With all the books, videos, and conferences out there to equip couples on how to have a great marriage, sometimes it can feel like information overload. Pastor Chuck Smith answers the question "How do I have a happy marriage?" by boiling it down to two simple rules: one for the husband and one for the wife. Having a great marriage doesn't get easier than that! Love it!
Two Rules for a Happy Marriage
by Pastor Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife (Eph 5:22-23),
The word head meaning authority there.
even as Christ is [the authority or] the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in every thing (Eph 5:23-24).
This is the one rule for marriage that God has given to the wife, only one. It should be simple enough for her to keep the one rule. Why would you suppose that God would make such a rule? Because God understands men. God knows that in man there is that male macho image. That somehow a man needs to feel that he is in control, that he is able, that he can handle the situation, that he is boss. I mean, that is just a part of the male ego. God, understanding the male ego and man's needs, gave to the wife the one rule by which her husband can feel that he is really the man of the house and in control and thus be very compatible and loving towards her.
So he gave the women one simple rule, which, if she would follow, would make her husband a very responsible, loving person, easy to get along with. God gave one rule to the husbands, just one. God knows we are prone to forget, so just one rule for each.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it (Eph 5:25);
Now, why would God command the husbands to love their wives so totally and supremely? Because God understands women. God understands the needs in women, and He understands that one of the greatest needs that a woman has is to feel the security that she is loved supremely by her husband. That there is no one else that can attract his eye, or attract his attention, that she is queen, and that she is loved supremely. She needs that. So God commanded the husbands to fulfill that need in the woman so that she could feel the security of her husband's love, knowing I am number one in his life.
All marital problems stem out of the disobedience of these two rules. There are only two rules for a happy marriage; one for the husband, one for the wife. But marriages get in trouble because these rules are broken, and when they are broken they begin to compound. When the husband fails to show his wife that kind of love that Christ had for the church, and she begins to feel insecure, and, "I don't know if he really loves me or not," she then feels the necessity of beginning to protect herself, because, "I don't know if he is going to protect me or not." She begins to challenge the decisions that he makes. "Are you sure you are doing the right thing?" But as she begins to challenge the decisions that he makes, that upsets him because that means he is not the boss and supreme. "You ought to know . . . " And so as she begins to challenge his decision-making processes, he begins to feel that he is being challenged and, "I must now show that I am boss by becoming tough and hard and cold and unresponsive." As he becomes tough and unresponsive, she gets all the more insecure, so she challenges him all the more. You know, "I don't know if this character really loves me or not. I don't think what he is planning to do is that smart. If we lose everything he is probably going to walk out himself, because I am not really assured that he really loves me," and so she is challenging, but this challenging has a reverse affect upon him, causing him to become cold and aloof and, "I will show you I am boss." So the marriage is torn apart.
On the other hand, as the wife is submitting unto him and to his decisions, "Honey, I will just leave that with you, you are the one that takes care of that. I am just trusting you." He gets the feeling, "Oh, this precious little doll. I don't know if I am doing right or not, but oh boy, she trusts me and all right." And he begins to feel that, "Oh, you are a sweetheart, come here, Honey." And he hugs her and, "You are just a doll, and I love you, Angel." And he feels the freedom of expressing and showing his love to her. The more he expresses and shows that love to her, the more secure she feels. She doesn't feel that she has to challenge his decisions. "That was a dumb move, we will lose everything, but I still have him and he loves me, and after all, we can get by. We have love." She feels that security of love and thus she feels the freedom of submitting to him. And because she does submit, he feels that total freedom of expressing that love that he has for her. And it just gets gooder and gooder as we are following the rules.
But you see it has a way of compounding. You start going one way, and it starts building up to drive you farther and farther apart. And so if you find yourself way out here in your marriage, you know, where every decision is challenged, "Why are you wearing that shirt this morning? Are you sure you want to wear that tie? If I was you I would wear a different pair of shoes." You know, you may even agree with what he wants to do, but still you are going to challenge it. "I think I will take you out for dinner tonight, Honey." "Oh, I don't know if I want to go for dinner or not." You challenge it, don't let him get by making a decision.
Now, somewhere someone has to give. You have to break this routine that is driving you and tearing you apart. You have got to break the routine and someone has to give in. The husband has to begin to show more love to his wife. He has to cause her to really feel secure in that love. He has got to go ahead and just express his love, let her know that there is no one else and there will never be anyone else, that she is it for life, till death do us part, and he has no intention or desire for anybody else, she is it. As she begins to feel that security, then she will be able to be freer to allow him to do those things that he feels that he ought to do or wants to do. And you can get the thing going the other direction until it becomes heaven on earth, as we are following now God's rules which takes into consideration the basic need of the husband as a man, and the basic need of the wife as a woman.
God is so smart. He has it all set out. And He puts it so simply, rather than, "Here are the fifty-five rules for a happy marriage." He knows you'd forget them. So He gives you one, but even we have difficulty with the one, don't we? We forget so readily. "She ought to know I love her, I come home for dinner, after all." You know, there is something interesting about women, of course, that is why we are attracted to them. But I really don't think that you can tell your wife enough times that you love her. If when she first opens her eyes in the morning and you look over and you see her in bed, and you say, "Oh, Darling, you are beautiful. I love you." Then as you are sitting across from her at the breakfast table and you just look into her eyes and say, "Sweetheart, I love you so much." Then as you kiss her goodbye and head off for work and you say, "I love you, Honey. See you later." Two or three times during the day you call up and she says, "Hi, what do you want?" "Oh, I just wanted to tell you, Honey, I love you, and I think you are great." Believe me, when you go to bed at night, you are going to hear the question, "Honey, do you love me?" Take a hint, fellows, they need assurance of love. Not just verbal. Love is demonstrated in its actions and love is demonstrated in its giving. Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Giving of yourself to her, showing your love in your giving yourself to her. The rules for a happy home.
Smith, Chuck. "Ephesians 5-6," C2000 Series. The Word for Today. Blue Letter Bible. 7 Aug 2005. 12 May 2008.
Going deeper in God's Word
1. Check out what the Greek word for submit means.
2. What does Colossians 3:18 say about wives submitting to their husbands?
3. What does James teach is the reason for fights and quarrels? How should we respond?
4. If you need wisdom regarding your marriage or your spouse where should you start?
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Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.