[To the married I give this charge]
It’s been a long journey, and this writer is tiring of this topic, herself, but It’s not over till it’s over, so I’m game to see this through to completion.
If you’re still with me, good for you. If not, I’m writing for myself now, and thanks a lot. Of course you’ll never know this, and I’m still here painstakingly writing this piece for myself. (Did I guilt trip anyone?)
When the Husband Fails to Love His Wife
Men are not perfect. (I know, shocking right?) Even if the husband fails in his duties, the wife is still commanded to submit to her husband as unto God. In this way, she recognizes that her foremost duty is to God. Scripture states that by doing so a women may win her husband to the Lord without words. (So, no brow beating the unbelieving husband.)
“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
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 should be dealt with appropriately. (The long arm of the law sounds about right.)
What About Adultery?
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.)
Unfortunately, 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)
“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
“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32
Loyalty to God
Now that we’ve eliminated the harshest scenarios, if the 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 meekly takes the lead by living in a way that honors God. 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.
Jesus Set the Example
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 this may sound, it’s really no more difficult than what Jesus endured for those who would accept Him. (Infact, it’s far less difficult.)
Jesus 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, but if we love Him, we will keep his commands.)
Jesus Love for the Chuch (His Bride)
A Marriage that endures to the end is the absolute, and most glaring resemblance of Jesus Love for the church and the bride’s submission to Him. Maybe if we understood this it would be of far greater importance to us as believers.
Far too often, however, we view love in fanciful ideals, (like the mindless drivel of romance novels. Don’t read that garbage by the way, it lies.) Love–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.
“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
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, we haven’t learned love. (learning should be our goal.) If the desire of our heart doesn’t line up with the desire of God’s heart, who is it that we 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.
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