Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is the Relationship Worthy of Marriage: Give and Take



Is the Relationship Worthy of Marriage: Give and Take

 

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” – 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

At the very core of any good marriage there stand two unshakable elements: love and sacrifice.  I once read on a church sign “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.”  This is how marriage works.  It’s give and take.  Sometimes you get your way, and sometimes you give in to your spouse’s way.  If one is always taking the other is always miserable.  But where love exists, giving comes natural.
Paul explains the give and take of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 by talking about the body and the intimate relationship of marriage.  He says the wife doesn’t own her body, but the husband does.  And he also says the husband doesn’t own his body, but the wife does.  Your very body is given to the other.  (Those hot on the trail of marriage for the benefit of sexual relations are giving a premature amen!  Note that this ownership of each other extends outside the bedroom.) 

Ladies, if he likes your hair long – you are to wear your hair long.  If your cooking doesn’t please him, you need to cook what does.  If you have that one little “thing” you do that gets on his nerves, you stop doing it.  Men, if she needs you to pick up and move the furniture around the room again, for the tenth time in a week, you’re to stretch those muscles and do it.  If she wants you to go shopping, yes even shoe shopping, with her you go.  If you want quiet time and she wants company, company comes over.  And you do it all without complaining! It’s through these acts of pleasing each other that love is shown.  Love isn’t just an emotion or it wouldn’t be seen.  It has to be packaged in actions that demonstrate it.
Let’s take that one step further.  There is no yours and mine in marriage – it’s all OURS.  Money, cars, time, chores, dirty laundry, food, obligations - you share it all.  You become ONE, not two with two ownerships where one can have more than the other.  If you’re too selfish to share your toys, then you’re not ready for marriage, it’s not really love, and you have no business getting married.  The result of marriage is children, which creates dual ownership of mother and father.  Who will care for them if you cannot give yourself over to the thought of sharing everything?

Love is often about sacrifice.  The greatest act of love ever was Jesus on the Cross.  He submitted to be our sacrifice and take away our sins out of His love for us.  It’s often said that the nails didn’t hold Him to the cross, but His love for us did.  The marriage relationship is often likened to Jesus and His relationship with believers.  We are even called the Bride of Christ.  Revelations 19 talks about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and those that are there are believers, His Bride.  Matthew 26:6 talks about being ready when the Bridegroom, Jesus, comes back. Then in Ephesians 5:25-27 Paul says “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.  In the same way that Christ gave himself for us, even to death, we have to give ourselves for our spouse.  There can be no selfishness in marriage.  There simply isn’t room for self in marriage – two have become one.  You no longer live as individuals, but as one.
We are even called “The Body of Christ”, reflecting again that His body was given for us.  1 Corinthians 12:27 says “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”  In 1 Corinthians 10:17 we read “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.”  That one bread, His sacrifice of His body for us, is what allows us to be joined to Him.  It’s His action that creates the connection. 

Do you want your marriage to grow stronger?  Do things for your spouse to show love.  Sacrifice for them! Actions speak love, and create an intimate connection.  What you do for your spouse will strengthen your relationship. 
1 Corinthians 12:25-56 talks about the Body of Christ and says that “the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”  The same care for one another – not one always giving, but the same give and take from both sides.  When a wife is suffering the husband suffers too.  When the husband has problems, the wife has them too.  God gave me an example of this I will never forget in a sweet gentleman I knew years ago.  He would come to Sunday School while his wife was suffering cancer.  You could literally look at his face and tell what kind of day she was having.  If she was suffering, his heart was breaking, and it would show long before the tears started flowing.  But if she was feeling stronger, his smile stretched from ear to ear.  This is the bond of love! 

Though we may walk through life in separate bodies, we are one, and each owner of the other body.  When sacrifice becomes a gift we desire to give, we see love at in its purest form.  You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

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