HAPPY EVER AFTER Col. 3:17-19 Do you remember the fairy-tales where the handsome prince would find the beautiful maiden in distress and courageously rescue her? They would then ride off somewhere to be married and to live happily ever after. The trouble is, the story never checks back with them after the honeymoon. Some of them didn't live happily ever after no doubt. At least in real life they don't. There are no fairy-tale marriages. A happy marriage doesn't just happen because two people love each other. It is something that is built through much hard work on the part of both. God intends for marriage to produce happiness and bliss. However, sometimes this is not the case. Instead there is discord and strife. Hearts are torn apart and much suffering results. Why does this happen? The answer is that one or both are disobeying God. God intends for us to enjoy marriage, and He has given us careful instruction on how to do just that. He has given us two basic elements for a happy marriage. If these are present and in their proper place there will be harmony. There will be bliss, and there will be joy in the marriage. Those elements are submission and love (Eph. 5:22, 25; Col. 3:18, 19; I Pet. 3:1, 7). Notice that each time they are in the same order. That is important. Which comes first? The wife sometimes will say that if the husband will love her the way he should, she will have no difficulty in submitting to him. That sounds good. It even sounds right, but it isn't. God always loves us the way He should. Do we have difficulty in submitting to Him? Can we enjoy the fulness of His love without submitting? Why is submission so important? Submission recognizes God's authority. For the marriage to be what God intends it to be, each has two choices that must be made. The first choice is the same for each. Both are to choose to submit fully to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then each must choose to obey the Lord’s command to them. The wife is to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord” or “as it is fit in the Lord.” The husband is to love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” and “be not bitter against [her].” Consider these two commands. I. SUBMISSION (Eph. 5:22-24) In the marriage relationship God has delegated some of His authority to the husband. He then commands the wife to submit to that authority. It is God's authority; therefore, submission to her husband is submission to the Lord. Rebellion against her husband is rebellion against the Lord. The older women, especially mothers, are to teach this to the younger women, especially their daughters (Titus 2:3-5). “Obedient to their own husbands” means to put under, be subject to, submit (one's) self to.” It is a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” The husband is the head of his home. He is responsible to see that his marriage works, and that his home is successful and serves the Lord. He is responsible to see that his children are taught in the ways of the Lord and are won to Christ. He is responsible to see that his wife knows the Scriptures. He is to lead his home by love. However, for the home to truly be successful and the husband-wife relationship joyful, the wife must allow her husband to be the head and she must follow his leadership. To do this, she must choose to submit to her husband. A. The fact of submission (I Cor. 11:3) Many women do not want to accept the God given teaching, or yield in daily life to God's will, but herein lies her strength and beauty spiritually. Subjection is in God's plan and purpose and is the divine key to any woman's happy, faithful, successful wifehood. This is not an isolated truth. It is repeated many times. 1. It is seen in creation (Gen. 2:18; I Cor. 11:8-9). 2. It is declared in the curse (Gen. 3:16). 3. It is commanded by the Lord. B. The nature of submission 1. It is spiritual as unto the Lord (Eph. 5:21-22). a. It is part of her overall spiritual walk (Eph. 5:15-18). b. It is part of her obedience to the Lord. 2. It is complementary to her husband's headship. a. She is an “help meet”- a completer to her husband. b. She enables him to fulfill his role as head. 3. It is joyful and fulfilling to her own life. a. It does not bring sorrow. b. It places responsibility on the husband where God intended. 4. It is safety for her and her family. a. It insures God's protection for her personal life. b. It insures God's protection of her marriage and family. C. The extent of submission 1. It is to her “own husband” (Col. 3:18). 2. It is as “it is fit in the Lord”. It is not a blind obedience. It does not require her to sin against God. 3. It is “as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). a. The husband has delegated authority from God. b. The husband will answer to God for each decision. 4. It is “in every thing” (Eph. 5:24). The husband can fulfill his role to the extent that the wife respects and honors him. This gives the children the example to do likewise. The children's obedience will be in proportion to the wife's submission to her husband. In everything the wife is to be in submission. The husband and wife should discuss all important decisions and pray together over them. The wise loving husband will ask her opinion and insights, but in the final decision he is to act. He is responsible to do what God tells him. He may delegate authority and leadership to the wife, but he is responsible for all decisions. D. The purpose of submission 1. To glorify God and illustrate the relation of Christ and the Church (I Cor. 10:31; Eph 5:24) The highest pattern in all the world of the home is Christ and the Church. The wife is to submit like we submit to the Lordship of Christ. Such submission is a lovely, beautiful thing that brings beauty of character and causes the husband to fall in love fully with his sweet yielding wife. 2. To reflect her true beauty and influence her husband and home (I Pet. 3:1-6) 3. To avoid tragic personal loss a. The loss of happiness. b. The loss of respect and love from a loyal husband The man’s greatest and deepest need is approval from his wife. Much of this need is met by the wife’s willing submission to his leadership. For a woman to have her own way does not make the home happy. When trust and respect are gone and the husband's leadership is rejected and thwarted, he will give up. The wife will find herself out in the cold. She will find him giving her all the direction of the home, the children, the money, etc. The children lose the correct father image. The wife will soon despise her man. 4. To prevent the word of God from being blasphemed (Titus 2:5) a. To speak reproachfully, to speak evil of, rail at, revile, calumniate, b. To be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at. Submission is a matter of your personal choice. God does not force it and the husband cannot force it. It must be willingly given. There is no substitute for a life given over to Jesus Christ. A godly Christian wife is one who has gotten off the throne of her own life and let Jesus Christ reign there. She has learned what it means to be submissive. II. LOVE (Eph. 5:25-31) It is a sacrificing love (Eph. 5:25); It is a sanctifying love (Eph. 5:26-27); It is a protecting love (Eph.5:28); It is a providing love (Eph. 5:29); It is an exclusive love (Eph. 5:31). “If a couple has been married for more than five years, any persistent disharmony in their marriage relationship is usually attributable to the husband's lack of understanding and applying genuine love.” (Gary Smalley) What is this love? A. This is not romantic feeling or physical attraction. 1. These can increase and decrease. 2. These are subject to likes and dislikes. 3. These are often driven by lust which is selfish. B. This is an act of the will. 1. You choose to love her when you do not feel romantic. 2. You choose to love her when you do not like what she is doing. C. This is freely giving everything she needs (Security). D. This is the key to a happy marriage (I Cor. 13:4-8). 1. Longsuffering 2. Kind- (Considerate) 3. Envieth not- (Not covetous) 4. Vaunteth not itself- (Not boastful) 5. Is not puffed up- (Not arrogant or overbearing) 6. Doth not behave itself unseemly- (Improper or indecent). 7. Seeketh not her own- (Unselfish.) 8. Not easily provoked- (Not easily angered or quarrelsome.) 9. Thinketh no evil- (Does not keep a list of offenses.) 10. Rejoiceth not in iniquity- (Find no satisfaction in sin.) 11. Rejoiceth in the truth- (Satisfied only with righteousness) 12. Beareth all things- (Supports its load and protects whatever is underneath.) 13. Believeth all things- (Gives the benefit of the doubt until the truth is fully known.) 14. Hopeth all things- (Expects the best.) 15. Endureth all things- (Knows that all things work together for good to them that love God.) 16. Never faileth- (Never ceases to be active.) The wife responds to love. She is designed by God to be a responder. Her greatest need is security in love. What wife would not respond to a godly husband's love? What wife, dearly loved, would not find that submission to such love is sweet and precious? What husband will not find a blessedness in this kind of relationship? Submission and love are not suggestions to be considered but rather commandments to be obeyed.
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