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Exploring the Role of Worship in Marriage: How Does it Impact Your Relationship?

God instituted marriage for several purposes. God's intentions for marriage are companionship, partnership, sanctification of each other, and to illustrate Christ's love for the Church.  Genesis 2:18 identifies one of those purposes, 'The Lord said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him." To fulfill the need for companionship, God created the woman from Adam's rib. Companionship offers friendship, fellowship, and a sense of togetherness. In addition to giving Adam a companion to hang out with and enjoy paradise, God gave him a helper. Of all the things a woman is to her husband, nothing is more divine than the role of a helper.

In our society, a helper often refers to someone under another's authority or a hired assistant. In the context of Genesis 2:18, the word "helper" is the same noun used to describe God, as in "God is our help or our protector or our savior." God is not inferior to man but helps, protects, and saves man. Similarly, the woman is not inferior to the man but created as his equal. Her role is not to serve her husband but rather to serve with her husband.( God's instructions to Adam and Eve summarizes the additional purposes of marriage, to procreate and work in partnership to manage and care for creation.

Proverbs 18:22 reinforces, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord." Oh, what a pity for a husband or wife to reduce her role to cooking and cleaning! Service is a good thing. Partnership requires careful planning and concern for one another, which benefits the marriage in all areas. But greater is living in the spiritual role of protector, helper, savior, or rescuer in spiritual matters that will have a lasting impact.

God also uses marriage as an illustration between Him and the Church. This illustration is the image of Christ's sacrifice to cleanse those who accept Him as the only begotten Son of God. Of the many scriptures that reflect God as the Church's husband is Isaiah 54:5, "For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called." Another illustration of the marriage is  Revelation 22:17, 'The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the thirsty one come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." The husband sanctifies the wife as Christ sanctifies the Church (Ephesians 5: 21-25). If the husband submits to Christ and dies daily to his carnal desires, then he makes ready his wife for service to God. He puts her in a position of holiness. In this position, both benefit because it is God's purpose. Together, they usher in God's will on earth, perfectly illustrating what Jesus does for the Church, equipping the Church for good works, and impacting the world. Every Christian marriage should be a picture of Christ and His church.

In the marriage relationship, God has given us the responsibility to care for and be custodians of what He has given. Accountability is a personal responsibility. A comparison of two marriages in the Bible illustrates personal accountability.

Ananias and Sapphira:Death by Lying

Reading the account of this wealthy couple in Acts 5: 1-10, one may question God for allowing Sapphira's punishment to be death. Perhaps it's understandable her husband died after lying. After all, he initiated the scandal. She submitted to her husband's will. Aren't wives supposed to submit to their husbands? A wife submitting to ungodly leadership is not submission but a lack of assertiveness. The husband's responsibilities in Ephesians 5:25-26 compare to Christ's role in giving up himself and making her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.

If the Word of God forbids lying and cheating, which it does, then Ananias leading his wife to decieve does the exact opposite in making her holy. Holiness is our divine submission to God's will. Holiness allows God to use us for His purposes. Ananias used his wife for his greed. He didn't fulfill his role in protecting her or submitting his will to God's will. Ananias didn't give up his ungodly desires for his wife; instead, his commitment and love for money superseded his love for God. And what's sad about his actions is he had the liberty to use his money as he pleased. 

Our worship is our accountability. Given the chance to worship God in truth, Sapphira chose to follow her husband's request. She forfeited her divine role as his helper when she agreed with him. Not once did she rebuke this manipulative request, which may have rescued her husband from his death. Love is watered-down to either butterflies in the stomach feeling or a passive approach in relationships. However, Proverbs 27:5 states, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." It is a daunting task for a spouse to correct a spouse, especially when the relationship has yet to establish healthy communication patterns.

 We don't often experience immediate physical death from lying to the Spirit, but you can trust that the marriage is spiritually decaying. How can it not be when God's design for the husband and wife does not operate according to His plan? We must realize our responsibility for the God-given roles and understand the consequences of not fulfilling them. Sapphira bowed to her husband instead of God. 

Abigail: Standing in the Gap

Strength, courage, and an emotionally regulated helpmate describe Abigail, Nabal's wife. Along with these attributes, the Bible describes her as beautiful and intelligent. Nabal invited destruction to his family by responding harshly without the consideration of King David's generosity. Abigail without hesitancy intervenes to save the entire household (1 Samuel 25). After ensuring peace for her household, Abigail waited for the right time to communicate the severity of her husband's actions. The sobered Nabal realized his poor decision and later died as a result.

Like Sapphira, Abigail had a choice. She could have blamed her husband, followed his ungodly leadership, and allowed David to destroy what took years to build. However, Abigail acknowledged the Sovereign God by respecting David. Unlike her husband, Abigail submitted to God's will. From their responses, both Abigail and Nabal knew David, his position, and David's protection under the God of Israel. Abigail is the example of a Proverbs 31 woman. Her noble character, worth far more than rubies, saved her household. She knew how to manage her resources and lacked nothing of value. She brought good, not harm to him, although a wicked man. She set about her work vigorously, not waiting as imminent danger loomed over her head. She opened her arms to David and his men and extended her hand to their needs. She clothed herself with strength and dignity as she bowed before David, asking for forgiveness. She understood that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but fearing the Lord brings honor to all her work. 

Pulse check

  • Are you seeking a godly marriage more than the God who created marriage?

  • Do you provide strength for your spouse's spiritual weaknesses? 

  • Are you using God-given gifts, talents, or abilities or waiting on your spouse's acceptance?

  • Are you holding yourself accountable for decision-making or blaming your spouse?

  • Do you take time to learn, pray, and worship God even when the marriage isn't fulfilling?

  • Are you submitting to your spouse's sins because of fear or wanting to agree?

  • Are you committed to God's will to remain faithful?

God First

Marriage is important; God created it. Matthew 6:33 instructs, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." The goal of marriage should be to submit to Christ's authority and bring God glory. In seeking the Kingdom first, we must put aside ungodly thoughts or behaviors contradicting God's Word. We must hold ourselves accountable for our choices. It takes courage to seek God's will first. Seeking God's will demands that we put the feelings of others in the right position and ours as well. Your spouse's emotions, feelings, or behaviors should not determine your submission to the Lord. 

Marriage should be honored as God's design and for His purposes. However, when we choose our spouse over God's will, we swerve into idol territory. Worship is a daily and every decision practice. An example of choosing God and remaining in his role as leader is Job's response to his wife, which is indicative of his heart's treasure and his relationship with God. Job rebuked his wife's counsel and helped her to understand that even in our grief and complicated experiences, we remain devoted to God. "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" (Job 2:10).  In his suffering, Job held to his faith in God. It is a harsh response but a necessary reminder that God is to be honored. 

The purposes of marriage develop when we fix our hearts on God's will. We can be fruitful in spirit by multiplying love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We can create an environment for our children to understand who they are in God, and leave a spiritual legacy to influence others. By learning to regulate our emotions and submitting our thoughts, desires, and actions to the Lord's authority within the marriage, we illustrate Christ's love for and sanctification of the Church. 

Remember to do a pulse check often. Ensure you honor the Holy God, not ungodly desires and false submission. 


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