I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of couples prepare for marriage.
In the last decade or so, I’ve been placing more emphasis on is the need to recognize how God desires to use husbands and wives as instruments of change in their mate’s life. No one will have closer access to your mate than you.
I am trying to get husbands and wives to embrace this reality and to leverage the closeness and access they have to each other for ongoing transformation into the likeness of Christ (see, II Corinthians 3:18).
God’s aim for us is to restore the glory of His image in us. We fell from the dignity we originally had as beings made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:23; 8:29).
When God gave humanity the gift of marriage it was for the completion of one individual with another. Something was missing when the man was alone. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18).
- “Helper” and “suitable” are not demeaning terms but beautiful descriptions of the complementary way a woman brings completeness to a man. She is a “helper” or a “support to him” but this relationship and role does not imply inferiority (see: Galatians 3:28).
The woman was created for the man (I Corinthians 11:9). “Woman is the glory of man” (I Corinthians 11:7).
- She brought completion to what he lacked. None of this implies inferiority for she too is made in the image of God and shares a call to co-regency with the man (Genesis 1:28). Her union with man fills up what is lacking.
Marriage is made up of two unique individuals and loss of that uniqueness in either could hurt the purpose of their companionship and completion.
Emphasis on oneness or on the importance of male leadership should never equate to the disappearance of a woman into the dominance of the man. Nor should male passivity be permitted behind the dominance of the woman. These things violate the original purpose of complimentary completion in marriage.
Step up men
- Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). The man is the one given primary responsibility to forge the bond with his wife (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage is a bonding of two individual identities into one new relationship. Like the different colors of sand in a sand ceremony, each one brings individual significance, gifts and beauty to the relationship. Each one is also meant to be God’s instrument of ongoing transformation in the life of the other?
Can it work?
Husbands and wives must be secure in their understanding of God’s love and in their love for each other for this plan to work. If I am convinced that my wife genuinely desires what is best for me (according to God’s will), I am secure enough to allow her to speak into my life.
Where there is rivalry, competition for control and desire for superiority, there is a deeper spiritual issue of immaturity to be addressed.
As we walk by the Spirit – with the mind of Christ – we can we leverage the closeness for ongoing transformation through marriage (Galatians 5:13-26; Philippians 2:3-10).
- Question for discussion: How have you seen this work in your marriage?
- Audio message: When Two Become One