By Margaret Hungwe
You can only manage what you know. The person who seeks to effectively manage the things of life, always strives to understand the purpose for which the things exist. It is very critical for the thoughtful and strategic person, to endeavor to know and to fulfil the intention behind the institutions in which they find themselves. This is not only so in the corporate world but concerns all institutions in which humans participate, marriage included.
Marriage exists to fulfil God’s many purposes, it is an institution that carries forward God’s intentions in His world. Since marriage is God ordained and we are partners in doing God’s will on earth, we must know what marriage is, and why it is. Only by correctly using the power that this knowledge gives us can we come up with strategies to manage the institution in a way that pleases God.
In the first Book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we find this knowledge. It teaches us the following:
- God instituted marriage as a partnership of loyalty between one man and one woman.
- Marriage is the firmest and God ordained foundation for building a family.
- God designed sexual expression to help married couples build intimacy.
- Marriage mirrors God’s covenant relationship with His people.
- Each partner’s roles mark out the place in which each spouse finds their fulfilment and blessing.
To effectively manage a marriage, there is a need to understand what the owner and designer of marriage saw and demands. This chapter is dedicated to looking at marriage comprehensively based on what the Bible teaches.
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” but for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
This Chapter of Genesis gives a clear account of human life and how God designed marriage. In it God puts man in the garden to work and tend it. God gave His man the honours to name everything that was in the garden. The Man simply decided what to call an animal or a plant and it was so. But from all the animals that God created there was none suitable to be a helpmate for Adam. Then God decided to make this helpmate out of Adam himself.
In verse 18, the Bible says that God saw it was not good for man to be alone in the garden, therefore God decided to make man a helper, one suitable for HIM. The one woman whom God was going to make was suitable for the one man, Adam. That means the first woman was suitable for that “first” man and not necessarily suitable for “every” man. Have you ever wondered what attracts a man to a certain woman or what draws a woman to a man?
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Since the help mate was supposed to be suitable for the man she had to come out of the man, so God chooses the man’s rib as the raw material to make the woman. After making the suitable helper, God brings her to Adam. Without being informed what or who she is, Adam says;
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
Adam knew already his position on earth, that he was mandated to give names to everything in the garden. A suitable helper comes, and he says she would be called ‘woman’, the reason being that she was taken out of man. There was no confusion of identity, it was clear to him from the onset who the woman is. They became one flesh, naked and not ashamed.
The Book of Genesis expresses the purpose of God in making man, as well as the purpose of marriage. Let us explore what God’s intention with this first marriage was.
The purposes of God in marriage.
Mirror God’s image. After God created the earth and the animals, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” The account continues, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
God’s first purpose for creating man and woman and joining them in marriage, was so that they would mirror His image on earth. Centre your attention on those words, mirror His image. To mirror God’s image means to reflect God, to magnify, exalt, and glorify Him.
That means our marriages should reflect God’s image to a world that desperately needs to see who He is. Since we’re created in the image of God, people who do not know what God is like, should be able to look at a male and a female in a godly marriage and get a glimpse of who and what God is like. Together the male and female are the complete image of God.
Complete each other and experience companionship.
Scripture clearly outlines a second purpose for marriage, namely, that the husband and wife are intended to mutually complete each other in fulfilling God’s plans and purposes within His world. That’s why God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). Adam felt isolated in the garden, and so God created woman to eliminate his aloneness. Writing to the first-century church in Corinth, Paul echoed the teachings in Genesis 2 when he asserted,
1 Corinthians 11:11 “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman”.
That means within a marriage the two of you should function like a computer hardware and software. Standing alone, the hardware and software are impressive, but combined as a team, they can accomplish so much more! That is exactly what God had in mind when He performed the first marriage with the original groom and bride, named Adam and Eve.
As a couple you need each other. You may be failing to recognize that now, perhaps due to your circumstances but as you build your marriage according to God’s blueprints, and the years go by, you will ultimately appreciate the genius of how God has custom-made your mate for you.
Multiply a godly legacy.
God’s third purpose is to use marriage as a means to raise a line of godly descendants, to populate the earth with God bearers. The children born in a godly marriage will carry a reflection of God’s character to the next generation. Your plans to have children may still be in the future, but if by His grace He does give you children, be rest assured that you will be in for an amazing adventure.
God’s original plan called for the home to be a sort of “moral greenhouse”, a nurturing place where children grow up to learn character, values, and integrity. Too many couples today seem to be raising their children without a sense of mission and direction. They aren’t imparting into their children the importance of leaving a spiritual legacy of godly lives. Your marriage is far more important than you may have ever imagined because it affects God’s reputation on this planet. That’s why it’s essential for you to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Builder of your home and that you commit to fulfil all His purposes for your marriage.
Since our journey through life involves God, ourselves, our spouses, our prosperity as well as future generations, let’s walk together through this book, one step at a time, as we see how we may live out our marriages with Jesus Christ as the chief builder. It is critical to know the purpose and the intention of God in marriage, but also important to know the roles God has assigned each partner. The Bible gives amazing light on this, and we do well to explore the roles of husbands and wives right at the onset of our study.
The Husband’s Role and Attitudes in a Christian Marriage
The bible shows clearly that the responsibility of leadership in marriage is on the husband’s shoulders.
23 ‘For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Words like control, guidance, direction and authority define and describe leadership. That means a husband is divinely commanded to exercise these God given functions, failure to do so, simply means that man is in violation of God’s word. We also see this right in the beginning in Genesis 3 roles should never be reversed, the moment these roles were overturned between Adam and Eve, the results were disastrous.
Evaluate your role in your family and marriage at a personal level, ask yourself these critical questions: are you effective in your leadership as a husband? Are you in control of the things that relate to your marriage, are you guiding and exercising authority? If not, it is time to take up your role and be the blessing that God intended.
The Husbands duty to Love Unconditionally
The biblical concept of marriage involves such a oneness between a husband and wife that their relationship mirrors the oneness of Christ with His church. Ephesians 5;25 teaches a husband “to love his wife as Christ loved the church”. God’s love towards humanity is unconditionally. Even though people sin, and disobey His will and break His heart, yet God loves us still. God’s love for us is so evident in all that He gives us. In the same way when a husband loves his wife, it is easy to see. The wife might not be perfect, but the husband’s love should not be based on his wife’s actions, love must be unconditional love.
True love is not a feeling or an emotion. Emotions and feelings come and go, but love is a commitment to another person. If a person lives by feelings and emotions, they will not have any consistency in life neither will they ever commit to a meaningful relationship. The reality of human life is that everything changes, from financial statuses to the one look.
For example, if a marriage is based on physical appearances only, when physical changes take place in your spouse, will the sensual feelings still be there as when you started out? There is a high possibility that they will be affected. However, the commitment to each other must remain, it must not be conditioned by the physical appearance of your spouse.
When God loved the church, He loved it with everything inside of Him with no reservations, this should apply to a marriage as well. Beyond a commitment to a lifelong relationship built on love being so fulfilling and being an amazing blessing, it also serves as a godly example for your children and the world. Others will learn how to love through you, and men will learn what loving their own wives is by seeing the example a godly husband and father shows.
Sacrificial action is an important part of the husband’s role as the head of the home. A servant leader puts the needs of his family first and helps them to develop. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet; He was there for them to teach and lead them. A husband should do the same and must not focus on his wife’s faults. He must rather minister and teach her, building her and strengthening her in her weaknesses therefore reinforcing his wife’s confidence. In marriage, being a servant leader means ensuring that the wife’s material, emotional and spiritual needs are met.
The Wife’s Roles and Attitude in a Biblical Marriage
Being a Helper
We have already established that God’s intention in making the wife in the marriage relationship was to make the woman the man’s a suitable helper. God made a woman to be her husband’s helper. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew meaning of the word “helper” in this passage is also used in the Bible to refer to God as He our helper. Psalms 46 :1 describes God as “the present help in times of trouble”.
The fact that this same word is applied to a wife signifies that women, as wives in a marriage, have been given tremendous power for good in their husbands’ lives. God has designed wives to help their husbands become all that God intends for them to be. Being a helper means supporting your husband in all he does, protecting him, being a teammate; understanding him as well as helping him according to your strength as a wife.
A suitable wife is compatible with her husband in many respects—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The wife has the power to either build or destroy her husband through the way she conducts herself. An amazing area where a woman can use her amazing strength is in the area of prayer, where she joins her God given role with the help that God gives. A wife is the best intercessor a husband can ever find.
In Ephesians 5:33, the bible commands wives to respect their husbands. This means revering, admiring and honoring their husbands. A good wife values her husband’s opinions, admires his values and character, and is considerate of his needs. The needs of any man include the need for self-confidence and the need to be needed. The woman can satisfy these needs in an amazing way and be a blessing to her husband. The way men define respect is different for every couple.
So as a wife, ask yourself the following important questions, what does respect mean to your husband, what ways have you been meeting these needs and what ways have you failed? Why have you failed and what inhibits your respect for your husband? How can you do better and what help do you need to this?
The wife’s job is set in the scriptures and the godly wife lives by the word. As a wife your spiritual life and your walk with God depends on your obedience to the word of God, so live according to God’s word. You should evaluate your obedience to the word by using God’s instruction to you and not on your circumstances. Never be found wanting in your obedience and justify your shortcomings by using because of the situation in your home as an excuse.
The people that seek to know the strategies to manage their marriages must have a firm foundation from the word of God upon which they can build their actions. This means understanding what marriage is, as well as having a solid grasp on the roles and attitudes that make for a godly marriage. Having established this foundation we may proceed to analyse the strategies that will ensure that we success in marriage.
Margaret Hungwe is a transformational speaker, an author and teacher of the word of God, an MBA graduate fondly known as sis Mags. She is the founder of Woman of Substance International a non-denominational ministry that is centred on Proverbs 31 v 30 ‘ a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised’.
This ministry teaches woman to know God for themselves, marriage, for single ladies how to wait upon the Lord faithfully for your own husband and how to be useful in the house of the Lord, realizing your calling and purpose on earth, how to advance in business and career in the marketplace, health and education.
This led to a birthing of a couples ministry called Married for Life which caters for all married people where the word of God is taught, how to stay strong and connected to each other in marriage and raising godly children.