Where Your Commitment Shows

Stephen Arterburn

If Christians were on fire for God, it would show in our marriages. Don’t you think the fact that rates of adultery and marital dissatisfaction in the Christian church are no different than the rates outside the church reveals something about our hearts that needs to be addressed?

 

Very few of us are consumed by our marriages, and fewer still are consumed by purity. Yet both are God’s desire for us. God’s purpose for your marriage is that it parallels Christ’s relationship to His church’that is, to be consumed with self-sacrificing love for our wives, and lay down our lives to make marital oneness a reality.

 

But when this doesn’t happen as we’d like, we get frustrated. ‘Well, if this is how she’s going to be,’ we think to ourselves, ‘why should I go through all the effort of serving her, and of being pure? She doesn’t deserve it.’ We’re tempted to retaliate and withdraw from our responsibilities.

 

Men, we all need reminding that our marriages are unconditional covenants, not conditional contracts. That means that amidst ever changing conditions and emotions, our commitment must never waiver.

 

Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to cherish your wife’to treat her with tenderness and hold her dear. Warm, romantic feelings are great, but fleeting. What if you don’t have them at the moment you need them? Lean upon your commitment to God. Be faithful to your commitment made before God and witnesses and don’t let your marriage covenant be dictated by feelings alone.

One Attitude Required

Humility doesn’t save a man eternally, but is sure saves him a ton of grief. Humility doesn’t change a man’s circumstances, but it helps him submit to God’s purposes amidst his circumstances. Humility doesn’t speed up answers to prayer, but it accelerates the acceptance of God’s will. Humility doesn’t make decisions for a man, but it inclines his heart toward decisions consistent with God’s plan. Humility doesn’t earn a man more of God’s love, but it helps him experience God’s love at a deeper level.

 

For these reasons Scripture has a great deal to say on the topic of humility:

 

Psalm 25:9 says ‘God guides and teaches the humble.’

Psalm 147:6 says ‘The Lord sustains the humble.’

Proverbs 11:2 says ‘Wisdom belongs to the humble.’

Proverbs 22:4 says ‘True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.’

Isaiah 57:15 says that the Lord personally dwells with and refreshes the humble.

Matthew 23:12 says that the humble with be exalted, and the exalted will be humbled.

And James 4:6 says that God is gracious to the humble.

 

Rewards, sustenance, wisdom, guidance, intimacy, grace, renewal, and revelation’all hinge on an attitude that accompanies our faith. The early-twentieth-century preacher and theologian Oswald Chambers called humility ‘the great characteristic of a saint.’ For all its benefits and blessings, humility is the best way to go for God’s man. In fact, it’s the only way to go.

Your Wife’s Weaknesses

Stephen Arterburn

Men, your wife’s weaknesses can create impasses that threaten oneness in your marriage, can’t they? Okay. So the next question should be: what can you do to address these impasses and facilitate unity? Surely, as her leader, you could demand that she straighten up and fly right? But it won’t help. In fact, it will probably make matters much worse. Surely you can find a more effective way to help her when she needs your support. Why not lay down your rights as the leader and graciously love her through these impasses?

 

Your wife’s weaknesses are as much a part of her as her gifts are, so you must not trample upon either of them. You love yourself and handle your own weaknesses with mercy and grace, don’t you? You hope others will make allowances and work patiently with them as you do, right? So allow your wife’s weaknesses to be expressed as freely as yours are. Then, in grace, work together in kindness and diligence at the impasse.

 

Guys, if your approach has been to crow like a rooster over every one of your wife’s imperfections, the time has come for you to eat some crow. Confess your unloving attitude to God and to her, and watch what happens. If she’s like 98 percent of all women, she’ll draw closer to you, and your relationship will continue to grow for as long as you appreciate and accept her’imperfections, weaknesses, and all.