Two Steps to a Perfect Marriage
This is Day 8 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
An entire industry exists to sell us advice on improving our marriages. There are books, videos, even apps for our smart phones that claim to help us improve our marriages. But the Bible already lays out the keys to a perfect union in very simple to follow instructions. In fact it takes just two steps--one for the wife and one for the husband. But as we will see the steps aren't easy to do and the reason they are not easy is because our pride often prevents us from doing them. And though this formula will lead couples to the perfect marriage, due to pride few are willing to follow it.
Step One: The Wife
Paul instructs wives to "submit to your husbands as to the Lord." (Eph. 5:22). Peter instructs wives that they should obey their husbands "even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord." (1 Peter 3:6). So the first step to a perfect marriage is for the wife to consider her husband as her lord and submit to him and obey him. This is hard for wives, especially in today's climate when a woman submitting to a man is considered extremely offensive. However, for a perfect marriage to work, wives must humble themselves and submit.
Step Two: The Husband
Paul instructs husbands to "love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Eph. 5:25). How did Christ love the church? Did he demand that she serve Him and wash his feet? To the contrary, Christ "came not to be served but to serve..." (Matt. 20:28). Christ, though the master got down on His knees and washed His servant's feet. For "whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave." (Matt. 20:27). Christ came to Earth and took the form of a servant, giving everything, even His own life, for His bride the Church. So the second step to a perfect marriage is for the husband to consider himself not his wife's master, but her slave. This runs contrary to the nature of most men and will be difficult. However, for a perfect marriage to work, husbands must humble themselves and serve their wives.
This is so simple, yet genius. If a wife submits to her husband, considering him her lord and master, and a husband considers himself his wife's slave, even to the point of humbling himself on his knees to wash her feet, the two will have a perfect marriage. When each spouse puts the needs of the other first and seeks to lift the other up above himself or herself there will be no strife. It is when we put our own selfish desires above those of our spouse that our marriages struggle.
Lord, I pray that you will humble my heart so that I might think of myself as a servant and not a master. Guide my decisions and the decisions of my spouse so that we are always of one mind doing Your holy will.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.