Bible Study - Lesson A1
(The Christian family)
Husband and Wife Relationships
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
Whoso despiseth (disrespects) the word shall be destroyed (to wind tightly, bind): but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded (be safe).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There are several reasons Christians have problems in this life. One of them is simply disobedience to God's principles. God has given us His word. He has told us the spiritual principles by which we may prosper. To ignore these principles is to arrogantly challenge God's authority and laws. No one has ever broken God's physical principles without suffering the consequences and this is likewise true of His spiritual principles.
Sometimes people think if they simply ignore God's laws, they will not be accountable and God will not enact the penalties. People only try this in the spiritual realm. They know they cannot close their eyes and walk into busy traffic without injury or death. Yet, some expect good in their lives and may seem puzzled or even angry when it does not happen even though they have been living contrary to God's spiritual laws.
The above scriptures, plus many more which could be cited, make clear the principle that obedience brings happiness and success while disobedience brings sorrow and failure to any area of life, and certainly to a home.
The Second Most Important Subject
Next to an individual's eternal salvation, the subject of marriage and the home is the most important. To be a success in business or have a well thought of place in the community and fail in the responsibilities of the home is to miss the realities of life.
This being true, we would expect the word of God which "thoroughly furnishes us unto all good works" (2Timothy 3:16-17), to be replete with instructions on the subject of marriage and child rearing. This expectation is indeed fulfilled as we examine the pages of the Bible. However, a word of caution is in order before we begin.
The Bible warns us of the conditions which will prevail in the latter days of the church age. There is much reason to believe we are now living in that time.
II Timothy 3:1-5
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This being the case, it should be of no surprise when we find instructions for a happy home in the word of God not only unpopular, but even opposed by current opinion. May God help those who have trusted Him for the salvation of their souls also trust Him for the keeping of their homes.
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
In order to raise children properly and have the full blessing of God on the home, it is imperative that mother and father have a proper relationship first individually with God and then with each other. The individual's relationship to God begins with receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour (see Lessons 1 and 2). After this, it means "walking in the light" (1John 1:7) or in obedience to God's word in order to have fellowship with and guidance from Him. As both mother and father allow this to be true in their lives they will want to obey the primitive laws which God set in motion at the time of man and woman's creation and subsequent fall.
Note these elements found in Genesis 3:14 through 19. You might circle the (T) after each statement if it is still true today, or the (F) if it is no longer true today:
- The serpent was cursed above all cattle and beast of the field and made to crawl on it's belly. (T) (F)
- The Lord put enmity (enemy) between the serpent and the woman. (T) (F)
- The Lord greatly multiplied the sorrow of the woman saying, "in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children." (T) (F)
- To the woman the Lord said, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (T) (F)
- God commanded that the earth bring forth thorns and thistles. (T) (F)
- God told man he would eat his food in the sweat of his face (In order to properly understand this, we should realize that man may make attempts at altering the law, but one way or another man will pay. In this case, the man who earns his living without perspiration either suffers ill health or takes on an exercise routine to keep fit, thus sweating.) (T) (F)
- God told Adam, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." (T) (F)
The correct answer to all of the above is TRUE. They are ALL still true today. However, today, men quite often have failed in taking their proper place as head and provider and woman have followed suit thinking to resolve the problems by likewise disobeying God. Just as none of the other primitive laws may be violated without consequence, the headship of man and submission of woman (1Corinthians 11:3) may not be violated either.
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
True godly headship is not a perch or a soft place of just being served. God is the Head over all of His creation. When we pray, we expect Him to WORK on our behalf.
... but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
HEADSHIP = AUTHORITY + RESPONSIBILITY
True godly headship is composed of authority plus responsibility.
While authority or headship in the home has been vested in the man by Almighty God, the husband has two ways to exercise this authority in his family. He may use fright of physical or mental abuse, for example: shouting, anger, pouting, temper tantrums etc. OR reverence toward him due to his loving care for the family's physical, mental and spiritual needs.
As the word clearly indicates, 'response-ability' is the ability to respond. In the case of a family it involves responding to their needs. If a family suffers due to the lack of their needs being met, the father is primarily responsible for this.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Following are some practical applications of godly headship :
A grave problem in some homes today is the lack of the husband taking his proper place in assuming the responsibilities for the needs of the family. One of the most flagrant areas of this lack is in making decisions. The ability to make wise family decisions comes from a close walk with God.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
"Her desire shall be to her husband" in part means the wife will be looking to the husband to make decisions. She will be uncomfortable in taking the responsibility of making final decisions. This does NOT mean she does not have opinions or wishes about any given subject. The wise husband will consider his wife's desires and knowledge on any given subject, but he is appointed by God to make decisions, and to take the responsibility for such decisions. After prayerful consideration and requests for strength and wisdom from God, make the following decision for your family even as Joshua did many years ago:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Clear Directions and Instructions:
Most men have at one time or another worked for a boss who failed to give clear instructions and became angry when things did not turn out as he wished. This is particularly annoying if the boss does not realize he is the one at fault and blames his employees for inefficiency. This is the plight of many wives who are not given clear instructions.
Husbands need to understand their wives have been created different than they have been. Someone has described the difference as "men read headlines and women read the stories." Often the woman wants to know details when the man is happy with the highlights. Many differences could be cited. Sufficient is God's word on the subject:
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
There may be times when the husband's tone of voice may be of greater importance to the wife than the actual words spoken. If men would treat their wives as they did while courting them, much happiness for both could be attained in the marriage.
Remember also that your mate is not a mind reader anymore than you are. Be sure to tell her what you want, like, don't want and don't like. Do not pout, walk away or throw a childish tantrum until she figures it out. Tell her with consideration and respect.
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
The root meaning of the word 'bitter' in the above verse means to cut or prick. While wives may be guilty of nagging their husbands, contrary to God's will, a husband may be just as guilty before God for the use of sarcastic remarks intended to cut or prick his wife. These kind of remarks are cowardly, unloving and childish. They are a tool of Satan used to wound and destroy relationships and homes. There is no place in the roll of a godly husband for such remarks. On the contrary, the husband is required of God to love his wife and care for her as the Lord Jesus Christ cares for His church (Ephesians 5:27).
Making Time for Her:
More than anything else your wife wants YOU!
Unto the woman he said, ... and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
This again may be a subject hard for men to truly comprehend. Many men find their careers occupy a good portion of their time, energy and thoughts*. For a goodly portion of his day his thoughts may be occupied in this pursuit. His wife, however, spends her day cleaning his house, washing his clothes and preparing his food. She watches the clock for his return and prepares herself accordingly. If she is a mother, the additional burden of caring for children is added with the majority of her day's conversation on their level.
*A word of caution is needed here. Every Christian man needs to ask God to help him honestly determine if the hours he is spending earning a living are necessary to support his family or has he allowed himself to be caught by the vice of greed. These diverse occupations of the day meet when the husband returns home from work. He is looking forward to relaxing. She may be looking forward to adult conversation and discussion of her day's problems. The wise husband will realize his wife's needs. He will make himself available sometime during the evening to LISTEN to her thoughts, questions and problems. He will help her sort them out and give her direction.
Body, soul and spirit:
The love a husband is to have for his wife should be manifested by care for her in all three aspects of her being...body, soul and spirit. Remember the sweet girl you pursued until she accepted your offer to be your wife? If she has changed, what part did you play in the change?
- The physical necessities of the family are the responsibility
of the husband.
- Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
- Titus 2:4-5
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
- The two income family has probably done more damage to the
home than we will ever be able to calculate. It robs the wife
of her opportunity to be the homemaker she could be. It robs the
husband of his proper headship in this area. And, if there are
children, it robs them of parents who are able to perform to the
quality level they would and could otherwise. The family who must
get along with less of the material world because mother is at
home rather than in the work place, is a much wealthier family.
- Husbands should consider what their wife's impression of them
might be in the physical realm. Do they see you clean shaven and
well groomed each morning as you leave for work, but unshaven
and sloppily dressed on your days at home? If so, how would you
feel if the rolls were reversed? Remember how you groomed yourself
when you were courting your wife?
- Someone once said the sexual part of marriage begins at the breakfast table for the wife. What they meant by this is that the man is quickly aroused whereas the woman is aroused by the entire lifestyle of her man. She loves and is sexually drawn to him because he is her protector and provider. This is an over-simplification of the sexual portion of marriage and is not intended to be a complete treatise on the subject. However, some men fail to realize this very important fact. The husband who is failing to provide for his wife's various needs may find her unresponsive in the personal part of their marriage. The sex act, particularly to a godly Christian woman, involves the complete marriage.
We have already discussed above the need for a husband to make time to listen and help sort out his wife's feelings. By kind, respectful words he needs to comfort and correct her as needed. A thought to remember is that men get their rewards for a job well down by a paycheck, an occasional bonus or perhaps an award. But when is the wife's payday? Note the following:
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Do you thank her for clean clothes, a clean house, and well prepared food? If your boss at work fails to ever notice your good work does it not take the incentive away. Conversely, if he does praise your work doesn't it make you want to do even better? How about your wife?
Spirit (her relationship with God):
By all means Christians need to have regular Christian fellowship and Bible study (Hebrews 10:25). However, it is the husband's responsibility to "sanctify and cleanse" his wife (Ephesians 5:26).
1 Corinthians 14:35
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
It is imperative that a husband live in such a way that he is an "example of the believer" (1#160;Timothy 4:12). To do otherwise is to undermine any teaching he may give his family and hurt their testimony for Christ.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
Husband and wife relationships are like a revolving wheel. When the husband treats the wife with love and respect while providing for her needs, it causes the wife to want to be submissive, obedient and loving in return. This causes the husband to be more what God would have him to be toward his wife, which causes her to be what she should be toward him, etc. Conversely, if the husband does not provide for the wife, she is tempted to respond in kind, thus turning the wheel in the wrong direction.
If you find that your home is spinning in the wrong direction, by all means it is your responsibility, as head of your home, to make the moves that will cause it to spin in the right direction. The key is obedience to God's commands.
COMPATIBILITY = COMMITMENT + COMMUNICATION
God intended for marriage to be the union of two people into one. Are you and your spouse on the same team?