How Do I Make My Marriage Work?
Marriage works when both spouses work hard at it. Marriage doesn’t work when both spouses refuse to work hard at it. Marriage is difficult when only one spouse works hard at it and the other doesn’t. Not matter where your marriage is, if you want an honorable, harmonious, healthy and happy marriage then the two people in the marriage have to work hard to make it that way. You can’t control your spouse, but you can do your part in making the marriage what it should be and glorify God in the process.
The Work Of A Believing Husband
- A Christian husband leads his wife. Even if your wife isn’t a believer or isn’t fulfilling her role as a wife according to the Bible, you are still just as responsible to lead her because you are “heirs together of the grace of life”. The “grace of life” is referring to your marriage—which is meant to be a good thing that God gave us in this life. You are “heirs together” meaning that you are in this marriage together and should be equal partakers of its’ blessings. You are to treat your wife with equal importance and standing within the marriage. Your roles will be different but neither spouse is superior to the other.
1 Peter 3:7; Ecclesiastes 9:9
- A Christian husband should live together with his wife “according to knowledge.” This has two possible meanings: (1) You need to know what the Bibles teaches about your role as a husband and live in accordance to it. (2) You are to perceive, discover and learn about your wife so that you can live harmoniously together. This means that you are to be active in detecting and responding to your wife’s feelings, needs, wants and fears.
- A Christian husband should “give honour” unto the wife as the weaker vessel. The Bible’s use of the word “weaker vessel” is not derogatory as in “less valuable,” but it points to two possibilities: (1) Generally, women were created physically weaker than men. (2) Culturally, men often dominate and exploit women so wives are often more vulnerable. Therefore, a Christian husband is called to highly esteem and love his wife—to use his strength to provide protection, comfort, care and provision for her. He doesn’t become bitter or have the habit of being angrily resentful against her. He doesn’t abuse his wife orally (harsh words, threats, unkindness) or physically (harsh behavior, violence, intimidation), but has a high view of her worth and value and treats her with such.
- A Christian husband who doesn’t lead his wife in these ways takes the chance of his prayers being hindered. (1) Individually—his prayers maybe be hindered because of the wickedness in his heart, the Lord may refuse to hear him. (2) Collectively—it is assumed that husbands and wives pray together, therefore a husband who doesn’t lead his wife in this manner is also hindering the time they should be spending together in prayer (you can’t pray together when you are mad or arguing, etc.). (3) Testimonial—if a husbands wife isn’t a believer, but he is praying that she will become one, then his wrong actions are working against his prayers for her to become a believer because his actions don’t match his prayers (a hypocritical testimony).
The Work Of A Believing Wife
- A Christian wife submits to her husband. Even if your husband isn’t a believer or isn’t fulfilling his role as a husband according to the Bible, you are still just as responsible to submit to him because there is a chance he will be converted by your conduct (even more than your words). Not only does the right actions serve to win over an unbelieving spouse but it can serve to cause a husband who is living out of God’s will to repent.
1 Peter 3:1-6; Colossians 3:18
- A Christian wife’s conduct is to be characterized by: (1) “Chaste”—which means pure, moral and virtuous. Her conduct shouldn’t be characterized with quarreling or sinful activities. (2) “Fear” or respect—which means that she should have an obvious admiration for God and allow it to overflow to also respecting her husband.
- A Christian wife should focus on inner beauty more than outer beauty because this is what is valuable to God. Outer beauty (braiding your hair, wearing jewelry or nice clothes) is not wrong, but it pales in comparison to the inner beauty of the “hidden man of the heart” or your character because it is incorruptible. This character is to be characterized by a “meek and quiet spirit”. Meek means to be gentle and humble. Quiet means tranquil or untroubled. This type of spirit is means a wife is self-controlled, and submissive in her attitude and actions towards her husband.
- A Christian wife express her trust in God by submitting to her husband. Holy Women in the Old Testament modeled what this type of wife should be. One example is Sarah, who showed her submission by habitually obeying and respecting her husband. Spiritually, you are Sarah’s daughters if: (1) you do well—you live out your faith in God by properly treating your husband; (2) if you are not afraid with any amazement (terror)—you live out this principle by faith and without fear of harm or mistreatment by your husband, even if he isn’t a believer. If you live with a fearful spirit about submitting to your husband then you will be anxious, apprehensive, judgmental—the opposite of a meek and quiet spirit. (This submission doesn’t include anything contrary to God’s will or word, such as sin, physical harm, etc.)
Practical Wisdom, Good Judgment And Common Sense
- Proverbial Wisdom for Husbands: It wasn’t good for man to be alone, so God made him a wife. When a man finds a wife he finds a good thing, and obtains someone who can make him happy. He should recognize the value of his wife, praise her and only look to her for sexual fulfillment and satisfaction.
Proverbs 5:15-19; 6:28; 18:22; 31:28-29
- Proverbial Wisdom for Wives: Wives have a choice to make about what kind of wife they want to be, virtuous or shameful, and it will affect their husbands greatly. A virtuous wife has good character, is trustworthy, faithful, prudent, good and becomes her husbands crown—meaning he is proud to publicly honor her because she is part of his success and good reputation. She is a special blessing from God. But a wife that brings shame is a great burden to her husband and her constant quarreling causes increasing damage. She is like a rottenness in the bones of her husband—meaning she causes him pain, irritation and devastation.
Proverbs 12:4; 19:13-14; 31:11–12, 23
- What about when marriage doesn’t work? If divorce seems unavoidable, first make a renewed biblical commitment to work as hard as you can to save your marriage and do everything possible to avoid it no matter the eventual outcome.
- Marriage works when both spouses do what?
- How does a Christian husband lead his wife?
- How does a Christian wife submit to her husband?
- What is the proverbial wisdom for husbands?
- What is the proverbial wisdom for wives?