It seems the new routine is an occasional post. I don’t desire to end this blog like I have for other things (especially due to the occasional interest in having an ‘outlet’) but there’s certainly a lessened interest most of the times. Anyway…
As of late we’ve been part of a marriage small group with our church family… it’s been great and involved a lot of really thoughtful and diverse discussion. I’m the ‘apprentice’/assistant and that means occasionally I get to ‘lead’/facilate discussion. Yesterday was the first and the topic already identified was Weaving. It’s part 3 (with part 1 being Leaving, and part 2 being Cleaving). The best part of the night wasn’t anything I had written unfortunately – it was the discussion. Alas, I don’t take notes well for that sort of thing… but I leave you with my entire plans for discussion if for some reason this would be of value to someone.
Marriage for the Long Haul, Week 4
Genesis 2:24 “…and they will become one flesh.”
START: Pick and tell
1) What do you do as a couple that brings you together?
2) If you’re a little busier, what things would you LIKE to do together as a couple?
DISCUSS: What comes to your mind when you hear ‘weaving’ or ‘one flesh’?
- A lot of what I read about on this topic focused on the term ‘one flesh’… from Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh”…
- But I think of two distinct parts united forming something wholly different … with my favorite word here being united or UNITY.
- Definition – The state or quality of being in accord; harmony.
- Isa and I before were very different individuals … and now combined as well. I’ve very much not the same person I was before nor is she. We are unique in being together… in harmony (well some of the times).
- Apply this to our purpose… and we should be UNITED in PURPOSE.
Q: What are some examples?
- Companionship (Malachi 2:14) “she is your companion … by covenant”
- Encouragement (Proverbs 31:12) “She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.”
- Proper sexual relations (1 Corinthians 7:2)
“It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.”
- Children (Genesis 1:28, 1 Timothy 2:15) “Be fruitful and multiply” and “But women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”
- Teach our children (Ephesians 6:4) “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
HOWTO: become one flesh (Ephesians 5:23-33)
“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
That’s a lot of words to us men, isn’t it? Funny how we need to be told through a lot instead of a little…
I’ve heard a lot about John Piper but I read he wrote this in his Desiring God book about this subject:
“Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church.”
APPLY (FOR HUSBANDS): How can we love our wives THIS strongly?
Please (1 Corinthians 7:33) – what’s her love language?
Cherish and care (Ephesians 5:29)
Protect (Genesis 2:15)
Encourage (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
APPLY (FOR WIVES): “submit to your husbands in everything”, but what was part two?
respect your husband (UNCONDITIONALLY)
Q: How do these relate, and how can we do this?
When we work together and discuss plans or anything when disagreement remains, the husband is left with the burden of the decision (“husband is the head”) and should be respected for this responsibility. Now this doesn’t mean our job should be taken to the head and we just go ahead and decide things (move to SC ‘decision’) nor is the weight of all planning on just him (see next).
(Genesis 2:18) Helper for our husband – not in any way inferior– in leading our families but even the word helper doesn’t really cover it now does it? If you’re thinking in terms of us being ‘one flesh’ – think of the wife as the body and the husband as the head. You certainly don’t want a body without a head nor a head without a body, do you?
(1 Peter 3:2) “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” … win over by your deeds not your words! Goes back to showing respect. Makes me think of the OT story of Abigal and Nabal – husband was pretty much an idiot but Abigal still showed respect to save his life:
David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.”
Now I’m not saying anyone here is an idiot, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets won over by the behavior of my wife instead of her words…
RUN THE RACE (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Q: How could this relate to marriage and ‘weaving’?
- This race could be many things but for us married ones it we definitely have one race that is our marriage … more like a marathon! We definitely need some endurance, don’t we?
- God set our partners in our path
- Note the ‘keeping our eyes on Jesus’… there’s the 3rd cord
Q: What are our shared goals/purposes in this race? How are we going to get there?
Possibly in abstract terms such as serving God and lifelong companionship, but can we get more specific? Even if we don’t find any agreement here and now, open the door to discussion…
Do we agree? (Amos 3:3)
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”
What happens when we don’t agree?
One of us certainly doesn’t get very far!
Out-of-balanced life … things before their time
The ‘rope’ can easily be broken…
We want to complement, cooperate and pull together – not compete!
Take some time to discuss how you as a couple can improve your race (marriage) together… in whatever ways make sense:
- Discussing our purposes and goals for marriage
- Maybe even write a purpose statement for your marriage
Proverbs 14:8 – “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways”
Jeremiah 10:23-24 – “I know, Lord, that a person’s life is not his own. No one is able to plan his own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”
May we search for wisdom and give thoughts to our ways and see that our lives are not ours – I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if we choose to follow and accept Jesus as our Lord, we die to live in Jesus. As couples, our duty is to our spouses as well. Please guide our minds but also our hearts to live this way showing love and respect, forgiveness, and encouragement. Amen.