Marriage is War with Benefits

Getting married is easy, a 50 year Anniversary is not. To be married to someone for 50 years takes work.  .

For it to work takes 3 people: Jesus, Husband,& Wife. Jesus HAS to be the center of the relationship. and the closer the two move toward Christ the closer they get to one another. The Bible starts with a wedding, and it quickly moves to a war. The story of Genesis is that our first parents are married, and immediately Satan, the enemy of God, shows up, and he moves his war from heaven to earth, and from assaulting God and the angels to assaulting a husband and wife.

If your idea of marriage is that it is always happy, frolicking in the daisies, roses by the bedside, never arguing always getting along. Always “Yes baby whatever you want” it’s probably because you watch too much tv and believe what you’re watching or the people in your life haven’t been really honest with you. Imagine if you were a war veteran and you found out that a friend was just called into active duty. He’s getting a pay raise because of it (benefits increase) and he’s excited to fight for someone.But he has never been to war and doesn’t know about the harsh realities of it. Do you tell him congratulations or do you sit him down and try to prepare him for the reality of war? The veteran should tell the recruit the truth because he cares about his friend. It’s irresponsible to only talk about the positives in marriage and never get warned about the war.

The truth is that marriage is war. A spiritual battle rages between the enemy of God and his people, and God and His people. And for those of us who are Christian, our marriages are on the frontline of that battle, and the closer you move toward ministry, it intensifies, because Satan absolutely hates God. He hates God’s people, and he particularly hates marriage, and he hates Christian marriage, because Christian marriage is a portrait of the gospel. According to the Bible, marriage is a portrait and a picture of something far greater. The Bible tells us that marriage is a portrait and a symbol of Jesus’ love for the church. So marriage is a pretty big deal, beings that we are the Bride of Christ(The Church) He is the bridegroom coming back for a spotless bride and then there will be a wedding feast!! Ephesians 5, where it says that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to present her to himself as a radiant bride without blemish or spot. The history culminates in Revelation 19 near the end of the Bible with a wedding. Many parables Jesus taught were surrounding a wedding, His first miracle was at a wedding.

Paul says in Ephesians 5:22-33(HCSB)22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.
Paul is saying here that husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church. And so he’s saying that a husband and wife, in loving union, communion, and covenant are kind of like the relationship that Jesus has with the church; that as Jesus leads the church lovingly, and humbly, and sacrificially, so men are to lovingly, humbly, sacrificially lead their families. And as wives respect their husbands, they are showing something of the respect that the church has, or at least should have, for the Lord Jesus Christ, as the head of the church.

Women are called to be submissive to their husbands
Colossians 3:18-19(HCSB)18 Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.

Men we are called to Love our wives and Women you are called to obey and respect your husbands there is no variable in this. There is no what if I don’t like him?, what if he is a jerk? Nope, no variables respect your husband. But what exactly is love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7(HCSB)Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, 5 does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In the covenant of marriage, Jesus Christ is the capital-H Head. The Head of your marriage is Jesus, and the lowercase-h head is the husband, and the husband is to be part of the church, and learning about Jesus, and seeing how Jesus loves and serves and sanctifies the church. And then he’s supposed to take those examples from Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, be something like Jesus to his wife, so that she’s cherished, and she’s nurtured, and she’s loved, and she’s pursued, and she’s forgiven, so that she grows in godliness and grace and gloriousness, that the woman is the glory of the man, that she reflects his investment. As a church matures and grows, it reflects the service and the sacrifice of Jesus. So it is with the woman. As she grows, and flourishes, and as her children grow and flourish, it shows the service and sacrifice of her husband and her Lord.

Here’s the bottom line, guys. You need to love her like Christ loved the church. You need to take responsibility like Jesus took responsibility. You need to pursue her. You need to invest in her. You need to care for her. You need to cherish her and nourish her with the grace that God gives you.

So Satan attacks marriages, because marriages are an illustration of the gospel; and if Satan can destroy a Christian marriage, especially a ministry marriage—those couples that are seeking to honor and serve God with their gifts in the marketplace, home, or ministry—then he knows that he can affect generations. He can have their children, and their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren.
The marriage is 100% and 100%. It takes a lot to begin to live together as one. Realize this, Satan didn’t even show up to attack Adam and Eve until they were married. And for some of us, we have this naive notion that if we just get married, then our trials, and our troubles, and our temptations will go away. No, that’s when our enemy comes, and the battle will intensify. The storyline of the Bible is from a wedding to a war, and there’s been a war from the beginning surrounding marriage, especially the marriage of God’s people.

Marriage is also two things.It’s covenant and consummation, according to God’s Word. So first of all, covenant, you’ll find it in Malachi 2. “The LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth.” He’s speaking to the men here. “She is your companion and your wife by Covenant.”

Now, this is the big debate in our day is, is marriage a civil contract, or is it a biblical covenant? A civil contract is really just between two people. It’s more of a business arrangement; it’s a legal arrangement. It’s like two business partners merging into one firm. It’s civil. The Christian understanding, the biblical understanding, is that it is not merely civil but covenantal—meaning, it’s not just two people. It’s two people in God who oversees the covenant. I want to be very clear: that which is civil is civil and that which is covenantal is covenantal. And our view of marriage is entirely guided by Scriptures. And it doesn’t matter what vote is taken or what the politicians or the Supreme Court determine; ultimately, what we care about is what God has said. So it covenantal. This means that it is permanent, that it is exclusive, and that it is sacred.

Marriage is covenantal and it includes consummation. Two people who are sleeping together are not married because they don’t have the covenantal aspect—all they have is the consummation aspect. Two people who are really good friends and love one another and spend time together, but have not entered into covenant and consummated it, are not married.

This is why it’s covenant and it’s consummation: it speaks of this in Genesis 2:24(HCSB)A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife”—there’s the covenant—“and the two shall become one flesh.” there’s the consummation.

Christians think differently about everything, not just this thing. We believe we’re made male and female in the image and likeness of God, that marriage is not just civil and contractual, it is covenantal, it is for one man and one woman, and it is defined by covenant in the presence of God and consummation between the husband and the wife. Some translations say cleave, This word has two ideas behind it. One is to be “glued” to his wife, a picture of how tight the marriage bond is to be. The other aspect is to “pursue hard after” the wife. This “pursuing hard after” is to go beyond the courtship leading to marriage, and is to continue throughout the marriage. The fleshly tendency is to “do what feels good to me” rather than to consider what will benefit the spouse. And this self-centeredness is the rut that marriages commonly fall into once the “honeymoon is over.” Instead of each spouse dwelling upon how his or her own needs are not being met, he or she is to remain focused on meeting the needs of the spouse.

You Were Created To Be One

Husbands and wives: you were created to be one. That’s the way God set it up and that’s the way it should be. So why does it sometimes feel like you’re far, far away from that ideal? Intimacy can suffer when we get away from our God-ordained status of drawing together. Often when we hear the words “intimacy” and “marriage” together, we think the conversation is going to be about sex. And yes, sex is important for building intimacy! But it’s not the only aspect of true marital intimacy. Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, and in every other way, the couple is to become one. Even as one part of the body cares for the other body parts (the stomach digests food for the body, the brain directs the body for the good of the whole, the hands work for the sake of the body, etc.), so each partner in the marriage is to care for the other. Each partner is no longer to see money earned as “my” money; but rather as “our” money. Ephesians 5 gives the application of this “oneness” to the role of the husband and to the wife, respectively. Ephesians 5:21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Sex Plays A Role In Intimacy

Marital intimacy means so much more than just sex. But it does include sex. Because physical intimacy is key to maintaining a long-lasting, deep intimacy with your spouse. Sex isn’t intended to be some sort of obligation or “marital duty;” sex is intended to be a wonderful moment of pleasure and enjoyment! In marriage, the act of sex is one of the most expressive, vulnerable, and wordless ways you can create intimacy, as you and your spouse truly enjoy one another’s company, which is something that today’s readings express wonderfully. So make some time together with your spouse today. Deepen your intimacy physically with one another. It’s biblical!

Sex is renewing a covenant. The original purpose of sex was to “become one  flesh,” meaning a complete personal union. Sex creates deep intimacy, oneness, and communion between two people Genesis 2:24(HCSB)24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh;. In the Bible oneness is not simply a matter of emotion but is always the creation of a martial covenant. In the world view, sex is self-expression; in the biblical view, sex is self-giving.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5(HCSB) A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. 4 A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

God created sex, He created it for us to enjoy, He created male and female with body parts to enjoy one another. Sex becomes “bad” when it is done outside of the covenant of marriage.

God gave us Married people the gift of sex. There are two gifts after Salvation that God gave us for pleasure, Sex & Taste buds.

There are scriptures that speak about sex for pleasure, there is a whole book written called Song of Solomon.
Proverbs 5:15 (HCSB)Drink water from your own cistern,water flowing from your own well. 16 Should your springs flow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? 17 They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.18 Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. 19  A loving doe, a graceful fawn—let her breasts always satisfy you;be lost in her love forever.

The bible says multiple times in Song of Solomon not to “Awaken love “ before it’s time.

Song of Solomon compares waiting for marriage to guarding a vineyard. In the springtime of the year, when flowers are in bloom and all nature is telling you to go forth, be fruitful and multiply, the woman warns us of the little foxes that can damage the fragile blossoms of the vineyard, with serious long-term consequences for its fruitfulness Song of Solomon 2:15(HCSB)Catch the foxes for us—the little foxes that ruin the vineyards—for our vineyards are in bloom.. She reminds us that the farmer who invests his energy in protecting the integrity of the vineyard will not regret it later, even though the benefits of this painful perseverance won’t be reaped until the time is fully ripe.

Vineyard tending is a long, patient process of waiting and watching in which one failure doesn’t bring the whole endeavor to nothing. The farmer who fails doesn’t have to give up the vineyard as damaged goods. He can repent and rebuild the broken wall tear out the weeds and start again to watch and wait. Equally, while keeping the walls and weeding is important in vineyard tending, it is not the only thing. It’s about taking care of tender blossoms. Tending your sexual vineyard is therefore not simply about actual physical sexual intercourse; it is about protecting your mind from habitual lust, romantic fantasy, and pornography, all of which can have long-term damaging effects. You can have a vineyard whose walls are still intact but whose blossoms have been trampled into the muddy dirt in other ways.

The Bible is full of covenant renewal ceremonies. When God enters into a personal relationship with someone, he is not so unrealistic as to think that mere emotion can serve as the basis for it. He knows that human emotions come and go and that there needs to be something binding to provide consistency and endurance. So God requires a binding, public, legal covenant as the infrastructure for intimacy. It is far easier to be vulnerable to someone who has bindingly promised to be exclusively faithful to you than to someone who is under no obligation to stay with you for more than one night. Thus God demands covenants. But even that is not enough. He regularly gets his people together to reread the terms of the covenant, remember the history of his acts of grace in their lives, and recommit themselves through renewal of the covenant. The ultimate covenant renewal ceremony is the Lord’s Supper. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper renews the covenant made at baptism; through the breaking of bread and the pouring out of wine it reenacts the selfless sacrifice of Jesus to us. In addition, in the receiving and eating of the sacrament it reenacts the giving of ourselves to Jesus. We reenact the total commitment and oneness we have in Christ as a way of renewing and deepening that oneness.

In the same way, marriage is a covenant, one that creates a place of security for vulnerability. But though covenant is necessary for sex, sex is also necessary for covenant. The covenant will grow stale unless we continually revisit and reenact it. Sex is a covenant renewal ceremony for marriage, the physical reenactment of the inseparable oneness in all other areas—economic, legal, personal, psychological—created by the marriage covenant. Sex renews and revitalizes the marriage covenant.

God has built this great gift to bring a couple together. Dr. Stephen Arterburn says it this way: “Sexual pleasure is one of the most intense human experiences. Physically speaking, when a man and woman are together,” he says that, “a chemical is released into the brain called an opioid.” That means opium-like. He goes on to say, “Apart from a heroin-induced experience, nothing is more physically pleasurable. This is a wonderful thing in a committed marriage relationship, because it helps bond two people together and bring joy to living together and building a relationship.” It brings oneness.

See, so when God tells you to be faithful to your spouse, to practice chastity before marriage, to enjoy fidelity within marriage, what he’s saying is, “I want the best for you. I want you to be one with your spouse. I want you to be connected theologically. I want you to be connected emotionally. I want you to be connected mentally. I want you to be connected financially. I want you to be connected biologically. I want you to increasingly grow to be one.”

Marriage is far more than just a man and a woman. When it is covenantal, it includes the Lord Jesus, a portrait of the church and the eternal kingdom of God. And it is for those people who are in the New Covenant with Jesus—they’re in saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And the consummation is not sexual, but it is spiritual, where after the resurrection of the dead and all things are made new, just like a bride would go to live with her husband, so God’s people will go to his kingdom, the place that Jesus is preparing for us right now.

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