved.
But God is the only One that can bring complete and everlasting satisfaction to a person.
God created man in His image (see Genesis 1:26). So man must look to the Creator and he must look to the Word of God as given from the Creator to help him incorporate the character of God into his character. It takes a lot of work by the man to relinquish “stubbornness, resistance, and rebellion” in his mind and flesh to receive correction where he is not proficient in the “recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, in order for a man to have a good marriage, he must be willing to take drastic steps to deal with his character in order for his marriage to last.
So it is also with the woman. She must be proficient in the “recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit.”
Too often, women spend so much time trying to influence her husband to be a certain way, and that is time wasted if you are pushy, and contending with him to be a certain way.
Sometimes, by pushing him, you are helping him into the bosom of a harlot.
The man is already in a “stubbornness, resistance, and rebellion” mode and the wife becomes really frustrated that he isn’t responding because he is in his “stubbornness, resistance, and rebellion” mode.
The one thing that wives must learn is that when you desire for your husband to change, sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes change has to begin with you before it can happen with your husband. Spend time looking within your heart and mind for areas where the Lord has told you to change but you refuse. Too often in the “beauty world” of women, their “outer perfection” is obscuring their character flaw within.
Look at what Peter said in 1 Peter 3:1-4…..
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
We must all remember that there is somethings that we know are not right within us. The moment that we admit that and remain teachable, the Lord will help us all to make the right kind of adjustment that will bring a blessing to our marriages.
The fruit of the recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit is the true reflection of the heart of Christ. Before, during, and after the wedding, if a man and a woman would work on become these things in a relationship, everything else falls into place. From the Lordship and Dominion of Jesus and His Word, to incorporating these essential elements into his or her life, the rough edges and childish behaviors will dissipate.
The marriage relationship works from the inside out.
Notice what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:33-35……
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
Let me reiterate.
The marriage relationship works from the inside out.
As a man, whatever is in you is going to come out. As a woman, whatever is in you is going to come out.
So what you say and do, if you are a good tree, good fruit is going to come out.
If you want a good fruit marriage, the fruit of the recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit must be produced. If you want a bad fruit marriage, then evil will come out all of the time.
You have to purpose to be mindful of the kind of fruit that is going to come out of you. That means you have to spend time making sure that childishness is subdued. Usually, marriages become bad due to childishness. And when childishness is in the mix, there is a deliberate and intentional abandoning of the fruit of the recreated human spirit by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, you stop doing what the Word says to do to have something or to do something that is detrimental to a relationship. So there must be a constant guard to always put the Word of God first before saying or doing something of a childish nature.
When a husband and a wife intentionally look to please the Lord, it becomes very difficult to do something against each other. Because you would never seek to do something harmful to the Lord. Additionally, you must remember that the Lord lives in each of you and what you do to each other reflects your true heart attitude towards the Lord.
We prove our love for the Lord when we keep His commandments (see 1 John 5:1-5). We disprove our love for the Lord when we deliberately sin against Him.
The same principle applies in our marriages. And when we intend to hurt our husband or wife, the Lord on the inside is hurt first because to hurt a person means that we intend to separate ourselves from the Lord and His Word to do what harm we intend to do to the one we claim to love, honor, and cherish.
Immaturity is the root of all divorces and separations.
But maturity in Christ is the root and foundation of all successful, and fruitful marriages.
This is what real marriages look like.