Since this is a different Friday, I suppose I should go on with a different topic. Today (and everyday) I am thankful for the institution of marriage, and the commands God gives to husbands and wives.
For the last 16 months I have been married to an amazing Christian man. While Robert is a great person, and would no doubt be very loving and nice according to worldly standards, it is only because of his love for God that our marriage is as wonderful and blissful as it is. Because we both strive to put God first, our relationship with each other has been blessed. Paul instructed the Ephesians in this way:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." (vs 22-29)Because the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write these words, we can know and experience Godly marriages. Had the Holy Spirit not inspired these words, I may not be in a marriage where my husband cherishes me and protects me. I may not be in a marriage where my husband will give himself for me, and love me as much as he loves himself--really, as an extension of himself. And, were we not guided, I might not want to submit to my husband or respect my husband like I do. I may have trust issues or feel bad about myself---like I had to compete with other women or the internet or other perverse things that our world sets before men's eyes.
Instead, we do have these beautiful, inspired words to live by, thus ensuring that Christians can have wonderful marriages. I have been so blessed to have someone whose main focus within our relationship is to help me get to heaven, and I am thankful for my sweet husband every single day.
A few weeks ago, I was teaching the teenage girls and we were talking about dating. I asked the girls to think about the boys they were dating/wanted to date and think about the characteristics they possessed. Then I asked them to look at the text from Ephesians and think about these questions: Does my boyfriend treat me as well as he treats himself? Does he try to present me as pure and holy, without spot or wrinkle? Would he be a good head to my body? Does he respect my body? Does he nourish and cherish me?
I could tell that some of the answers to those questions were no, and it made me sad. It also made me reminiscent. I dated a few boys who didn't treat me that way. I wasn't cherished, respected, or guarded. When I met Robert, I knew that he was different--and the difference that was inside of him was Christ.
My life wouldn't be filled with nearly as much joy if I weren't married to Robert. And, had God not set up boundaries and given us instruction on how to treat our spouses, I doubt we'd be as happy as we are. I am so thankful that God has given me a man whose heart wants to be like Jesus, and that He gave us the institution of marriage (and the aforementioned guidelines) so that we can have someone urge us along on the straight and narrow as we walk this earthly sojourn.
**As a special note, one of my great friends and a preacher that I greatly respect has written a blog post today about marriage, and it is an interesting, thought-provoking, and wonderful read. Take some time to visit it here.