It’s been a long journey, and this writer is tiring of this topic herself, but It’s not done till it’s done, so I’m game to see it through to the end. If you’re still with me, good for you. If not, I’m talking to myself now, and thanks a lot. Though, of course you’ll never know this, and still here I am painstakingly writing this piece for myself. (Well that’s just fine and dandy, I’ll learn myself good like then.) Nevertheless, there is still one more important hurdle to jump, and it’s a doozy. It’s not one for the soul who’s afraid of hard work. So buckle up, were on the road again. (Yes, now Willy Nelson is in my head.)
Men are not perfect. (I know, shocking right?) Even if the husband fails in his duties, the wife is still commissioned to submit to her husband as unto God. In this way, she recognizes that her foremost duty is to God. Scripture states that in doing this a women may even save her unbelieving husband. But what about Physical harm? This would be an extreme case of a husband’s failure, and I’m sure all would agree that this is a brutality that no woman should endure. Any man who lays a hand on his wife in such a way, is not following God, and this situation needs to be dealt with appropriately.
Adultery is a whole other subject, and even grounds for divorce but divorce was only ever allowed due to the hardness of people’s hearts. God is looking for commitment from the sheep of His flock, (Commitment to Him, and to loving others as He does.) but we live in a throw away world, so this exception was made by Moses. Jesus, however stated that the two have become one flesh, so they are no longer two, but one, therefore what God joined together let no one separate. If a man leaves his wife and remarries he is guilty of adultery, and if she divorces her husband and marries another man she too commits adultery. (Mark 10:2-12)
Eliminating now the harshest of scenarios, if a husband is failing to be that godly example and leader in the home, the woman’s submission, and her loyalty to God may win her husband back to the Lord. Really, the woman is held to take the lead by living in a way that honors God. You’d have to have a firm understanding of love to understand this concept. This is God love; it’s a love that is willing to sacrifice, putting your husband–and therefore God– first, even when he is not fulfilling his role well.
There will undoubtedly be times that you or your spouse (Even both.) don’t perfectly fulfill your commitment to one another. In this case you are still held to love and submit. As difficult as that may sound, it’s really no more difficult (Infact it’s far less difficult.) than what Jesus endured himself, for those who would accept Him. He was beaten, nailed to a cross, and suffered a painful death, and somehow we believe we deserve better for ourselves than what our Savior endured. By not obeying we’re in effect saying that He deserves less than we do.
Jesus said this: “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke:14:27) Because disciple means a student of Christ, then in essence, what Jesus is saying here is: “If you don’t do as I do, this renders you unteachable.” (You are not listening, learning, or following Him.)
A Marriage that endures to the end is the absolute, and most glaring image of God’s love. Maybe if we understood this it would be of far greater importance to us as believers. Far too often though, we view love in fanciful ideals. (Like the mindless drivel of romance novels. Don’t read that garbage by the way, it lies.) Love however–in the way we should understand it–is something far more wonderful, goes beyond mere feelings and is a gift to be given. If both husband and wife could fully grasp this understanding, the bond would be untouchable, and marriage would be what it should be.
While receiving love in the manner we desire is wonderful, we need to accept that this isn’t the true face of love, and if we can’t get marriage right (This should be our goal.) we haven’t learned love. Therefore, we haven’t known and understood God, and we still need further schooling. For God is love, and to love others is the foundation of our faith. Marriage in effect then is a hands on ‘work experience’. Far too often though, we lose sight of this in focusing on our own wants, and our own perceived false notions of what love means, but what we should want In fact is what God wants. If the desires of your heart don’t line up with the desires of His, who is it that you are following?
Loving others is complex, and takes work. God therefore calls us to work through it, (As He does.) instead of simply discarding our spouse, only to start over with another. (Truly this teaches us nothing of true love.) If we only love what we deem to be lovable, again we have missed the mark entirely. If God loved as the world does, we’d all have been wiped clean off the planet long ago, and surely He’d have started over with a far different looking creature. Instead God’s love is far greater; He is patient with us all, not wanting for any of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9). That’s God love. We are called to love as He does, but we can only learn this by listening, submitting, and doing as He does. (Participation is required).
The truth is difficult to refute, and is open plainly before us. Still, the choice is ours to ‘Honor and Obey’, (ultimately God), or drop the ball entirely.
November 19, 2018: Just recently I remember that God does start over, but not in the same way we ourselves might do: He doesn’t abandon us and He doesn’t give up. Instead, He gives us another chance–a fresh start even. If the piece He’s been working on doesn’t come out the way He wants it, He makes something else out of it. This is what He does when we submit to Him. We should follow His lead with our marriage then. Instead of starting over with an entirely new piece (aka our spouses) we should be patient for God to rework the piece that He’s been working on. After all, we need just as much reworking ourselves.
He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. –Jeremiah 18:6
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:1-2
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:10
“For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.” Romans 7:2-3