As we begin to transition from understanding the causes of trouble in the marriage to how we should engage those issues to repair troubled marriages, I wanted to take just a brief moment to address the importance of understanding God’s design; for the individual and the marriage.

As we move forward in this series, I am certain that there will be a number of single individuals that will read these articles. It is important to understand that although you are not married at this point in time, these principles will help you prepare yourself to be a positive contributor to your marriage.

For those of you that may be tuning into this series for the first time, let’s take a look at the foundation of what will be predominate in the teachings that are revealed throughout this series. Those who are familiar with me understand that I am an inexorable advocate of searching God’s Word for the answers to the enigmatic issues that present themselves in every area of life. I believe that the falling away from God’s Word has opened the gateway for secular and cultural paradigms to infiltrate the thinking of believers. The marriage is no different. So, when I introduce different principles and values, I view them as truth because God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17)

 

22 Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.

23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.

24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,

27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].

28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,

30 Because we are members (parts) of His body.

31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. (D)

32 This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church.

33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].(E) (Eph. 5:22-33, AMP)

 

The above scriptural passage will lay the foundation for understanding God’s design and desire for the institution of marriage. It will also provide elucidation of the individual design of male and female. Obviously, we will use numerous scriptures in the process of developing an overall understanding of our design and what that design means in relationship to our purpose.

The aforementioned scriptural passage is one of the most misunderstood and controversial in the Bible, yet it holds the answer to a great deal of the issues that plague so many marriages in today’s culture.

 

The Specificity of Design

 

The great thing about understanding the concept of design is that we are introduced to the concept of specificity. Design points to purpose. When you understand the design of something you gain a knowledge of its ultimate purpose. Design is not only indicative of purpose, but function. When you study and understand the design of something it reveals its proper function. Have you ever attempted to use something that was designed for one particular function for a task it was not designed for? Maybe you used a shoe as a hammer or knife as a screwdriver. Maybe you attempted to turn a towel into a mop. This list of misuses could be non-exhaustive. The point that I want to make here is that even if you are able to use something outside of its design, the results you produce will not achieve the optimal results that the proper instrument for that task will produce, and furthermore, the tool that you are using is not reaching the potential of its design and thereby not actualizing its full potential in the way of usefulness.

 

God designed each of us with a particular purpose in mind. At this moment, it is not my desire to address individual purpose and design as much as gender specific purpose and design. Let’s take a look at another scriptural passage that will help shed light on this topic.

 

27 God created man (AH) in His own image, in the image of God He created him; (AI) male and female He created them. (Gen. 1:27, NASB)

This verse reveals that God created man and woman, but it also makes a distinction between the two. You have to be careful in studying scripture to keep things in the proper context. The verse says, “God created man…” In this instance the term “man” is universally applied to both, the male and female persuasion of the species. Next we see that God created man in His own image (as a reflection and representation of Himself). God would eventually use certain men to reveal Himself to all of humanity. Lastly, we find that he created two distinct species; male and female. The distinction immediately introduces the uniqueness in function in particular areas.

 

As we move through this study we will find that there is a distinct difference in design between men and women and that understanding each design allows us to engage one another more effectively. We will find that when we grasp the fact that we are wired differently than our spouses, it will set us up to break the communication code. Deciphering the communication code is key to navigating the labyrinthine corridors of marriage.

 

Deviation from Design

 

As stated earlier, when design is spurned and we move away from functioning in our design, the effectiveness at which we function declines. I believe one of the reasons that society as a whole is in the state of turmoil that we find it now is because men have abdicated their God-ordained roles as leaders, providers, protectors, and coverings. We have drifted into the realm of narcissism; completely consumed with self. We have found it to be an acceptable course of action to procreate and then abandon our progeny. We have left women to carry out duties that we were design and commissioned to carry out. If we, as men, don’t reassume our roles, society will continue its decline. As leaders we must own up to our failure and rise to the occasion.

 

As men have fallen away they have drafted women into the voids that they have left behind. Women have done their best to adapt to their new dual roles in the home and in society; however, they were not designed for these roles and the strain of functioning out of their design has drained them of a great deal of their functional power.

 

Even in the marriage where the man is still in the home, too often the women is carrying a disproportionate amount of the burden. She is the nurturer and the disciplinarian for the kids. She is at least sharing the financial burden, but receiving no help at home. There has to be a paradigmatic shift which will subsequently create a shift in the home dynamic. We all must become aware of our design and purpose and strive to function optimally within them.

 

You may be asking, why so much talk about design? The answer is, Ephesians 5:22-33 addresses the failure of both men and women to operate within their designed function and ordained purpose within the marriage.  Husbands were failing in their design as leaders, primarily by not demonstrating love for their wives. They were not honoring their wives through sacrifice and commitment. On the other hand, wives were failing in their design by not submitting to the God ordained authority of their husbands. They were failing to respect the position of authority given to the husband by God.

 

The important thing to note here is that the command for the husband to love and the wife to submit or respect is not conditional. There are no conditional clauses within this passage. The command is definite. The husband is to love the wife irregardless to whether he perceives that she is carrying out her responsibilities or not. In the same way, the wife is to respect her husband whether she feels he deserves her respect or not. I have covered this concept in previous postings and will cover it in detail as we move forward.

 

A great deal of what will be covered addresses the marriage from a perspective of two people that are trying their best to improve their marriage, but they are meeting challenges. We will also delve into some areas in which your house was not meant to be a home. When you have become entangled with someone that God never intended. When you have acquired your mate through illegitimate means (i.e. extra marital affairs, etc.). It is my objective to present you with a biblical foundation that will support, define and develop your marriage. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

 

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