1 + 1 = 1

It’s bad math, but it’s good marriage.

“… a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one…” (Ephesians 5:31).

When God brings two people into a marriage covenant, the two become one. This doesn’t mean that they always see eye-to-eye. It takes a lifetime of working together to make a marriage work.

I have been married for 38 years and I’m still discovering how hard it is to understand my wife. I am sure she could say the same thing about me. Too many times Judy just shakes her head. I don’t think it’s because she understands me. She just knows me. 

The fact is, it doesn’t take very long for a couple to realize that becoming one is difficult. If God didn’t give us some help in this relationship, we would be in some hot water! And a lot of people are, because they haven’t turned to God for help. I preached a message recently about how to find harmony in your marriage relationship from Ephesians 5:18-31. Below are five principles.   

1) Be Controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

The issue isn’t how much of the Holy Spirit do you have, but how much does the Holy Spirit have of you! The idea here is not just being Spirit-filled. It’s about being controlled by the Spirit of God. Paul compares the term “filled” with the word, “drunk.” To be drunk means more than to drink–more than to “fill-up.” To be drunk is to be under the control and influence of alcohol. To be filled with the Spirit means, letting the Spirit of God lead you, empower you, and control you. Allow Him to influence you, completely, continually! Something is going to control you! Make sure you let the Holy Spirit of God be the One!

2) Speak to one another with kindness (Ephesians 5:19-20)

When a person is Spirit-controlled, he/she will have a conversation and a communication that is God-honoring to those closest to them.  This especially includes your spouse! If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you “speak” to each other in song. You will be positive, uplifting, communicating, joyful to those around you! God is talking about constructively communicating to one another. “Speaking” not yelling! One of the top causes to a breakdown in a marriage relationship is the lack of communication or negative communication. (see also Ephesians 4:29). With our day of television and computers, communication is one of the first things to go in a relationship!

3) Submit to each other (Ephesians 5:21-23)

Scripture says when we’re controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will have mutual submission within the home! Our first submission is to be to Jesus Christ! For the Christian, the primary relationship in life is to the Lord Jesus! Submission in marriage, is an act of respect for Jesus Christ, not an issue of rights or privileges or “top dog” status. You are yielding to Christ, first! Submission is a military term that means to line up under the authority of. This isn’t an abusive authority, but a gracious working together. It’s a spirit of reasonable sweetness in both the heart of the wife and the husband. The key is humility!

4) Sacrifice for each other (Ephesians 5:24-27)

Once again we must look to the example of Jesus for His bride–for His own body. Both are illustrated here to be an example of marital relationships. It’s up to BOTH partners in marriage to give & sacrifice! The attitude is that of Christ who gave His all for us! We should sacrifice our needs and wants for the those of others

5) Serve unselfishly (Ephesians 5:28-31)

Yet, any sacrifice we make for our spouse will come back to us. We are to “nourish and cherish” one another as our own body.  Nourish is to care for, provide sustenance (physical and spiritual) necessary for life.  Cherish is to treat with affection and tenderness; to hold dear.  The idea here is to be like Jesus and seek to serve, not be served! Care more for the other person than you care about yourself! To love, honor & cherish means you want to make that other person’s life better!

We have constant reminders all around us of marriages that have disintegrated!  But we also have a constant reminder that, if heeded, holds the secret to a successful marriage. Every area of our life, including our marriage, can be helped by the application of the Bible’s truth!