“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).
God commanded that a man and a woman through the sacred act of marriage make a home, unit, or “one flesh.” This home is not to be destroyed by anyone male or female inside or outside of the marriage (Matt. 19:3-9). These verses and many more show that anything other than the union of man and woman in marriage is wrong. Jesus said, “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Jesus clearly revealed in Matthew 19:3-9 that God’s intent for marriage was one man for one woman for a lifetime.
Notice that God nowhere said that a boy and a girl should leave father and mother and cleave to each other. Why? Because marriage is for grownups! Too many times children in adult bodies get married and then trouble ensues. As the title of this article suggests, marriage is work! The husband is the “head” of the wife and responsible for the family (Eph. 5:23). Paul said by inspiration that the husband was to be “head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church.” What was required of Christ as the head of the church? Well, it cost Christ His life, and if man enters marriage unwilling to give his life for his wife and his home, he needs to grow up! Jesus did “all things well” (Mark 7:37). He (Jesus) provided for his holy bride the church and husbands are required to do the same (I Tim. 5:8).
The husband is to love his wife (Eph. 5:25). The husband is to love his own wife as his own body (Eph. 5:28), and this takes a lifetime of work and dedication. The very meaning of the word love in the context means “to have a preference for, regard the welfare of” (Thayer Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 3). When a man loses his preference for his wife, his charge is to get it back! When a man loses his interest in providing for the welfare of his wife, he’s to get it back! The scriptural picture is in sharp contrast to the picture seen in the world, and too many times in the church. Many times men lose interest in their marriage and quit, but that’s not what is taught in the Bible. In fact, “God. . .hates divorce” (Mal. 2:16). God also charges the husband with the training of the children in service to the Lord (Eph. 6:4). It is a sad but true observation that in many homes the mother is more concerned about spirituality. Yet, God charged the father to bring the children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Oh, yes, that takes time, but if dad is to be the father that God would have him to be, he will plan his life and make time to train his children in the way of the Lord. What a sad picture it is to see a smartly dressed little boy or a pretty little girl file past their dad and out to a waiting car to go to Bible study without him. Will a neglectful dad pay for such sin? Yes, and he will pay dearly! (Mark 16:16).
The inspired apostle Paul wrote to Titus and charged the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:3-5). I know of no finer outline of the work of a godly wife and mother.
Just as the husband is to love his wife, the wife is to love her husband. The 13th chapter of I Corinthians is love defined. Evaluate the beautiful qualities of love and then evaluate yourself and your spouse. Oh, the challenge is there for everyone!
Next, think about the charge to women to love their children. Anything else is unnatural. Look at the animal world. Will an animal defend its young? Certainly! Will the animal mother see to the nurturing and food needed by its young? Sure! Will an animal stay at home with its young while they need attention? Absolutely! Who in their right mind can conceive of a mom killing her unborn child? Even animals know better than this. Women must love their children.
The work of a woman in being descreet, chaste, homemakers is the answer to societal woes. A summary of these words means a pure and holy woman who has concern and interest for her own family and influences the home she makes. Her love and interests are at home and when this is true, obedience “to their own husbands” is the natural course of action. With the advent of mass numbers of women in the public work place in our generation, advice of workplace peers had become more important than the love and respect for one’s husband, resulting in tremendous destruction to homes, children and society. Sadly, the influence of the world has moved once godly women and mothers to impurity which is exactly what walking in the counsel of the ungodly will do (Ps. 1:1). If a woman will remain pure, love the Lord and her own family then she will never be found in such a terrible place as to be a blasphemer of the Word of God. The Proverb writer in the long ago said, “Who can find a virtuous wife?” (Prov. 31:10).
There has never been a time when this message could and should be more clearly seen than now. Are we teaching and living as we should in regard to the work of a man and a woman in the home? It is most important.
-David Hill, TBC President