Respect...Marriage...Be Faithful To Your Partner

September 20, 2008

( TEXT:  Hebrews 13:4)

What was once labelled infidelity and carried a stigma, is now an affair - a nice-sounding, almost inviting word wrapped in mystery and excitement - a relationship - not a sin. What was once a secret closely guarded - is now a bling thing...headlines, a TV theme, a bestseller, as common as the cold'. One song goes, ‘I don't care what's right or wrong...Just help me make it through the night.' Cheating is viewed as exciting; those who remain as faithful are seen as unenlightened or old-fashioned. Well, it is time to call a spade a spade! The Bible says " faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is ...unfaithful...' That is a sobering word! So before you go down that road, remember;

(1) Infidelity hurts your partner. Seeking fulfilment outside your marriage means that all the time, money and energy you devote to another person, are stolen from your mate. They end up paying for your betrayal.

(2) Infidelity is self-destructive. Lying to somebody who trusts you puts you in double-bind. No matter what happens, you lose. When you cannot tell your covenant partner the truth, you end up despising yourself. And the longer you live a lie, the more self-respect you lose.

(3) Infidelity camouflages the real issue. An affair may make you feel attractive and appreciated - temporarily. Meanwhile the real problem keeps growing. Nothing beats caring confrontation and honest sharing, because while the ‘Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow' (Proverbs 12:19). Contrary to popular thinking, an affair is not ‘as bling' as you think - and will not simplify your life. It will complicate it in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

Romans 15:5 tells us
" the attitude of Christ...toward the other."

A child in a Sunday school class defined marriage as 'holy acrimony.' Seriously. Dr Gary Chapman says: ‘Before he got married he dreamt how happy he was going to be. Six months after, he was...miserable - and so was his wife. He had entered marriage with the attitude that he knew how to have a good marriage. Listen to me he told her, and we will have one. There was just one problem: she would not listen! Remember Adam's wife, Eve - remember Lot's wife - did they listen? In desperation he asked God to help him, and he learned these three lessons:

(1) Your wife is your partner; not some trophy to be placed on display. She is not meant to be dominated and used to satisfy your needs and goals; she is your co-worker in accomplishing God's plan for you both. And you are to treat her as such.

(2) Communicate with her. Your wife's deepest need is to really know you. When you talk about your thoughts, feelings and desires you are allowing her into your life. When you go for long periods without communicating, you are cutting her out and it makes her feel isolated, unneeded and unloved.

(3) Make her your top priority after God. Most men draw their self-worth from work; things like pay scale, position and productivity. These should not necessary conflict with your relationship, unless your job takes over your life. Do not let that happen. Brothers, if your family has to choose between having more ‘stuff', or having more of you, they will choose you. The trouble is, you may not be sensitive to their needs or to giving them that choice.

Here are four great ideas for enriching your marriage:

1.) Practice unselfish love. Modern thinking says, ‘I will love you if you meet my needs.' That is selfish! It is also un-Christ-like. True love focuses on the needs of the other person. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did...Everything He designed to bring the best out..."

2.) Discover your wife's needs and try to meet them! Because men do not understand their wife's real needs, they make no effort to meet them. Just ‘putting a roof over her head and food on her table' does not cut it!  No, love, tenderness, communication and faithfulness are fundamental to her emotional health.

3.) Live by your values. Your moral values are your beliefs about right and wrong. Your spiritual values are about your relationship with God. Your marriage needs both! When you live by your values it is easy for your wife to honour you. But when she sees a difference between what you claim to believe and how you act, she loses respect for you.

4.) Grow together spiritually. What happens when your children leave, your sexual energy wanes and your season changes? Your relationship cannot only survives these things but grow stronger. How?  By reading and praying together. Only one in ten Christian couples do. This is an area where men fail to lead because of a sense of awkwardness and timidity. Yet it is here that your marriage can go to new depths and rise to new heights. Think about it!  The family that prays together stays together. Amen. 

I pray that you have been truly blessed by this teaching!