A healthy marriage is made up of compassion, submission, respect and forgiveness. Did you notice that I didn’t even use the word “love”? That’s because all of the above constitutes love. When you demonstrate these character traits with others you are essentially turning these words into loving action. Love is being submissive, compassionate, respectful and forgiving.
Forgiveness is Love
When you forgive your spouse for something they have done against you or the marriage you are feeling love for them. That’s why you forgive because you love them! Do you see how that works? Forgiveness is saying, “I want to work this out with you. Therefore I will not hold in grudges or resentment because I have forgiven you”. Now because you have chosen to love through forgiveness you can get passed the pain and move on in your marriage.
Submission is Love
Contrary to ignorant, popular culture, submission isn’t being a doormat. It’s surrendering yourself to your spouse. The only way that submitting to your own husband would make you a doormat is if you allow it to be so in your attitude. It’s true there are some husband’s that treat their wives with disrespect but that is something else altogether. No woman should take any kind of abuse that would harm her own faith in God, period!
Did you know that even husband’s should submit to their wives, but not in the same way? In fact, a God-fearing husband ought to be making sacrifices and surrendering himself to his wife on a daily basis through his headship position. Jesus submitted and surrendered His life for our life—this is the same way husbands are to submit to their wives. A husband ought to be putting aside his own interests in order to properly care for his wife according to his God-given position.
Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NIV
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21 KJV
Love is Being Respectful
I think disrespect is a major problem couples face in marriage. Public schools or parents don’t teach the importance of respect for others anymore. Many of these youths grow up with selfish attitudes where they believe relationships including marriage should be catered to their every whim. But this is not reality. If you go into marriage with this kind of attitude you will surely be unhappy. I’ve seen this predicament between couples over and over again.
Happiness comes from understanding how to treat others with respect because you have already treated yourself well. What do I mean by that? I mean you have to grow out from your past hurts, addictions, resentments, and bad attitudes first, before you will understand how to love (respect) others appropriately.
Couples want and need to feel good about their position in marriage. For instance, if a wife understands from society that being submissive to her husband makes her a doormat then she is going to do whatever it takes to be the boss of her house. If a husband understands that being the spiritual head means he must become some religious fanatic who has to go to Church every Sunday and Wednesday, then he may decide to bow out of his headship/leadership responsibilities. Church can get downright boring at times. God should never be made boring because it is Him that gives us life!
In reality neither of the above is truth. It doesn’t come from the Word of God. But try and teach people something that has been drilled into their heads since they were kids. In reality a wife is exactly the opposite of a doormat when she submits to her husband’s love for her. She becomes the queen of her home. And a husband does not need to ever walk into a church building to be a man of God! In fact it may deter him in his willingness to have a growing relationship with His Savior The Christ. Why that is would take another article, but maybe you can figure it out.
In reality, by studying and reading the Word of God in the privacy of your own home, and talking to God through your personal relationship with Jesus, your teacher, you are the church! Wherever men and women of God go they bring the church with them in spirit and in truth. You don’t have to “go to church” to be saved! Worshiping God is in Spirit not in a church building. This is not to say that you cannot “go to church” if you want, but it is not a part of being saved. Church does not make somebody a Christian—it is what’s in the heart.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
Couples ought to be respecting each other for trying to do what is right. They ought to be supporting and encouraging one another in the Word of God and helping each other to be all they can be in the respective positions given to them by God. This is love! This is marriage!
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3)