Webster in part defines work as: sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result.
Wow! I’m tired just thinking about that definition of work. But seriously, marriage is hard work!
So what exactly is our objective or desired result? According to God’s Word it is unity, honor, edification, submission to authority, spiritual fruit-bearing and unconditional love (I Peter, Ephesians, and I Corinthians).
Often when we enter marriage we come with pre-conceived ideas about what it should look like. We have high expectations. We come dragging in our over-stuffed baggage. We just aren’t realistic about what a healthy God-patterned marriage should look like. If you are in an unequally-yoked marriage, it can be devastating if you don’t grasp the biblical teaching concerning your role as God’s marital representative in that particular situation.
Back to the basics we go. First, there needs to be unity in the marriage. This can be difficult if only one spouse loves and serves the Lord. You must be in unity with Christ first, and then you can unify with your spouse in the areas of your marriage that don’t contradict God’s Word. Be at peace with everyone as much as depends on you (Romans 12:18). Paul addressed the first-century church no different than he would today: submit to one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Submission is such a misunderstood word in the church, especially for women. Godly submission is taught in the book of Ephesians and in the book of Romans, and its premise is demonstrated throughout the Bible. Christ is the Head (of the Church) and ideally the husband is submitted to His authority. The wife is to be submitted to her husband in the Lord. We all submit to some form of authority in our lives. We begin submitting to our parents, then teachers, law-enforcement, government, employers, church leaders, and more. Submission is best illustrated in John chapter 17 as Jesus prayed for Himself and submitted to His Father’s Will.
Also, we will exhibit spiritual fruit-bearing, worthy of the Lord when we dig our roots deep into God’s Word and cultivate the soil of our hearts with His Spirit. Galatians Chapter 5 tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” When we live a Spirit-filled life, we will display the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. This fruit-bearing should set us apart from those living in the world system. As Christians, we should display behavior that is God honoring and exemplifies Christ’s qualities that drew so many people to Him.
Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It is written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together.