“24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:24 NLT
Obviously the first couple did not leave their parents. This verse appears to be a lesson taught by the story itself. Therefore – or “for this reason,” (NIV) or “This is why” (NEB, JB) expresses the words of the writer, who observes from this divine model that marriage has been a God-ordained relationship from the beginning. Our Lord Jesus Christ cited this verse (Matthew 19:3-9) as the basis for His teaching, which upholds monogamy and stands against divorce. Another important paradigm is discernible in Genesis 2:24 (Kidner): marriage (“leaving”) leads to “cleaving,” which culminates in the sexual union, being one flesh (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:16). To cleave to God in Deuteronomy 10:20 is descriptive of the ideal relationship between God and man. So, too, it characterizes the closeness between a husband and wife.
People often misunderstand the concept of submitting to another person. It does not mean becoming totally passive. Our Lord Jesus Christ – at whose name every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10) – submitted His will to the Father, and we honor our Lord Jesus Christ by following His example. When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey His command to submit to others, that is, to subordinate our rights to theirs. In Paul’s day, women, children, and slaves were to submit to the head of the family – slaves would submit until they were freed, male children until they grew up, and women and girls their whole lives. Paul emphasized the equality of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28), but he counseled all believers to submit to one another by choice. This kind of mutual submission preserves order and harmony.
Submission provides evidence that we have Spirit-controlled relationships, and it requires the Holy Spirit’s guidance and restraint (Ephesians 4:2-3). In the church, the believers should be willing to learn from, serve, give to, or be corrected by others in the fellowship. Such submission can allow growth both individually and corporately as the believers seek to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. Our motive should be reverence (literally, “fear”) for our Lord Jesus Christ. We should not treat one another rightly just because it is expected or because we will be well regarded but because one day, we must give account to our Lord Jesus Christ of how we have lived.
Marriage Over Your (Husbands) Calling
You got a job offer. And it’s a big one requiring some big changes for your wife and your family. You feel like you owe it to yourself and your hard work in your career to talk with your spouse. You want to take it, but your wife is against it. What do you do? How do you choose your wife and your marriage over your calling in these types of real-life scenarios? For some men, especially those in leadership, your job requires immense responsibility involving tens, hundreds, and maybe even thousands of people’s jobs on the line with decisions you make. It’s easy to see your position in leadership at the office as becoming more important than your job as the leader of your home
So, when I look at leaders who believe they are forced every day to put vocation before marriage and family, I wonder what they think they are going to accomplish. No one is indispensable. Everyone can be replaced on the job. God can raise up another leader to do what you are doing. While I admire these leaders’ courage, success, and endurance, I can’t help but wonder if they misunderstand their calling.
If you are called to end world poverty, serve as the CEO of a major corporation or share the Gospel with tribes who have never heard it before, your calling does not exclude your marriage and family. It doesn’t require you to sacrifice your family members for this.
When you and your spouse become one flesh in Christian marriage, this becomes who you are. Your daily thoughts and decisions are now a part of your identity as a spouse. The rules are much different than when you were single. Add kids into the mix and you have another layer of responsibility to account for.
God made you with a capacity and gifting unlike that of any other. When you join into a marriage covenant with your spouse, you now have an alliance team with a capacity and gifting unlike any other. God doesn’t view this as a waste. He leverages them. That means if your marriage is to remain healthy, you are to make big decisions together.
Wherever God calls you, know that He does not call you apart from who you are. It is you the wife he is calling; it is you the husband he is calling.
You might experience seasons in which you are asked to prioritize your vocation or calling above your time with your spouse and family, but if season connects with season, your understanding of what God desires is likely off the mark. It’s worth asking your spouse from time to time to make sure you stay on the mark.
Her (Wives) Needs Above Yours (Husbands)
“In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise, you cannot pray effectively.]”
1 Peter 3:7 AMPC
Just as the wives were to accept authority, so the husbands in the same way were to give honor to their wives. That a husband should treat his wife with understanding implies more than just a kind attitude; it goes deeper, implying that his consideration of his wife is based on his knowledge of her needs, desires, gifts, and abilities. A husband who acts on his knowledge of his wife will greatly enrich her life, as well as his own.
While the wife may be weaker than the husband, she is his equal partner. In this context, being weaker refers to physical weakness, not to moral, spiritual, or intellectual inferiority. Peter used the term not to diminish women, but to build a case for respecting them. The men were not to bully their wives physically or sexually. Women had less authority in the marriage, so the husbands were encouraged to use their authority with respect for their wives. Their authority did not excuse abuse of power. While the woman may be “weaker,” she is also a “partner,” implying a side-by-side relationship of working together. A man who respects his wife will protect, honor, and help her. He will stay with her. He will respect her opinions, listen to her advice, be considerate of her needs, and relate to her both privately and publicly with love, courtesy, insight, and tact.
Some women have chafed under the biblical assertion that they are “weaker” and that they are to submit to their husbands. But these women need to remember that they are equal with men in God’s eyes. Even though God gave husbands authority in the marriage and family, wives are equal to their husbands in spiritual privileges and eternal relationships. Both men and women who are believers are partners in God’s gift of new life – eternal life. If husbands are not considerate and respectful to their wives, their prayers will not be heard. If men use their position to mistreat their wives, their relationship with God will suffer. A man should not expect to have a vital ministry in life or prayer if he is mistreating his wife in any way.
Yesterday, we looked closely at the importance of man’s vocation or job but not at the expense of the family. Today, we turn our attention to your wife’s top needs. Most men are not highly emotional beings. Men enjoy action more than words. In fact, studies show that women express themselves verbally at least twice as much each day as men do. But, if a man is to love his wife, he is going to have to make a transition and become more emotionally available to her to meet her needs. Keep in mind this isn’t natural for most men, so, it requires prayers and intervention from God.
Studies show that men tend to express words that convey information to get things done. Information can be shared without getting the heart or emotion involved. But if a husband is going to become who God wants him to be, he is going to need to learn to share his heart. For a woman, it is not enough to know what he did during a day. She often wants to understand how he influenced someone for the better, or how a difficult situation affected his heart, or how he needs her support and strength to accomplish his goals.
Consequently, God does not make His command to men lightly. If a husband wants God to hear his prayers, which ironically, he is going to need to be doing a lot to learn to be emotionally available to her, then he will seek to open his heart to her in an open and honest way.