Many marriages are dying. More couples are opting for cohabitation and divorce rates are the highest in history. You can find all kinds of modern tips on how to spice up your relationship again but what if we went back to the very beginning of time? Can biblical patriarchs provide ancient keys to successful relationships? You will find there is much to learn from their wisdom.
Adam - Speak hope and future over your spouse.
“Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live.” (Genesis 3:20)
Normally we give our children names, but Adam named his wife. He chose a beautiful name that would embody her destiny - Eve.
When did he give her that lovely name? He gave her that name after the fall. He named her after she completely messed things up for humankind.
What names do you call your spouse when she messes up and irritates you?
Adam could have named her, "Woman who messed things up for everyone," or perhaps, "The one who listened to the serpent." Instead Adam gave his wife a name according to her future. He did not see her according to her mistakes or the issues of her past, but saw her according to God's destiny and plan.
We all make mistakes in marriage. Some of us bigger than others. Forgive the past and choose to forget. Don't bring it up with your spouse whenever you are annoyed, and don't replay scenes over and over in your mind. See your spouse according to the future not the past. See him the way God does, and more than that, say so. Speak greatness, favour and grace over your spouse. Speak life and abundance about her, whether in earshot or not. Speak over him according to the glorious future God has prepared. It is the foundation of a thriving relationship.
Noah - Take your spouse on the journey.
“He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives.” (Genesis 7:7)
Life is busy. Work commitments, sporting clubs, church and more can drag couples apart. And if you aren't careful, marriages drift apart and leave the door open to temptation. So take each other on the journey.
It won't be easy. It will be inconvenient. It will cost money and time. But isn't that better than a divorce?
We live in dark days with temptation and immoral living all around, just like the days of Noah. Don't leave your loved ones behind. Do the journey together.
Abraham - God cares about your marriage and you should too.
“But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, ‘You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!’” (Genesis 20:3)
The story of Abraham and Abimelech tells us God fights for marriage. Abraham should have learned the first time he flippantly gave his wife to another man (Genesis 12:10-20). But God would not let Abimelech mess with their union. God fought for Abraham and Sarah's marriage.
You may read the account of Abraham offering Sarah to Abimelech and believe it archaic and ancient, but how is it different than fearing you will get fired if you don't work overtime or flirt with the boss?
Just as God was prepared to kill Abimelech for taking Sarah as his wife, God will fight passionately for your marriage. And it's about time you did too.
God's reaction to Abimelech was a wake up call to Abraham. May this be a wake up call to you today. Be resolute about your marriage. Stand up for your fidelity. Make tough choices. Isn't your marriage worth dying for?
Leah - Your worth and value are not found in your spouse.
“Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, ‘Now I will praise the Lord!’ And then she stopped having children.” (Genesis 29:35)
Ah, Leah. The ugly stepsister of the Bible. The unwanted wife of Israel. Like every woman she wanted to be loved. She wanted her husband to desire her. Instead she was unappealing and used out of duty.
She tried so very hard to be attractive, if not outwardly, at least inwardly. She honored her husband and treated him with respect. She was kind and hardworking. Yet her husband paid her no mind. His thoughts constantly on her sister, the one who was lovely in every way (Genesis 29:17).
Perhaps children would be her saving grace? Maybe her husband would love her then? But sadly, even her childbearing did not give value in her husband's eye.
And then one day she figured it out. She realised her worth was not tied up in her beauty, intelligence, or childbearing. Leah came to recognize her worth, and all love she could ever need, was found in God. It did not matter that her husband did not love her, God did, and for that, Leah set her heart on praise.
Your spouse cannot satisfy your every need. But he isn't meant to. The only one who can fulfil is the lover of your soul - Father God. Because of His love for you, He has made you worthy. He completes you.
When God is your source of significance, people are attracted to you. People genuinely love you, not because they have to, but because they are drawn to your inner confidence and peace - no longer striving to be what others want, completely comfortable in yourself.
What you may not realize is Israel chose to be buried, not with Rachel, but with Leah. Now I can't prove it, but I believe that at some stage, Israel fell in love with Leah and at the end of his days, she was the woman death would not part him from. He was attracted to her because her worth was found in God, Most High.
Publication date: August 1, 2016