Sunday, June 5, 2016

Marriage Counseling 101

Temple Baptist Church - 6-5-2016
Proverbs 5:15-19


A.  If you got this sermon by email, don’t let it worry you because it will take more than one Sunday morning to preach.  I will get you home in time for lunch or dinner.  I have been preaching on the home over the past few Sundays and the preaching has taken the form of marriage counseling.  This is as it should be.  I do not marry young couples until I have counseled with them because:

1.  They are new at it.  Young couples know very little of what we older married people know.  They will learn through experience what makes a good marriage work and, hopefully, will listen when I counsel with them before they take “the leap!!  Deer will not jump over a solid board fence because they cannot see where they will land.

2.  I am good at it.  Married 47 years to the same woman and love her more today than the day we got married.  Barbara and I have been through about everything together and it has made our marriage strong.

3.  Since we have established that God owns marriage (the world may try to tell you different but it does not change the fact that God established it in Genesis 2:20-25) we need to understand that the Bible sets forth the parameters in which the home is to operate.  One man, one woman, one lifetime.

B.  I did not have the privilege to sit down with most of you as you were married before I became your pastor but, after being around you all for 29 years, I see that you need some! J   Many of you have been married longer than I but it is still a good thing to make sure that your marriage is operating within the criteria set forth in the Bible.

Psalms 26:2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.  (God examines us through the Bible!  As we try the “spirits” in the Book of James, we try our marriages by making sure that they are all that God intended for them to be and the Bible is the final authority on the subject.)

C.  I have seen people married for a long time either split up or become strangers within their own homes.  Marriage is to be progressive in nature.  The longer that you are married, the closer and more in love you should become if both parties are right with the Lord within the marital home.

D.  Let us look at some things that make a marriage work.

1.  God must be the head of the home!  He instituted the marriage in wisdom because man was lonely and needed a help meet.  God made the woman for the man to complete what was lacking.  God set the parameters of the home.  I re-emphasize this because people have a tendency to get a little perturbed at the pastor when he preaches on the subject.  Your marriage is not only your business, but it is also God’s business.  Keep your home in line with the Bible!

2.  Remember that marriage is made by God to last!  Mark 10:9  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Romans 7:2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  (Do not go into marriage with the idea that, if it does not work out the way you wanted, you can end the marriage.  You are not trying on a new pair of shoes to see if the fit and are comfortable, you are getting married which requires the taking of vows before both God and man.  It becomes our solemn duty to faithfully fulfill such vows.)

3.  Be aware that God has set forth the “chain of command” in marriage along with the individual responsibilities of both husband and wife!  I will not and cannot finish this message this morning so, if I pick on the men first, don’t get mad at me.  And you ladies had better not take the Sunday off when it is your turn!  I have an old saying: “God gonna get you for dat!”

a.  The responsibility of the husband.

1)  To love his wife.  Don’t be like one lady who told me, “Preacher, I love you but I don’t like you!”  The woman that you married needs to know and be told that you love her.  It takes little effort on the man’s part to repeat 3 little words, I love you, that mean so much to the wife. 

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

2)  To provide for his wife.  I do not think that a man needs to be bragged upon because he works a job and “brings home the bacon.”  Paul dealt with the issue of a lazy man when writing to Timothy.  I knew a man who wouldn’t work a job of tasting pies in a pie factory.  My dad used to call men who had a problem with working as “trifling lazy.”  Hard work never killed anyone. 

1 Timothy 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

3)  To protect his wife.  I am not making this a commandment to own a gun or weapon of some sort to protect your family and home with but, at the same time, I am dispelling a wrong notion that gun ownership is wrong.  People use the “turn the cheek” verse in order to teach pacifism.  God’s men were never and should never be pacifists!  David, a man after God’s own heart, was a man of war.  Peter cut off a man’s ear with a sword and God commanded his disciples to sell their garment and buy one!  God has given both right and obligation to self-protection as well as the protection of one’s home and family! 

Luke 22:36  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

4)  To understand his wife.  I know that this is impossible for most of us as women are totally confusing to us men but, we need to understand the needs of our wives and meet those needs.  Women are tough!  God made them that way but they are also very fragile in areas.  We men need to provide strength and gentleness at the same time.  As a pastor and as a man, I shelter my wife as much as I can from this man’s world that she lives in. 

1 Peter 3:7  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

5)  To be faithful.  Trust is one of the most important aspects of a marriage.  Trust is something that is to be given with no background experience required.  When I was trying to get a job in the mines many years ago, the superintendent of Fies #9, a Coal Company owned by Island Creek Coal Company, would tell me each day that they were only hiring experienced miners.  One day I asked him where I could purchase such experience so that I could get a job there.  Marriage trust is something to be given at the wedding but, once breached, is hard to regain.  Jealousy has no place in a marriage but neither does unfaithfulness. 

Proverbs 5:15-19  Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  (16)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.  (17)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.  (18)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  (19)  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

b.  The responsibility of the wife.
1)  To desire her husband. A woman’s desire should be to be all that she can be for God and to do all that she can to please and take care of her husband.  I know!  The modern women of our day who have spent several decades under the influence of the Women’s Liberation and WOW will cringe at that statement but what I just said is the Biblical reason for woman’s existence.  A helpmeet whose desire is “to thy husband.”  Ladies, your husband is to be your life. 

Genesis 3:16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

2)  To be submissive to her husband.  I do not apologize for this point as I am not trying to be politically correct.  I am trying to be Biblically correct!  “Do you so promise?”  I’ll guarantee that all of you ladies said either “I do” or “I will.”  I teach this to every young woman who is getting married so she can opt out if she desires.  Husbands, for this to work, you have to be the loving spiritual leader of your homes!  Do not lead your wife contrary to the Bible and expect her to stop following the Lord.  I ask you to follow me AS I follow Christ.

Genesis 3:16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Ephesians 5:22-24  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  (24)  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

1 Peter 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

3)  To love her husband.  The verse that I will give to you for this point is an interesting one.  The husband is COMMANDED to love his wife but the elder women are to TEACH the younger women to love their husbands.  The First Mention of “he loved her” is found in Genesis 24 when Isaac took Rebecca as his wife.  Women learn to love their husbands while men are commanded to love their wives.  I believe that, according to the Bible, women—through obedience and desire—grow to love.  Women are creatures of emotion and emotions change into a true bonding love over the years as the husband cares for, loves, provides, and protects.

Genesis 24:67  And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Titus 2:4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

4)  To teach her children.  First, to teach their children about God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and how to be saved.  Timothy had both a godly grandmother and a godly mother who passed their faith on to him.  His father was a Greek and nothing is said concerning his faith or lack thereof.  Second, to teach their children godly character and behavior through example.  The public school system is trying to get children at an earlier age because they are moldable.  Child training begins in the crib.

2 Timothy 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Titus 2:3-5  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  (4)  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,  (5)  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

5)  To guide her home.  Guide means to be the leader.  There is no contradiction here as the role of the wife and the role of the husband to not clash.  Women have a God given ability to know when the direction of the home is not right and, as heirs together of the grace of life, she is vital in the proper decision making of the home!  My wife is sharp as a tack and adds to, becomes the “checks and balances,” and my greatest advisor.

1 Timothy 5:14  I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Proverbs 14:1  Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Proverbs 31:27  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

c.  Due benevolence.  I realize that we have a mixture of young and older people in the service so I will keep this on a level that the adults understand and the children will not.  I will not belabor this point and will use Bible terms.  We are to teach every aspect of the Bible and these epistles were read to the entire church, children included, so God knows what He is doing and says what He needs to say on the subject.  A man once told me that I should not teach and preach through the Song of Solomon in mixed company.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. 

1)  One, touch not.  We live in days of public displays of what God intended for private display.  My dad, many years ago, cautioned me as a young man to not being too much “hands on.”  He certainly did not want me to be “hands on” in private either.  As dating replaced courtship, young people are being left more and more to their own devices without proper chaperoning.  I know that you are married and love one another but some things are better left at home.

Ecclesiastes 3:5b “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing”

2)  A natural desire to be met.  “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband”  God knew what He was doing when He both made and sanctioned the “boy-girl” thing.  I sure am glad that I love a woman!  She still continues to amaze and attract me, even in my older years.  It is natural for men and women to desire each other because God made it that way.  BUT, the physical relationship of men and women is sanctioned ONLY within the bond of matrimony!

Hebrews 13:4  Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

3)  Rendering due benevolence.  In the Song of Solomon, we find the words “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”  When speaking to the child of God, the Bible says, “Ye are not your own.”  When a couple get married, the body of the man belongs to the wife and the body of the wife belongs to the husband.  That is why the Holy Spirit uses the words “Defraud ye not” when speaking of the physical relationship of the marital bed.  You defraud by withholding that or taking that which belongs to another. Any withholding needs to be with the consent of the other only in times of fasting and prayer.  I think each one of us also know that there are other times such as sickness, etc. when we respect each other.  Enough said on the subject as God thought it was enough said.

Corinthians 7:3-5  Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.  (4)  The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.  (5)  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

4) A “safeguard” against lust.  “and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency”  A good relationship between a man and a women within marriage as “marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.”

d.  Maintaining a spiritual atmosphere within the home.

1)  The family’s altar.  The Bible and prayer should be welcome within the walls of the Christian home.  Someone once said that the best kind of Bible is a read one and praying should be a family affair.  The love of the Lord thy God should be preeminent in the home.  We are to have God’s Word in our hearts, teach it to our children, talk about it, and let its principles be the rule and guide of the marriage.  We need to read the Bible and pray as a family.  Bible reading is not just for church days and neither is prayer.  God should not be a stranger in our homes.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  (6)  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  (7)  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  (8)  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  (9)  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

2)  The family’s faithfulness.  It is imperative that families be faithful to the house of the Lord!  I know that there are times when the “ox is in the ditch” but, as much as lies within you, be faithful!  It is easy to make excuses for staying out of church.  I have noticed over the years that some families always have some reason for not coming to church while other families are always there.  Faithful and unfaithful families both have the same problems but, what keeps one out does not hinder the other one.  Faithful people are faithful!  I thank God for a wife that took my children to church when I had to work.  She was there for every service and every revival service.  I was there for every service unless I was at work.  The mines would swing shifts, a month on first shift and a month on second shift.  That meant that I could not be in church on Wednesday nights when on second shift.  But, as a family, we were and are faithful to church.  Church services are not optional!

Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

3)  The family’s finances.  I want to deal with two areas of finances: tithing and spending.  Every child of God is commanded to be a tither.  I know that there are some who do not tithe but they are both disobedient to the Scriptures and missing a blessing.  Since Barbara remained home to take care of the family and did not work, we operated upon one income while raising a family.  We did not have a lot of things that others had but Barbara chose to stay at home and be there with and for the children.  Since December or 1976 (I was saved in November of 1976), we have NEVER missed our tithe going into the church offering plate.  It still thrills our hearts to both tithe and give to missions!  Two, live within your ability to earn!  Credit Cards, gotta have its, etc., have been the end of many homes.  I had rather have less in the eyes of this world and be right with the LORD than to have all that this world has to offer and rob God of that which is rightfully His.  I can tell you by experience that you can live better on 90% than you can on 100%!

2 Corinthians 9:15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.  (Many preach this out of context and say that the unspeakable gift is Jesus Christ but, within the context, the unspeakable gift is the grace of giving!)

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