Your Marriage Can Be Redeemed
God wants your marriage to be beautiful. Not convinced? Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 are all about how God wants your marriage to be a beautiful as possible! We actually see 10 ways that God wants to infuse your marriage with beauty in Colossians 3.
Let’s start with 5 ways in verse 12: Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. So the first this we see is COMPASSION. God wants us to be compassionate spouses. The word here talks about the deep parts of your stomach, like as deeply as your emotions can be felt. Like how I saw Avengers with 2 other dudes and at the end I felt like crying deep in me but my face was stone. It’s at the deepest emotional level that God wants us to be compassionate. Do you have compassion for your spouse? When they have a bad day? When they mess up? Or is your posture that they just need to toughen up; they put themselves in the situation so they’ve gotta live with it now!
The second is KINDNESS. It’s crazy that we need to be told to be kind, but that just shows that we’re naturally bent toward being harsh; especially within marriage. We’re usually quick to speak and act harshly; but God wants us to be quick to speak and act in kindness. In Romans 2 says that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance. Kindness deeply reflects God. It was his kindness that saved us! This is something I’m really hoping to grow in, because before marriage I didn’t need to be that kind. The way my friends related to each other was through snark and sarcasm. It may be that you think you’re being kind because what you’re saying might be spot on true, but if your tone and body language are harsh or cold, then it probably doesn’t matter what you’re saying, because it isn’t being received as kind.
The third is HUMILITY. This is a word that the Greeks never applied to themselves. They didn’t even really have a word that meant what humility means, because they thought it was ridiculous to be humble, to a life that lifts others up. They thought life was all about lifting yourself up. Who are you lifting up in your marriage? Are you more concerned that your needs are met each day? trampling your spouse and their needs to make sure yours are met. Humility lifts up others, not ourselves.
Next on the list is GENTLENESS. It’s tempting for us to see gentleness but read weakness. But the word here is meek, which describes something having a huge amount of power, but it being completely under control. Imagine the strength needed to keep something incredibly powerful under control. So someone being gentile is showing you that they have incredible strength, because they could just overpower you with their personality or intellect or whatever, but they have the control to love you even if they’re stronger than you. When do you struggle with controlling your power? For most of us, it’s when we feel like we’re right. Maybe it’s in an argument, or when we have different ideas about what decision to make, and we feel like we’ve got the right answer, so we steam roll our partner and don’t even let them speak. That’s the opposite of gentleness; that’s harshness, which is power out of control.
The 5th is PATIENCE. This isn’t just passively accepting our circumstances or rolling with the punches. Being patient comes when we have a faith in God that’s alive and powerful, knowing that God’s in control and good in all of life.
So if you’re not patient with your spouse, that shows a lack of faith that God’s in control and good in your spouse’s life. It shows that you don’t believe that God has created them to be the person you need to be united with. If you DO believe that God’s in control of your spouses life, and that God’s goodness is all over their life, then you’ll be abundantly patient with them, even with their flaws, because you know God’s working in them.
Look at verse 13: bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
Next up is being FORGIVING. Maybe you’re thinking, “yeah, we’ve got this. we put up with each other really well.” But that’s not what being forgiving is, because Jesus doesn’t just put up with you. He removes your sin as far as the East is from the West, buries it at the bottom of the ocean, and loves you in spite of your wrongs. To forgive within marriage means to love your spouse as much as Jesus loves you. Not bringing it up again; not holding it over their head; not using their mistakes to justify your sins against them; not getting revenge or getting even; but doing good to them instead. Is there anything you’re holding onto; that you know you haven’t really forgiven your spouse for? Or maybe you always make sure they pay you back when they mess up? Maybe you know you haven’t been forgiving your spouse the beautiful way that Jesus forgives you.
Look at verse 14: Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. We’re gonna hit most of this stuff later, but let’s focus on verse 16: Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. So this is describing a person who is SPIRITUALLY ENGAGED. And in this verse, it all hinges on us knowing the Bible. It says that we should let the word of Christ dwell, live richly in us. God’s Word shouldn’t have a cubicle in our lives, it should live richly, it should have the penthouse mansion of our minds and hearts. So guys for beautiful, spiritually engaged relationships, read your Bible. Read your Bible. Read your Bible. Let it live in your life richly. THEN, you CAN teach and admonish each other with wisdom. God wants marriages to be places where each spouse beautifully teaches each other God’s Word, even sings it to each other. But we can’t do any of that if we don’t know it. For some of you the best thing you could do for your marriage is to start regularly reading your Bible so that you can be spiritually engaged with your spouse.
Look at verse 17: And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. At the end of that verse he says that we should be giving thanks to God through Jesus. That’s actually the third time he’s mentioned THANKFULNESS because he also did in verses 15 and 16. How do you express thankfulness with your spouse; both thankfulness for them and what they do, and thankfulness to God for them. There are so many ways to build thankfulness into our marriages. It could be just the simple practice of at the end of each day laying in bed, you each share one thing you’re thankful to God for about the other person. We train our kids to be thankful; but how are we training ourselves? This is so important. There’s a reason that thankfulness is listed 3 times here. Thankfulness is the opposite of every single sin you could commit. Sin is always an obsession for things we don’t have; instead of a thankfulness for what we do have. So we can aggressively fight sin in our marriage with thankfulness.
Look at verse 18: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. So this is specifically directed at wives, to SUBMIT to their husbands. That word has a ton of baggage, and it’s a word that’s been abused by some churches and some husbands. So real quick, the idea of submitting is pretty common in the Bible. This word is used for wives to husbands, children to parents, believers to elders of the church, citizens to the government, employees to employers, and every believer to other believers. The word just means a voluntary yielding to a recognized authority. It doesn’t carry any idea of one person being superior or the other being inferior. In fact, the Hebrew word that’s similar to this word is helper, and it’s typically used about God as the helper of mankind. We definitely don’t believe that God is inferior to man, but still the Bible says that he voluntarily submits to or helps us. So there’s no inferiority in submission.
So listen, a wife who submits to her husband should still criticize him, constructively, still make requests of him; that he lead and act responsibly, She should still teach her husband. Women in Christian marriages can be more intelligent and more articulate than their husbands. Husbands should learn from their wives. In Acts 18 this guy Apollos was teaching about Jesus, but then it says that these 2 women: After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. Ladies your husbands need you to teach them what God has taught you about Himself. And men, you need to listen and learn.
So what does it mean for a wife to submit to her husband? It’s when a woman voluntarily honors and affirms her husbands leadership in their home. When his leadership’s lacking, then it puts the wife in a situation where she’s forced to carry something God intended the man to carry. God’s design for marriage is one where the husband flourishes in one role and wife flourish in a different role.
But now the Bible never tells husbands to make sure your wives submits to you. In fact, if that’s part of your focus in your relationship is to make sure she submits to you, you’re probably not a guy worth submitting to. Men, you should be relating to your wife in a way that it would be a JOY for her to submit to you; where she voluntary does it. If it’s not a joy but a burden, it’s you that needs to change, not her. Because this isn’t a command to submit no matter what. If a husband is abusing his role in the marriage, no woman should submit to that. Any husband who places the burden on his wife to submit to him no matter what is viewing this dead wrong and needs to repent of sin.
Because that’s not a loving posture to take, and look again at verse 19: Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.
The responsibility on the husband is to LOVE your wife. That’s number 10; love. In fact, he said earlier that love binds all of these other things together. Specifically, look how it’s said in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. There’s a specific kind of love God’s after: it’s that you love your wife like Jesus loves the church. And Jesus showed his love for the church by suffering and dying for her. The kind of man that’s worth submitting to is one who is suffering and dying for his bride. Men when you’re sacrificially loving your wife in a way that displays all of these qualities, then she’ll joyfully submit to your leadership. And through that, ladies, your husband will be freed up to lead you best in this loving way, so that it snowballs into a beautiful marriage of mutual love and submission.
So man, these 10 things lived out in a marriage would be this beautiful dance of life together that would be so captivatingly beautiful, that it would demand a gospel explanation by people watching your marriage.
This sounds amazing! Can you imagine if every marriage was two people who were living out these qualities? So, why aren’t all marriages just…like this???
Well, back in Genesis 2, God actually created marriage to be perfectly beautiful. God says there that a man and woman should leave their parents and bond with each other and become one. And it says that in the first marriage Adam and Eve completely naked with each other and they felt no shame. I don’t think they had P90X bodies either; I just refuse to believe it. They completely knew each other. No hiding. No fear of being inadequate or found out.
But in the next chapter they ruined it. They thought they knew a better way than God, thought they knew how to have a more beautiful marriage than the one God created, so they rebelled against God and rejected him. Then it says in Genesis 3 that they were ashamed by their nakedness around each other so they covered themselves up. Their way for marriage led to shame, embarrassment, hiding, and separation.
Now all marriages are tempted to go down this path. We lie, pretend, avoid vulnerability, we keep each other at a distance.
Because we, like Adam and Eve, think we know a better way to approach Marriage than God’s way.
We believe it’s better to be right, so we lash out in harshness and anger, not showing compassion and kindness.
We believe it’s better to spiritually disengage, so we hide what God’s doing in our lives from our spouse out of fear or discomfort.
We believe it’s better to seek comfort than vulnerability, so we pop on Netflix or pull out our phones during all of our free time instead of engaging in intimate conversation.
A marriage is two broken people coming together to try to create something beautiful, and we see that we fail at it.
But not long after they failed and made a wreck of their marriage, God promised Adam and Eve that he would save them. He didn’t tell them to save each other; he told them that he’s send a savior to do what they couldn’t do for each other.
The only way to experience these 10 things within your marriage is if Jesus transforms you to display them. Because Jesus is the only person who perfectly IS all of these things. Once we have him, then we’re freed to live these things in our relationships. In fact the more of Jesus you have, the more you’re able to live in these ways.