Encouraging Your Marriage
On May 31, 2016 my wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. My wife is a real joy and a true gift from God. If you attend Emmanuel Baptist Church you have probably heard me say that my goal is for God to allow my wife and I to live long enough to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Certainly, I would love to celebrate more than 50, but I at least want to make our 50th. Marriage is a big deal to my wife and I. We like being married and think marriage is a really good institution that God created. However, we realize the marriage has been the source of pain for many people. What God intended to be a good wholesome institution has been damaged by sin.
In an effort to encourage and champion marriages, I shared a message this past Sunday from Genesis 2:18-25. (You can find this message at www.ebcwc.org.) Here in Genesis we find God’s blueprints for this sacred institution called marriage. From this passage in Genesis I want to encourage you with five particular points. First, consider your spouse as your companion. It is not good for man to be alone. Having a companion, a helper, a friend is truly one of God’s special blessings. Secondly, consider that your marriage exists for a great Kingdom purpose. Perhaps, you think your spouse exists to satisfy you and to make you happy. You actually exist together to accomplish God’s purpose and plan in this world. Together you live to propagate the gospel. Live on purpose. Thirdly, consider the unique oneness of your marriage. Adam said of Eve, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Paul offered some great commentary on this concept when he wrote Ephesians. He said in Ephesians 5:28-29, “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” Husbands, you are so uniquely one with your wife that she is your own body. To deny her or mistreat her is to mistreat yourself. Wives, the same is true for you. Your husband is your own body. I think many marriages exist as two individuals living in their individual worlds under the same roof. Fourthly, understand the unique commitment and permanency of marriage. Man will leave father and mother and cleave to his wife. Cleave means that you maintain your undying commitment to one another living out the very promise you made in your wedding vow. Lastly, enjoy and maintain the purity of your marriage. The culture has perverted sexual intimacy. There seems to be pervasive societal permission to engage in sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. This only leads to heartache, guilt and shame. The scriptures do tell us that there is one safe wholesome place for a sexual intimacy. That place is within the context of marriage. God says yes to sexual intimacy in the context of marriage, but no to sexual intimacy everywhere else. Protect the purity of your marriage and be sure that each spouse knows how to possess their own vessel in sanctification and honor. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Friends, I encourage you to consider the companionship, purpose, oneness, commitment, and purity of your marriage. May God bless and prosper your marriage as together we champion marriage!