The Marriage University

I spoke recently with a husband who was struggling to come to terms with his own responsibility in his home. To help him grasp one of the concepts I came up with a new analogy which I had not used before. I share it here to give you additional focus on the journey couples make in graduating into glory.

Different Roles in the Marriage

Husbands and wives have unique roles in the marriage. There are specific things husbands must do, that their wives are not asked to do. There are specific things wives are asked to do, that their husbands are not asked to do. Both husband and wife must make personal progress in their own assignment, irrespective of how the spouse is getting on with their challenges.

Different Places of Responsibility

According to the Bible, God has established human society by way of a hierarchy of responsibility. That hierarchy starts with God. Almighty God has the ultimate authority and the greatest responsibility, overseeing all else. Directly under God’s authority, and next in the hierarchy of responsibility is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Then, directly under Jesus Christ is the husband. In the marriage and family, the husband carries the next level of authority and responsibility. The wife, is then under the husband’s authority, just as the husband is under Christ’s authority and Christ is under God.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Corinthians 11:3

Different Lessons to Learn

Many specific responsibilities spring from this hierarchical structure. The Husband must shoulder responsibility for the wife, children and home. He is directly answerable to God for his management and handling of the relationships, standards, training and spiritual blessing of the home. This includes morality, godliness, the fear of God, holiness, discipline, direction, spiritual and natural protection, and more.

The Wife must bring herself under the headship of the husband. This will be hard for her if she looks only at her husband. She must recognise and place her trust in God and Christ, as the husband’s heads. If she fails to do that she will end up taking matters into her own hands, making demands of her husband, manipulating, contending and otherwise failing to submit to his headship.

The husband must be able to nurture his wife and children, while being sure that he is answerable to Jesus and God, not others who will seek to direct his life. He must ensure that he does not abdicate to his wife, and allow her to replace Christ as the head of the home. If he allows her to do that he brings spiritual problems into the whole family.

Marriage University

Both husband and wife are attending the same university of life. They attend classes together, but both must learn different lessons from the life situations which they confront. It is as if they are both sitting side by side in the lecture hall, listening to the lessons. Yet the husband is enrolled in a different course to his wife. He will be set different assignments and tested on different questions to his wife, even from the same professor.

The husband is studying headship of his wife and submission to Christ. The wife is studying submission to her husband and faith in Christ and God.

The Curriculum

The Marriage University is an open book, mastery learning, life-experience oriented environment. The curriculum covers the same scope for all who attend, but the individual differences of each student are taken into account by the teachers. Some will study longer and be challenged with more difficult lab tests. Some will find that the open learning environment continues with extension courses for the rest of their lives.

Honours Courses

Each couple should make it their determination to graduate with Honours. High Distinctions are the best objective for each elective and every test. When a person graduates with that standard they are guaranteed many graces and much blessing from their diligent and faithful application.

The fruit of the course begins to be enjoyed long before graduation. Each lesson learned opens the couple to new joys and new privileges in their relationship. In time they will be expected to tutor other students and may well become emeritus professors themselves, as they make the grade and master the curriculum.

Here’s to Your Studies

I wish you every success in your studies. Please don’t drop out of the course. There’s nowhere to go if you can’t stay in the lessons.

And may the Living Lord God bless your relationship as you study and master the material together.

Your Family Score Card

Keeping out of the public eye is a major challenge for celebrities, politicians and notable people. The Paparazzi love to snoop into the private and personal lives of well known people. Many people deeply resent this intrusion and the incredible pressure it brings.

Guy Sebastian went from relative obscurity to international fame due to winning the first Australian Idol competition. A few months later he was travelling in a car with his uncle and was spotted by people in other vehicles. The attention he drew was embarrassing and intrusive. He slumped out of sight and remained hidden for most of the journey. A man was once approached by a security officer in a store, because he appeared to be heavily disguised. The man turned out to be Michael Jackson, just wanting to go and do what normal people could do freely, but which his popularity made impossible.

While that kind of popularity really cramps a person’s lifestyle, there is another scrutiny of each person’s life that we need to be aware of. God is watching us and our family. In fact, your family is on your personal score card.

Consider these examples from the Bible. When a man was being considered for leadership in the church his wife was to be evaluated. She was to be a submissive wife who did nothing to ruin his reputation. She was to be a sober and reliable woman. The man’s children were to be obedient to him, so it could be said that the man properly ruled his whole household.

The Apostle John also pointed out that it is not what people declare to be true that should be believed, but what you see them do in their family life. If a man says “I love God” but hates his brother the man is a liar. Family life is a more true reference point than the grand statements which people make.

So, don’t think you can leave your family life behind and go off to earn your own fame and reputation independently. That doesn’t work with God. God knows if you are jealous, resentful, spiteful, intolerant, unforgiving, manipulative, contentious or the like. God sees what you do in the privacy of your own home, and He remembers how you were in your childhood family. Your family is a big part of your personal score-card.

I like to put it this way. Your family is like the early childhood lessons of your education. If you fail in these earliest of classes then you never really graduate. All the lessons that you do from then on are compromised by the failures of those early classes.

If you resent your parents, despise your sibling, won’t forgive a family member, compete and dominate in your home, then you have failed the earliest lessons in life. You will go on to do those same things in your work, marriage and future family.

You should have learned to forgive, love, care for others, be generous, suffer loss, trust God no matter what, be at peace with all people, and so on.

Did you fail the earliest grades of life? Have you come out of your childhood with bad responses? If so then you need to go back to those things and put them right. Ask God to forgive you. Put your heart right toward your parents, siblings and extended family.

While your family is on your score-card, it’s a score-card you are able to change. You can put things right and change your personal record, turning ‘F’s into High Distinctions.

How’s your Family Score-Card looking today?