Marriage: More than Mundane
- 2010 8 Sep
When my husband and I got married, we had already spent considerable time serving the Lord side-by-side. I was well aware that our life together reflected God's work. But there was a whole lot more to our marriage testimony that I really hadn't anticipated.
Titus 2:3-5, gives us wives a clear description of how our marriage is an important part of our testimony-without-words to the world around us:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (NASU)
All this stuff we do boils down to ensuring that our lives don't dishonor God's Word and ultimately His name.
Affection Matters Some of us might be tempted to dismiss such notions as old-fashioned and not view the connection this lifestyle has to honoring God. As a minister's wife, one of the biggest trends I have seen within the church is the stumbling block we can all be to each other- especially parents to their children. We might joke about how Mom or Dad was yelling the very second before they opened their car door to greet someone in the church parking lot with a syrupy "good morning!" But the reality is those kind of interactions damage your witness to your family. Kids see through the incongruities of life and it turns them off to God.
The word in the Titus passage for "love" isn't the more common, self-sacrificing agape love used in the New Testament. It is the affectionate, sweet phileo love. So, are you visibly affectionate on a daily basis to your husband and children?
As gals, we understand sacrificial love. Any mom I know would run in front of a truck to protect her child without a second thought. But when the day has been long and we are tired, do we snap at our family members? When the hormones swing and life is busy-beyond-belief, do we express affectionate love to our family? I don't know about you, but for me, it is the affectionate love that more readily gets buried under all the sacrificial expressions of love. Yet our witness depends on the whole package!
Verbal Love Matters
For wives, how we love our family is an integral part of our unspoken testimony. But the Titus passage includes some other areas -- specifically what comes out of these mouths of ours! A godly woman is described as a woman who keeps her words in check. Just FYI, I'm definitely still working on this!
When we were newly married, I was reading one of those "good wife" books on the subject of submitting to your husband. I wanted to live and act in accordance with God's Word, but very quickly realized that I was in need of a practical model for this area of life. The author said that one way you can respect your husband is to avoid interrupting him.
I grew up in a house full of chattery girls -- interrupting was not an occasional occurrence but rather a part of regular discourse. When I asked Eric about it, my hubby said he knew I interrupted only out of my excitement about the topic but that he really wished I wouldn't do it in public. Since then I have worked on honoring my husband in this small thing.
Think about the words Paul uses to describe the testimony of a godly wife -- reverent, teaching, encouraging, loving, sensible, pure, kind, subject to husbands and working at home -- all these relate to how we talk! He also mentions not being enslaved to wine -- that pertains to what goes into your mouth. But as far as I am concerned, monitoring what comes out of my mouth is a whole lot tougher that monitoring my drink preferences! Consider, pray and ask your family how your words might need some fine-tuning so that you can be a pure, bright light for the Lord in your family relationships.
Our relationship as married couples reveals God's work in our lives. His love is displayed for the world to see when we act out of it. His grace is lifted up when we forgive one another. Marriage and family are simply the practical, everyday caveats that we get to practice living out the blessings God has poured over our lives. These simple, mundane sorts of actions have deep spiritual significance not only for wives, but for husbands as well.
First Peter 3:7 says, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered" (NASU). An entire book could be written exploring the meaning of wives being the weaker vessel -- but that isn't the entire point here. The focus is how the ordinary task of being a caring, honoring husband has deep spiritual significance because it ties into how God receives your prayers!
As if communicating this concept once in Scripture isn't enough, it is mentioned twice! Malachi 2:13-14 says, "This is another thing you d you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. "Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (NASU). Prayers, worship and offerings can be hindered based on the way husbands interact with their wives!
There are deep, spiritual ties to the simple, daily ways we treat our spouses and family. God designed marriage to have far more significance than our current culture estimates! Call me crazy, but I genuinely believe that if as Christians, we whole-heartedly sought God's face and design in the area of family, that within one generation our world would look like a very different place! If we could all catch the vision of significance that a load of laundry done with the right heart, or a couple getting up early to pray with and for their family everyday might have, our lives and worlds would change! May God grant you His grace to see the significance He has hidden like valuable treasure in the simple journey of being a family.
September 8, 2010
Eric and April Motl serve at their church in Southern California where he is the Teaching Pastor. April is the founder of In His Eyes Ministries- a teaching ministry for women. Visit the website to sign-up the monthly resource give-away  and the free weekly e-devos