...Kingdom Keys to a Happy Marriage...
Within the walls of every society lies a mix of ATTITUDES, OPINIONS, and PHILOSOPHIES that stain the souls of stubborn mankind; seeking to maintain peaceful relationships through a warped view of God and human nature. Left unchecked, a worldly demeanor cultivates hard hearts and robotic lifestyles, leaving no room for the Kingdom of God to be revealed.
Have you ever noticed that principles in God's Kingdom function the complete opposite of what culture and society teach? For instance, God says: to give and you will receive; to humble yourself and you will be exalted; to lay your life down and you will live; to submit to one another that you should inherit a blessing!
The term "submission" can be such a foreign concept. Whether viewed as a sign of weakness or as outdated protocol, many Christians will refuse to adopt a lifestyle of "submitting one to another" - especially in marriage. Tragically, all too often our words and our actions don't match up, when it comes to practicing life application skills of God's Kingdom principles.
1 Peter 3:1 says, "...wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." The word subjection actually means: to obey; to submit to one's control; and, to yield to one's admonition or advice. It is a voluntary attitude of "giving in". Are you in the habit of cooperating with the plans, ideas, and advice of your mate? Do you practice submitting?
Perhaps you are thinking, "My husband doesn't deserve my submission. He is too demanding. Besides, he's not even a Christian. I could never give in to his immature ideas." Peter tells us that as we worship God with a servants heart toward our mate, we present the gospel of Jesus Christ by our actions. He goes on to say that God places great value on a meek and quiet spirit. My friend, if the Lord calls something precious, then, we need to heed the importance of practicing Kingdom principles - whether we agree with our circumstances or not. Ladies, you can actually change the mood of your husband simply by making room for him to be the head of the household... even before he realizes his position!
Of course, Peter goes on to say in verse 7, "...husbands, dwell with them (wives) according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife..." Ideally, men and women should submit to each other. There should be a mutual submission, one to another. When couples live according to this principle, the Word of God says that your prayers as a married couple will not be hindered. This is your goal!
The problem that I find in ministering this concept to most married individuals, is that, usually one person "gets it" and the other person does not. So then, the same argument continues between them that she won't submit and he doesn't give her honor. Nothing can ever be accomplished until somebody gives in and - GOES FIRST!
God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). While it doesn't make any sense - in our minds - to give in to a situation that seems unfair, the Lord assures us, "...and if you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye... (1 Peter 3:14)." Jesus himself suffered unjustly so that He might bring us to God (vs. 18), so we, also, should learn to have the same mind set as Christ to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
I know, some of you are thinking, "Yuk, I will never let anyone run over me! Submitting sounds like I must put up with abuse." Submitting does not mean that someone should be able to take advantage of you. On the contrary, they cannot take advantage of you, because you willingly offer a peaceable solution to every situation. In reality, you have the upper hand, because you have brought about the Kingdom of God in the midst of their rebellion. This is where the Lord steps in, shows up, and does miracles!
I remember the Lord teaching me to submit to my husband years ago. At that time, he was lost, immature, self-centered, and irresponsible. I thought, "God, you must be kidding! How can I submit to my husband when I know he will make a mess of things?" Still, the Lord confirmed in my heart that I was to submit to my husband and that He would be faithful to take care of our family, even when my husband made mistakes or poor choices (vs. 4:19). Did everything go smoothly? No, not at all, but in the long run... we were never ashamed! You see, in order for my husband to rise to his rightful position as head of our household, I had to step out in faith and act according to Kingdom principles before there was any return on my investment.
Today, my husband is the born-again, spirit-filled, leader of our home that I had always hoped for. We now mutually practice submitting one to the other and we see God answering our prayers as a family - on a daily basis. Things that were once considered overwhelming obstacles to us are now merely opportunities for us to call upon the Lord - together - for help.
Remember: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishith, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" - 1 Peter 1:7. So while submission may oftentimes seem to be a "trial of your faith", remember this is exactly what pleases God.
Think of it in terms of a little child submitting to their parents. We too, need to submit one to another to bring peace, love, and joy into our homes, as the Kingdom of God takes up residence in our lives.
So get started! Stop fretting over your outward appearance and start grooming the inward parts (1 Peter 3:3-4). For it's the sweet, submissive holiness of a God-fearing woman that has the power to bring a man to his knees in worship to the King of Kings.
Blessings In Christ!
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women