Fulfilling the marriage covenant
Published On December 28, 2013 » 2983 Views» By Administrator Times » Features
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Family Life LogoMARRIAGE being a covenant relationship involving two parties, God and man and his wife: for the covenant marriage to function well, man and his wife should fulfill their part of the covenant.

If they are to enjoy the best part of their marriage relationship they are to faithfully fulfill their God designed roll.

The Bible makes it plain, “And that a man should leave his father and mother, and be forever united to his wife. The two shall become one-no longer two, but one! And no man may divorce what God has joined together” [Matthew 19:5-6].

In different places, the Bible seems to tolerate certain departures from this norm. Many of the central figures of the Old Testament practiced polygamy, including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon.

According to the first Gospel, one of Jesus’ statements on marriage permits divorce only in the case of adultery. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” [Matthew 19:9].

Courts today are awash with cases of adultery where the grieved party opts for divorce in cases where such is proved.

The Bible denounces these other practices much more straight-forwardly. The seventh of the Ten Commandments prohibits adultery, sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse. Exodus 20 vs 14.

In his letters, Paul admonishes Christians to avoid fornication, sexual intercourse between unmarried people” [1 Cor. 6: 18; Ephesians 5: 3].

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination” [Leviticus 18:22].

The Bible goes further to give instructions to both husbands and wives on how they should relate to each other.

“And you husbands show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when He died for her.

That is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves. For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself a favor as loving himself when he loves his wife” [Ephesians 5:25-28].

Husbands should honor their wives. “You husbands must be careful of your wives, being thoughtful of their needs and honoring them as the weaker sex.

Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God’s blessings, and if you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers” [1 Peter 3:7].

To the wives, the Bible gives instructions on how they should relate to their husbands. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything” [Ephesians 5:22-24].

Does this mean that the wife must do all the “give and take”? No! Marriage requires submission by both partners.

The Bible puts this clear for all of us to see the plan of God; “Submitting to one another in the fear of God,” [Ephesians 5:21].

The family can be a place of great happiness; it can also be the scene of terrible conflict and hurt.

Harmonious family life demonstrates the principles of Christianity truly lived out, revealing the character of God.

Unfortunately, the manifestation of these characteristics is altogether too rare in modern homes. Instead, many families demonstrate the thought and intents of the selfish human heart-quarreling, rebelliousness, rivalry, anger, cruelty, and even fighting.

Yet these characteristics were not part of God’s original plan. Jesus said, “From the beginning it was not so (Matt. 19:8).

Through the years, marriage has meant different things to different people. At times, marriage has served the purpose of joining two communities, nations, or groups together (Genesis 34:9, 10, 16).

For some, marriage has been the means of obtaining legal offspring to perpetuate the family name [Genesis 30:3-5].

There are some people who have wedded for material gain, economic security, support or status marriage would provide [Proverbs 31:10-29].

Sexual lust has been another motivation for marriage [Judges 14:2, 3; 2; Samuel 11:2-4]. The need to be dependent upon someone, the need to care for someone, the need to have power over someone, or the need to escape an oppressive situation in one’s family-all have been factors and reasons why others have married.

The two who unite their interests in life will have distinct characteristics and individual responsibilities.

Each one will have his or her word, but women are not to be valued by the amount of work they can do.

The wife is to grace the family circle as a wife and companion to a wise husband. At every step she should inquire, “Is my influence Christ like in my home?”

The husband should let his wife know that he appreciated her work.

The wife should respect her husband. The husband is to love and cherish his wife; and as their marriage vow unites them as one, so their belief in Christ should make them one in Him.

What can be more pleasing to God than to see those who enter into the marriage relation seek together to learn of Jesus and to become more and more imbued with His Spirit?

The question is often asked, “Shall a wife have no will of her own?”

The Bible plainly states that the husband is the head of the family. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” [Ephesians 5:22].

If this injunction ended here, we might say that the position of a wife is not an enviable one, it is a very hard and trying position in very many cases, and it would be better where there few marriages.

Many husbands stop at the words, “Wives, submit to your husbands,” but we will read the conclusion of the same injunction, which is, “As it is fit in the Lord.”

We must have the same spirit of God, or we can never have harmony in the home.

The wife, if she has the spirit of Christ, will be careful of her words; she will control her spirit, she will be submissive, and yet will not feel that she is a slave in the home, but a companion to her husband.

If the husband is a servant of God, he will not lord it over his wife, he will not be arbitrary and exacting.

We cannot cherish home affection with too much care, for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven. If one errs, the other will exercise Christ like forbearance and not draw coldly away.

In married life men and women sometimes act like undisciplined, perverse children. The husband wants his way, and the wife wants her way, and neither is willing to yield. Such a condition of things can bring only the greatest unhappiness.

Both husband and wife should be willing to yield his or her way or opinion. There is no possibility of happiness while they both persist in doing as they please.

Unless men and women learn of Christ, His meekness and lowliness, they will reveal the impulsive, unreasonable spirit so often revealed by children.

The strong, undisciplined will seek to rule. Such ones need to study the words of Paul: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things” [1 Corinthians 13:11].

If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence.

Anything that would mar the peace and unity in the home should be firmly repressed, and kindness and love should be cherished. He who manifests a spirit of tenderness, forbearance, and love will find that the same spirit will be reflected upon him.

Yes, marriage should be viewed as a sacred, permanent, exclusive covenant relationship, witnessed and guaranteed by God Himself.

This covenant relationship is indispensable in counteracting the secularisation of marriage as a temporary social contract.

To counteract this trend, it is essential for Christian to view and accept marriage as a sacred relationship. They should also show a loving concern towards those who have suffered marital disaster [John 4:6-26].

Christian marriages, to be stable and permanent, needs to be built upon the foundation of unconditional, mutual covenant commitment that will not allow anything or anyone to put asunder the marital union established by God.

The husband and wife should accept this Biblical view of marriage as a sacred covenant means to be willing to make total, exclusive, continuing, and growing commitment to our marriage partners. Such commitments are not easy or trouble free.

Just as our covenantal commitment to God requires obedience to the principles embodied in the Ten Commandments, so, our covenantal commitment to our marriage partner’s demands obedience to the principles of the Ten Commandments which are applicable to our marriage relationships.

There is no other way to enter into the joys of Christian marriage than by assuming its covenantal obligations.

When we commit ourselves to honour our marriage covenants of mutual faithfulness “till death do us part,” then we experience how God is able mysteriously to unite two lives into “one flesh.” Honouring our marriage covenant is fundamental to the stability of our family, Church and society at large.

For comments; Email: brysonkatele@yahoo.com

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