LAWS regulate marital happiness! Many of God's people are not living as happily as God intended! Here's how to overcome marital unhappiness!
YOU are at fault — and I am not going to budge one inch until YOU repent, and say you're sorry!" "No — YOU started it all," is the quick retort, "and YOU will have to repent FIRST!" Could this be your home?
What's Wrong Here?
Almighty God "invented" marriage. Therefore, God had the right and the prerogative to "regulate" marriage! In the beginning, God set down certain laws which, if they were obeyed, would result in happy, scintillating, interesting, full lives — the true abundance which all mankind is seeking, but in vain. God, the originator of GOVERNMENT, has also established a government in the home! It is because of a lack of understanding of how this government works that many of God's people are not experiencing the happiness in marriage they really desire. Some of you have already come to understand the organization in the home. You KNOW that the husband is to be the one in charge, the wife is to be obedient to the husband, and the children under their parents, and so on. But do you know how it works? Yes — what's WRONG with an argument such as the one described? WHO is really in the wrong?
The Husband's Obligation
First, let's notice that God said, through the Apostle Paul "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God." He went on to say "For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man!" (I Cor. 11:3, 8-9) Later, in writing his letter to the Church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul was inspired to say "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the HEAD of the wife, even as Christ is 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 to their own husbands in everything!" (Eph. 5:22-24) Notice the words "even as." The one distinguishing DIFFERENCE between this Church and all other is its OBEDIENCE to Christ! And, notice, God commands that the husband is to be the head of the wife, EVEN AS Christ is the head of the Church! Most of you women have thought these verses were all aimed at YOU! But they are not! While they are commands with regard to the status of the wife in the marriage — they are aimed directly at the man! God holds the man RESPONSIBLE! God is pointing these commands directly to the man, who is to BE the head! He is not the head merely because the wife "lets him" be the head — or because she accepts this as a "doctrine" and then belligerently says "All right, I'll 'go along' with it." For instance, in a study appearing in one of the major weekly news magazines some years ago, a very respected judge, Samuel S. Leibowitz of the Kings County Court in Brooklyn, reported on a study he made in Italy. He found, in traveling all over Europe and in Italy, that the Italian home is one that seemingly has more government, and, as a result, the Italian society has less juvenile delinquency than any other country he had entered. He summed up his full experiences by saying America's delinquency problem could be solved in nine words. The nine words were, "Put father back at the head of the home!" TRUE — in a way! But the very fact that he worded it in this way proves that some other power, some other source, some other person must do the "putting"! Even this, then, is a sad admission of the upside-down condition of most American homes today. God wants the members of His Church to know that the wife is not the one to "put" her husband at the head of the home — but the husband is the one to put himself there!
A Wife's Responsibilities
Paul also wrote "Wives, SUBMIT yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord" (Col. 3:18). But what if the husband is not "in the Lord?" Is the wife STILL to submit to him? We are told by the inspired Apostle Peter that we ought to "obey God rather than man!" That is, where the higher government and laws of God conflict with the lower powers and government of man, we are to obey God first, and then take whatever penalty man may wish to mete out. However, let's assume a hypothetical situation: the husband is converted, though, like all of us, still has a lot of carnal traits and tendencies. The wife is also converted. The husband, through forgetfulness, carelessness, or through sheer carnal selfishness, tries the wife's patience almost beyond endurance by some of his habits or ways. The wife then decides that the husband is not acting "as it is fit in the Lord!" And therefore, begins to automatically assume that she does not have to respect, to obey, to SUBMIT herself unto him! Wives assume that the very second their husbands evidence the slightest bit of carnality in their nature and their handling of the wives and homes, that this gives automatic and immediate permission for the WIFE to begin to berate the husband, to argue with him, to snap out at him his faults, and to begin to "wear the pants!" This is simply NOT TRUE! Notice it! The Apostle Paul also described a home where one member is totally unconverted, and not even a member of the Church! "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord [that is, he was not quoting a personal statement of Christ] if any brother have a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which has an husband that believes not, if he be pleased, to dwell with her, LET HER NOT LEAVE HIM! For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband — else were your children unclean, but now are they holy" (I Cor. 7:12-14). Yes, "unfair" as it may sound to some women, and especially those who still have a great carnal tendency, God says that even if the husband is totally CARNAL — makes no "pretense" at being religious one way or the other, smokes, drinks, and curses, but if he is "pleased to dwell with her" and if he is a husband providing for her and supporting her, and wants to keep on living with her as his wife — she is COMMANDED on the authority of the sacred Word of God, to HONOR him, to REVERENCE him, to be humble and submissive to him, and NOT to leave him! Rather, she is to be subject to him IN EVERYTHING — so long as his commands do not directly conflict with the higher commands of God!
Let's Answer These Questions!
Husbands, do all of you LITERALLY, diligently, faithfully, and honestly before God, treat your wives with the same care, mercy, love, consideration and dutiful solicitation for their welfare — just AS Christ does the Church? Do you care for them, protect them, provide for them, LOVE them (and love means an outgoing concern) in the way you know Christ does His Church? The chances are — all of you men will have to unanimously say you fall short in this! And you wives — do every ONE of you absolutely HONOR, respect, hold your husbands in high esteem and even a little bit of "AWE"? Do you look upon them, and treat them with the deference and respect as you might Jesus Christ Himself in the flesh? Are you so concerned with the inspiration, the help, the productivity, the growth of your husband that you are a constant help, a strong and stable companion, a daily inspiration to him? Do you stand in abject FEAR of berating him, scolding him, nagging at him, in the same way you would FEAR to do such a thing to God Almighty Himself? Pretty strong questions, aren't they? No, every single one of us certainly falls short in these things! But we shouldn't!
A Formula for Love
KNOWING the government in the home — agreeing with it — as I'm sure all of you do, is not enough! You must know how you should put it into effect! First, let me give you the usual procedure when a "family argument" develops. Usually, one party or the other has done something that is selfish, thoughtless, inconsiderate, or even deliberately wrong! Immediately the other party, regardless of which sex, will begin to berate, nag at, scold and condemn the actions of the other! This condemnation and scolding only leads to further condemnation and scolding, with an attempt at self-justification on the part of the other partner — and this leads to a chain reaction on the part of the opposite partner — and so it goes. To illustrate: "John" has had a long day at the office. Thoughtlessly, he neglected to call his wife when he stayed later with some friends, and the dinner got cold. "Mary" had had her hands full with the children, scorched her finger with the iron, had the soup boil over and burn on the element of the stove, and has seen her dinner get cold, on top of it all. When John comes home, Mary begins immediately, in a shrill and venomous manner, to berate him saying, "WELL! It's about TIME you got home! You could have at least called me! Here I am, burdened down with the children etc., etc." John stands there — taking it all in — coming to a slow boil! He reasons in his own mind "Here I am slaving at the office, bringing home the living, trying to provide for my wife, and instead of a comforting pat on the shoulder, a meal that she could have kept warm for me, and a comfortable atmosphere, I come home to THIS!" And so, instead of apologizing for his being late, and then taking the situation in hand, he begins to snap back at Mary — and a full-fledged family argument is under way! What SHOULD they have done? John should have immediately taken charge! He should have begun by APOLOGIZING for his misdemeanor — believe it or not! He should have said "Dear, I'm awfully sorry I forgot to call you — it was sheer negligence on my part, and I'll try to remember not to do it again — BUT" and then John should begin to show that REGARDLESS as to any wrong action, thoughtlessness, negligence, or even out and out deliberate SIN on his part — that "two wrongs never make a right!" Even though he should be WILLING to admit his mistake and his error, and to sincerely and lovingly apologize for it — he should take charge, and remind his wife that she, too, is guilty of a sin! He should say, "Come here!" and go to their sofa, and sit down, and open up his Bible — reading through some of the scriptures on husband and wife relationships; if he would then begin by explaining that he is often at fault — that he does make mistakes — and that he does not want to attempt to JUSTIFY those mistakes. But then he should also remind the wife of her responsibilities, and he should remind her that even if he were a drinking, smoking, swearing, poor excuse for a husband, who is not even making the slightest attempt to live a Christian life, she would have to obey him — regardless! He should show the wife patiently and lovingly, that he is NONE of these things, that he IS trying, but that he does make mistakes! Then, after going through a thorough Bible study in the subject — after admitting his sins, and having his wife acknowledge hers, he should kneel down and lead in family prayer! He should begin by asking God's forgiveness for his own sins, for his thoughtlessness or his carelessness — and then he should ask God's forgiveness for the error of his wife! He should pray for their mutual understanding, that God will help them both to draw together, closer, in real love and harmony so they can serve Him! He should remind himself and his wife in their prayer to God that their heavenly Father is NOT the author of confusion, but of PEACE. He should pray from the heart, and really MEAN it! Brethren, as a minister of Jesus Christ, I FULLY GUARANTEE that if you husbands and wives will DILIGENTLY follow this practice, never failing to settle these problems in God's prescribed way — you will begin to experience greater happiness and joy in your married lives than you ever did before!
Time Is Short
When you are shaken to the very roots of your "soul" or your very being by the DEATH of a loved one, you begin to think soberly and seriously, don't you? Usually, there's a great deal of remorse connected with the sorrow — because you realize you SHOULD have shown MORE LOVE, spent more of your time with the person, showed more interest in the person, and you begin to think of the MANY things you SHOULD have done to make the person happier while he was alive! But it's already too late! So far as your departed loved one is concerned — your shed tears and remorse are totally worthless and useless at this time! Isn't it FAR BETTER to show LOVE right here and now? In just a few short years, this whole, rotten world is going to be totally changed and altered, and made right side up. IF we are living lives of overcoming, really growing in grace and in knowledge, God is going to use us to help change it! Husbands, how long has it been since you bought your wife a bouquet of flowers, took her to dinner, bought her a personal gift, or told her how beautiful, lovely, attractive and sweet she is to you? Wives, how long has it been — if ever, that you told your husbands how much you admire, respect, love and appreciate him? IF you really DO LOVE one another — NOW is the time to show it!