Ephesians 5:22-33Theme: Love and submission.This week’s lessons teach us the only path to marital bliss. LessonIn this lesson on marriage, I think here of something C. S. Lewis said in one of his writings. He wrote that because we are eternal beings, created with eternal souls, in the ages to come each of us is going to be either some dazzlingly beautiful creature, one that would overwhelm us with awe if we were to see such a creature now, or else an everlasting horror, from which we would all recoil – depending upon our having entered into (or not having entered into) salvation through Jesus Christ. Here is realistic eschatology. And with that in view, I suggest that any husband would be a better husband if he could see his wife as on the way to becoming that dazzling creature, which she will surely be in heaven in her resurrected body, and if he could realize that under God he has a responsible part in her transformation.
God created marriage in order that, among other things, a Christian man and a Christian woman might find the deepest of all possible fulfillments in each other and be happy. I know that there are people who will acknowledge this – Christian people – but who are discouraged by their personal failures and who have concluded that there is now no hope for their marriage. Let me say that for the Christian it is never the case that any given relationship is hopeless. Let me tell you of one marriage resurrection.
Pat Williams, the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, tells in his book Rekindled how his marriage had died out like an unattended fire.3 He is a busy, active man. He had been neglecting his wife, Jill. She had complained. But nothing really changed, and the day came (as it does with many) when she told him that it was all over. She was not threatening to move out, but she had no love for him anymore. She was only going through the motions. Williams began to search for what he could do, and in his search he came upon “Prescription for a Superb Marriage” in Ed Wheat’s book Love Life for Every Married Couple. It was a simple prescription for what Wheat called the BEST of all possible marriages: Blessing, Edifying, Sharing, Touching.
Blessing means to speak well of your partner, to show kindness toward your partner, to convey thanks and appreciation for your partner, and to pray to God on your partner’s behalf.
Edifying means to build up. Husbands are to build their wives up by praising them. Wives are to build up their husbands by a loving response.
Sharing means doing things together – listening, loving, learning, investigating, reporting.
Touching refers to non-sexual touching. It is so important in Wheat’s prescription that he lists twenty-five specific suggestions for it.
These four rules are actually only ways of doing what the Bible says we are to do to love one another. But that is just the point. They are practical ways of actually doing what the Bible says; and because they are ways of doing what the Bible says, they work. They worked with Pat and Jill. It took time, but in time their marriage was rekindled. Joy returned. Both grew, and the marriage is now a model for many through Pat’s book and their testimony.
Loving husbands, happy wives! The words are indeed often an embarrassment, but this is because of sin. Embarrassment is a confession of our failure. Fortunately, it is also a challenge to heed the Word of God and put God’s instruction for a happy marriage into practice.
3. See Pat and Jill Williams with Jerry Jenkins, Rekindled (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1940) and Ed Wheat, Love Life for Every Married Couple (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980).
Name one of the main reasons for which God created marriage.
According to Ed Wheat’s book, how does one “bless” one’s spouse?
ApplicationMake a list of practical ways to love your spouse over this upcoming weekend.
PrayerOur Father, grant that by your grace, many marriages among us which have been less than ideal might move in that direction through the prescription that you yourself give and in the power of Jesus Christ.