(5/31) This Memorial Day Weekend is about remembering our fallen heroes. Those who have died in service to our country. I sincerely hope that you will do that. That at some point you will pause in the midst of whatever plans you have and will bow your head and thank God for those who given their lives. Call or send a card to someone that you know has
lost a loved one while they were serving their country, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, or any of the conflicts we have been in. They need to know that their loved one is not forgotten, and their life and death are appreciated by a grateful nation.
But this is also a good day to pause and remember your marriage vows and how you are doing. You may have said something like this before a justice of the peace, a clerk of the court, or a pastor, or chaplain.
- • "I, [name], take you [name], to be my [husband/wife], to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part."
- • "I, [name], take you, [name], to be my [(optional: lawfully wedded) husband/wife], my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I
promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live."
Here’s a question, "How are you doing with that?"
– The Saturday Evening Post – a long time ago, published, The 7 Stages of a Married Cold. It’s funny, and I have used this before, but it is more true than we like to think.
1st year cold:
The husband said, "Sugar dumpling! I'm really worried about my baby girl! You've got a bad sniffle and there's no telling about these things with all the strep going around. I'm putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general check-up and a good rest. I know the food is lousy there, so I'll be bringing you food from Tosini's. I've already got
it all arranged with the floor superintendent."
2nd year cold:
"Listen, darling! I don't like the sound of that cough! I've called Dr. Miller to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good little girl just for Poppa."
3rd year cold:
"Maybe you better lie down, Honey. Nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I'll bring you something. Do you have any canned soup?"
4th year cold:
"Now look dear, be sensible! After you've fed the kids, washed the dishes and finished vacuuming, you'd better lie down."
5th year cold:
"Why don't you take a couple of aspirin?"
6th year cold:
"If you'd just gargle or something, instead of sitting around barking like a seal!"
7th year cold:
"For Pete's sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia!?"
What happened? Do you remember what life was like when you were dating, before you were married? What did you do? I will tell you. It did not matter how long your day was, or how tired you were. You couldn’t wait to spend time with this woman. Do you remember? Pleasing her was goal #1. Do you remember that? Do you still do that?
Paul is writing this book of Ephesians and is explaining to us the will of God for our lives. We are to be different that the world of non-believers, spiritual zombies, darkened mined fools that we live among. Our lives, as born again followers of the Christ, are to be light and expose the foolish ways of a world in darkness. We do this by being filled
or controlled by the Holy Spirit, that is with a determination to live our lives by the book. One man told me last week that He prays as a famous pastor taught him, that every day he prays to live in the fear of God and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Look at Ephesians 5:15-21 again. And there is that word submission. We said it refers to a voluntarily placing oneself under
the authority, or a yielding of rights to another. It is willful humility. And, he says we are to submit to one another. Wives are to submit to their own Husbands as to the Lord. A wise woman realizes that in the creative genius of God she was created to help her husband to be a confident, leader in his home and community. The love, safety, and security he needs to accomplish
this comes from the heart of a wife who willfully, voluntarily comes alongside of her husband and encourages his leadership.
Let’s read Ephesians 5:25-33 together, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and
without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
There are three primary points that every man should be aware of. No exceptions. You have three God-given responsibilities with your wife. You are to be a Learner, a Leader, and a Lover.
I. Be Learners – Here is a news flash- Your wife is different than you!
1 Peter 3:7 says, 7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered "With Understanding"
This phrase has the idea of making it your occupation to know your wife because she is different than you. Not just her weight, height, hair color, etc. Obviously she is different physically, but she is also emotionally, and temperamentally different. To love her as Christ loved the church you need to know her. The Bible says that Christ knows what is
in the heart of man. To create an intimate home you need to know the deeper things of your wife. What are her aspirations, her fears, what’s on her bucket list, what does she mean by what she says? What makes her laugh and what makes her cry? What does she need from you to make her feel loved and secure? This, by the way, is a lifelong occupation. You can’t do this in a
college class. Just as it is with God (Jer. 9:24; Phil. 3:10ff). How do you do that, guys? You study. You talk and ask questions. That may be difficult for some of you who aren’t naturally talkers. You must make the time to take walks, turn off the TV, put down the book or the mouse, or cell phone and talk regularly. And then, it means to listen with your heart and not with
just your head. Not many men make it their occupation to know God or their wives this way. If you will, it will change your life.
Do you know for example, that for most women, security is a major issue? They need to know that you are going to be there and that you are going to take care of them. Moving a lot, getting into financial trouble is disturbing and unsettling. They need security. Feeling loved is not so much a physical thing as it for most men. Its having a caring
relationship. One in which you spend time together, and you care as much about what she cares about as you do what you care about. If you want better romance, give better attention to caring about her, listening to her, helping her. Learn her love language and speak it. (See Gary Chapman’s, The 5 Love Languages)
II. Be Leaders – Paul says in Ephesians 5:23-24, "For the husband is head of
the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." and in 1 Cor. 11:3, "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. The leadership of
the home is something that our Lord will hold you responsible for. Want proof?
Here is a question. Who did Satan Tempt? Who took the first bite of forbidden fruit? Who did God address about it? Because Gen 3:6 says he was with her. The implication is that he let her make the final decision, he did not speak up and say, "No, this is wrong!" We never refer to original sin as Eve’s fall. The headship falls on Adam.
You are to lead your home as Jesus leads His church. That is servant leadership. That was part of your vows. You are to be a servant leader. You are to be the head of your home, not a tyrant, but one who leads with the best interests of your wife at heart. Remember in places like Matthew 20:25-28, where our Lord said this, "You know that the rulers of
the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Do you
remember His demonstration in John 13? He washed their feet. The Lord, the God-man, their Creator, their Teacher washed their feet. Why? They needed to be washed. He didn’t call a foot washer or a servant. He got some warm water and a towel, some Calgon or Dove, and a towel that he warmed in the microwave and He washed their feet. I am responsible for you and in that
responsibility I am going to care for you. I will wash the dishes, I will make the bed, I will vacuum the floor, I will make sure you have what you need and will give myself to meet your needs. That is the way Jesus wants to lead His church. And that is how you are to lead your home. You are to place the needs of your wife above everything else. You are not to bark orders
demanding obedience. You seek how to care about your wife. Guys, where have you placed time with your wife in your schedules for this week? What have you said or done to show her how precious she is to you?
Peter says in 1 Peter 3:7. "Giving Honor to the Wife, as to the Weaker Vessel." This phrase has nothing to do with the emotional, mental, or spiritual side of a woman. It refers exclusively to the fact that most, not all, but most women are created without the testosterone that men have and therefore are physically weaker than men. This refers to what
the ancients referred to as Chivalry. Guys are to understand, that regardless of what the feminist revolution said, you are to provide for, and protect your wife. To give Honor to means to treat as priceless, and precious, like the blood of Jesus in 1 Peter 1:18. Or like a priceless vase that is in a museum. Do you understand that?
III. Be Lovers (Ephesians 5:25-33), "Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her," What kind of love is this.
A. Sacrificial – I watched a hunting show on the sportsman’s channel. This hunter is fairly famous and was a bad car accident a few years ago. He wanted to hunt Maine Moose. The tag is next to impossible to get if you are not a resident of Maine, and may tag a lifetime to get if you are a resident. And you only get one per lifetime. Well, a man who had
waited 18 years finally drew a tag and gave it to This hunter. Almost dumbfounded throughout the show he kept asking, "What kind of man does that?" Here is a better question, "What kind of man gives His life for His enemies? Jesus demonstrated the greatest act of sacrificial love that the world has ever seen. He gave up his life to give us life. Husbands, that is what this
B. Serving – Jesus washed feet and did what He could to meet the physical and emotional and spiritual needs of the church. More on that in a moment. Guys wash a few dishes, pick up a vacuum cleaner, or your socks, wash your whiskers out of the sink. If you have small children, take them for ice cream and let your wife have an hour to take a hot bath
and a few deep breaths.
C. Self – Denying –His life was not about what He wanted, but what we needed and He gave Himself to that. Guys it ain’t about you. Give up the remote once in a while. Take your wife to the mall. Or line up baby sitters and take your wife on a date. And here is an additional L word. Be a listener. Take the time to listen.
D. Sanctifying – It was about setting us apart as special and protecting us and helping us to be the best we could be. Men your words and actions should be that your wife feels that she is the most beautiful and important person in the world. She knows that she is the one, the only. More important than your mother or any other woman in the world.
E. Spiritual – It was about bringing us closer to God so we would know Him and be able to rest in Him. Jesus said in John 17 that He wanted us to know the Father. Husbands it is your responsibility and God will hold you accountable for the Spiritual leadership of your wife and children. Read the Bible to her, take her to Sunday School, take her hand
and pray for her and with her. It actually says in the New Testament that if wives have questions about God and the Bible, the first person they were to ask was their husbands.
F. Supplying –Look at verses 28-29. You are to love her as you love your own body. How do you do that. You Nourish it. You all know what that means, right? You feed it. You make sure its needs and a lot of its’ wants are met. It is about meeting the needs of his beloved. Men, it may be old fashioned, but it is still your job to be the principle
provider for your family.
G. Securing – See the word Cherishes. Do you know what it means? Some of you may remember (this is an old preacher illustration) from the late 60’s, the music group The Association had a song called Cherish. The word, cherish, used here is from the word Thalpo and it means to heat or to keep warm, and it is used of a bird sitting on her eggs or newly
hatched baby birds. It is used of a nursing mother snuggling her baby to her breast to nurse and make the child feel secure. That’s your job guys. You protect, you provide and you make her feel secure. It is to be forever. Nothing can separate us from His love, and men, nothing should ever make you stop this kind of love for your wife. Like a jewelry commercial on TV. "I’ve
never seen a storm like this one. I’m here and I always will be." Does your wife rest in that? There will be conflicts in marriage. Two sinners are joined together. But there needs to be the security that, no matter what, we will work through this. That also means that there should always be grace and forgiveness available.
Guys, here is what I want to conclude with. Three things:
- 1. What did you do when you dated your wife? You need to go back, remember and do those things again. Remember what our Lord would tell this church at Ephesus in Rev. 2. You have left, your first love, go back and do what you did at the beginning of your relationship.
- 2. Be a student of Jesus Christ. Study the life and words of Jesus and then imitate Him. If you want to know how to have a happy wife, imitate Jesus. Be a student of Jesus.
- 3. Be a student of your wife. Learn her love language, Learn her. Love her like Jesus loved the church. Nourish her and Cherish her like you do your own body. Do you remember what life was like when you were dating, before you were married? What did you do? I will tell you. It did not matter how long your day was, or how tired you were. You
couldn’t wait to spend time with this woman. Do you remember? Pleasing her was goal #1. Do you remember that? Do you still do that?
Not many men love this way, but, and if you will, you will turn your wife’s head and as well as your children’s and the world will see the difference that Jesus makes.
Let’s pray about it.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman