The institution of marriage is in trouble. Marriages are dissolving at alarming rates. In the United States, it is said that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. For the youngest age group,the divorce rate is 63%. In view of these statistics, more and more people are electing to live together rather than go through the trauma and heartache of divorce. Can this abysmal state of affairs be turned around? Thankfully, the answer is yes. Whether you are a God fearing person or not, the biblical principles that follow are principles that work in the real world regardless of belief. They have withstood the test of time. Godly advice can pull marriage out of the dumpster.
Let Us Start at the Beginning
*Controversy Alert*–As an engineer and scientist by training and occupation, I have carefully weighed the evidence supporting the theories of evolution or creation. To me, the evidence clearly points to a Grand Designer and Creator, and I am writing from that point of view. However, this current blog is not aimed at debating the merits of either view. So to all my readers who are staunch evolutionists, I ask you to bear with me, because our ultimate goal is to discover principles that can lead us to having a happy marriage.
According to the scriptural accounts, God created the first man and woman and joined them together as husband and wife. He said that they would become one flesh which is a term implying a unique union of heart, mind, and soul. Of course having God pick the perfect mate for you is a big step toward having a happy marriage.
However, it is what God said to Adam before his marriage to Eve that merits our attention. God said, “It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him as a complement of him.” Implicit in this account is the fact that in God’s eyes, both the man and woman are of equal value but with different roles. The wife is to be a helper, but even more importantly she is a complement, one who completes the union. The wife is not an inferior being but a critical, important part of the whole. So for many, a change in the male mindset may be required with respect to their view of the woman’s role in marriage. Having the proper mindset can go a long way to promoting a happy marriage.
The Headship Principle Explained
I can hear the howls of complaint yelling, “The Bible says the man is the head of his wife and he will dominate her.” This is the case of two truths being joined to create an erroneous conclusion. The first part of the statement is true because 1 Corinthians 11:3 states, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, in turn, the head of a woman is the man, in turn, the head of the Christ is God.” This is called the headship principle. When it comes to the family, the principle simply states that there has to be a final decision-maker. Just as two people cannot simultaneously drive a car for it would lead to disaster, so too in the family dynamic. Someone has to be the final decision maker. God designated man to fulfill that role.
The second part of the statement is also true. In Genesis chapter 3 God laid out the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sinful disobedience. In part, He told Eve, “… your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.” Was that godly advice for a happy marriage? Absolutely not! God was warning that marriages not following godly principles would tend to fall into this pattern of dominance and oppression.
The Wise Checks and Balances
We know that, because God wisely put a wonderful check and balance in the family arrangement. Consider Ephesians 5:21-33. Verse 21 lets us know that subjection of the wife to the man is not absolute. It says, “Be in subjection to one another in fear of Christ.” Guys, this means there will be times when we will need to listen to the direction of our wives. Failing to heed the direction of our wife at times could lead to less than satisfactory outcomes. Would you fail to submit to your pregnant wife’s direction when she states, “Honey, the baby’s about to be born. You better get me to the hospital quickly.”
More importantly, verse 25, which states, “… Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” Reflect on this counsel deeply. This tells husbands that yes we do have the final decision-making authority, but we must be self-sacrificing in our decision-making and place the interests of our wife and family before our own in most cases. Under this arrangement a family subject to such loving, self sacrificing headship would certainly be happier and more content.
Also, consider the admonition at 1 Peter 3:7, “You husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with them according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one…” Consider the implications. We are directed to know and understand our wives. For instance, what drives their emotions, what makes them happy, and what makes them sad? Women are wonderfully complex creatures, so this is somewhat of a daunting task. It takes time, effort, and communication, but if we truly honor our wives for the roles they play in the marriage arrangement, how much easier do you think it would be for them to submit to our headship and to feel cherished and loved? Working at knowing our wives has great benefits for “if momma is happy, everybody is happy.” Also, stay on top of the “honor” part of the counsel. The rewards are great.
There is much more to be said on this topic, so this blog is only Part 1 on this subject. Part 2 will follow shortly with ‘How To’ tips. Stay tuned!
So what do you think? Would marriage benefit from following Godly principles? Leave a comment and let me know.
Join the many others who enjoy getting their blog updates by e-mail. Subscribe now. I also hope you pick up my best-selling memoir Cheating Death-an Extreme Memoir. You will find it a captivating memoir that will have you apprehensively on the edge of your seat, occasionally laughing, then crying, and then laughing again. A preview of the first few chapters of the book and reviewer’s comments can be found here.