“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” [Hebrews 13:4 NASB]
First a comment on translation here. Many versions of the Bible translate this a bit differently, making it a statement: Marriage is held in honour, and that the marriage bed is undefiled. The problem with this is it makes no sense. We know that when Paul wrote this, many did not honour marriage, and we know that sin can be brought into the marriage bed. I therefore do not see this as a statement of fact, but rather as a warning – which ties the final part in nicely.
Today I want to deal with the first part of this scripture – the admonition for all who follow Jesus to hold marriage in honour. In a society that has little respect for marriage, I fear we have become soft on our support of marriage. By support of marriage I don’t mean protesting anything the world does, but rather taking responsibility for the marriages in our sphere of influence. Don’t just hope things are okay, don’t just say a prayer when you know something is wrong – BE INVOLVED!
I’m not talking about meddling or offering advice outside your realm of knowledge. What I am advocating was brilliantly explained by Eric Payne in his Friends Of Your Marriage post. In my life I want my friends to be a friend of my marriage first and foremost, and my friend secondly. I don’t want someone who will agree with me to make me happy, or who won’t point out ways I might be hurting or limiting my bride to avoid hurting my feelings. I want someone who loves me, and my marriage, enough to risk our friendship to warn or help me. I want someone who will get in my face if I am blowing it with my bride. If you are more my friend than a friend of my marriage, you are not good for my marriage!
Imagine if most of the folks in our churches had this attitude. When a husband or wife was a bit out of line, they would hear about it, lovingly, from several folks. If they did not make needed changes, others would chime in. This would not completely end divorce, but it would end the all to common years of problems with one spouse not seeing it.
By the way – for the leaders reading this, being a friend of marriages means putting the marriage ahead of whatever service the man or woman may be doing. Scripture is clear that those with real marital difficulties should not be in leadership (which I would define as almost any position of authority or service), and allowing those not working on their problems to have leadership roles is harmful in several ways. Being in leadership makes folks feel that the church has said they are okay. Being in leadership may mean others are less willing to speak up when they see problems in a marriage. And the time and stress of leadership will only exacerbate any marital problems.
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Note: Drawing from the weeks I was unable to read, I have a massive list of links for this week. Skim it carefully, there is some great stuff!
New blog this week: – Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage – Mark Gungor uses humour to teach couples how to have better marriages. Makr does seminars, hosts the radio Better marriage Minute and a daily internet radio talk show, The Mark Gungor Radio Show, and has put out the book Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage .
Better Husbands and Fathers
5 Ways to be a Better Father: #1 – Quality Time/Getting Involved: The first in a five part series that looks like it will be very good.
Black and Married with Kids
Do Better, More Often In Your Marriage: Tiya Cunningham-Sumter says “I want to challenge everyone who knows better (which I am guessing is pretty much all of us) to do better. No more excuses, because now you know. It is just that simple.” Yes and Amen!
I Just Called To Say I Love You?: If your bride calls/texts do you expect it to be because she needs something or needs to tell you something important? If you call /text her does she expect the same thing? Maybe it’s time top change that.
Happily Married After
Marriage is the Willingness to be Miserable: Don’t judge the excellent article by it’s title – go read it!
Intimacy in Marriage
Pulling Back the Sheets: Genuine Dialogue Among Christians about Oral S.ex: This is a well done article on the issue of oral sex, and because it’s written by a woman it is likely to be better received by your bride than something written by a man. But PLEASE don’t use this as a club!
5 Tips to Consider Before Talking To Friends About Sex: Julie has a brilliant post here. While she is addressing women, her advice applies just as well to the guys.
Journey to Surrender
The Great Escape: Scott is dead.on.right in this post telling couples to get away WITHOUT the kids.
Man Up and Father Your Kids: Scott provides an excellent counterbalance to the post I mentioned above.
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage
Oral Sex in Marriage: Great article, and the end of the third paragraph is rich!
3 Types of Couples Survive Infidelity: A very interesting article here. It’s not surprising to me that those who see their problems as a couple problem rather than a his or her problem are the ones who thrive. The same is true for things like infertility, death of a child, bankruptcy and other such things. Those who see their marriage as a team tend to come out of crisis even stronger than they were when they went in.
Cheerfulness & Positive Reactions Contribute to Marital Happiness: Here is the proof that being a grump is bad for your marriage!
Are Househusbands the Ultimate Status Symbol?: Job loses in the last few years have more and more men at home while their bride works. Lori provides some stats and questions.
Financial Guru Saves Sex Life: A guest post by Tony DiLorenzo from ONE Extraordinary Marriage – could debt be killing your marriage?
We All Married the Wrong Person: An interesting article that seems to me to show that we should spend less time worrying about the rightness or wrongness of our spouse, and focus on what we can do to make our marriage better.
The Marry Blogger
Lazy Communication Doesn’t Cut It: Great post – lazy communication can do a lot of harm to a marriage.
Choosing. Again.: “If you are facing a big life decision, perhaps you ought to do what he suggested: decide, and then fully embrace that decision. ” Spot on, Kathleen !
The Romantic Vineyard
Project 52: I.Heart.List: If you like the idea of a “bucket list” – but don’t like the name, Tom & Debi have you covered.
Fruit of the Spirit: Love: I particularly liked this from Tom – “The fruit God produces in Debi’s life, is for my benefit as well as her good. ”
Fruit of the Spirit: Joy: More good stuff from Tom. Is there joy in your life?
A Fragrent Aroma: Papa on Duty: More wise advice from Tom.
The Difference: Entitlement vs. Exposure: Good article in which Corey expounds on a point he has made before. This clearly explains what he is getting at, and will (or should) nail some folks to the wall.
Label Their Clothes Not Their Souls: An outstanding guest post that I would apply to couples as well as parents.
7 Deadly Sins of Relationships: Corey puts out another MUST READ post here. Read it, examine yourself (not your spouse) repent and beg forgiveness as needed. Repeat.
There’s More To Life Than Sex: Relax, this is not an anti-sex post, but rather a pro-non-sexual touch post.
Secrets to Staying Married in a Blended Family: A great guest post from Melissa of Peace & Projects.