Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper
of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
Rev 19:6-9 KJV
Not only does human history open with a marriage; it is also destined to close with one.
Marriage is a special and sacred institution to God. God created marriage so that the family could springboard from the fountain of the marriage relationship. Because God created and intended all of these things before we entered the world, we look around and find that life is relational. Life is impacted by those to whom we are connected. We’re thinking about relationships right now and I know that God has wisdom in His Word that He wants to download into your heart, your family, and all of your relationships so that His plan can come to pass in your life.
In the text above, God Himself presides over the marriage ceremony of His own Son. As it unfolds, heaven and earth blend together in a symphony of praise and worship such as the universe has never heard before.
From Genesis to Revelation, the central theme of human history is marriage. God does not remain a spectator. He initiates the action, and it is in Him that it comes to a climax. From beginning to end, he is totally and personally involved in marriage.
When Jesus came to the earth to make God known to man, His attitude towards marriage harmonized totally with the Father. Just as the Father opened human history with a marriage, so Jesus opened His public ministry at the marriage in Cana.
When the wine ran out at the height of the celebration, He turned about 150 gallons of water into wine. It was no ordinary wine either, for the master of the banquet, after tasting it, called the bridegroom aside and said:
“and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”
John 2:10-11 NIV
What prompted Jesus to perform His first miracle in such a setting? What important truth did He demonstrate? The answer is simple: He demonstrated how much he cared about the success of the wedding.
Loving commitment takes discipline and perseverance. Simply put, discipline is to do what’s right even when you don’t feel like it. Perseverance means to keep going and keep doing what is right even when you don’t see results right away. Perseverance means you don’t give up easily. I want to talk about conflict in relationships. Conflict in relationships can take your relationships to new heights, but resolving conflict requires discipline and perseverance to get there.
Marital and relationship conflict is created in one of two ways:
- Couples fail to make each other happy, or
- Couples make each other unhappy.
The first source of conflict has to do with couples getting frustrated because their needs are not getting met. This is what I call failure to care.
The second source of conflict has to do with deliberately hurting each other – this is what I call failure to protect. Most relationships that fail have done so because men and women have a great deal of difficulty understanding and appreciating each other’s needs.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
We need to be acquainted with what is really going on in our spouse’s heart and mind, rather than assume what is there based on our own vantage point. The opposite sex often tries to meet needs that they would value, not understanding how different those needs are from their own. This often makes their efforts misdirected because what they appreciate the most, their spouses appreciate the least. Therefore you must do the work to find out what the other person in your life needs!
Let me just be sure to put it in perspective that no one person can completely supply all your needs. We should get our intimacy needs met from God, our spouse, and other adult friends and family. When you are married, aside from God, the main place of supply for your needs should be from the marriage relationship. Some needs cannot be met outside of marriage, and some can. These needs are so strong that when they’re not met in marriage, people are tempted to go outside marriage to satisfy them.
The vows that a man and a woman make before God in a marriage relationship are serious promises. Words carry power, and vows even more so because they are an oath. Oaths are spiritual words that establish a covenant. When a covenant is honored, there is blessing, but when a covenant is broken, curses go into operation because Satan has been given the legal right of entry.
The vows that are made in a marriage relationship allow a spouse the exclusive right to meet some of these important needs. When they are unmet, that is unfair to the spouse who must go through life without ethical alternatives.
Dr Willard Harley Jr., author of “His Need, Her Needs: A Christian Psychologist”, identified the top 10 emotional needs in a marriage.
- Domestic support
- Family commitment
- Financial support
- Honesty & Openness
- Physical attractiveness
- Recreational companionship
- Sexual fulfillment
When Dr. Harley began to research and isolate these factors based on what was important to men and women individually, he found of the 10 most basic needs, the five listed as the most important by men were usually the five least important for women. Every person is unique, and any individual has their own unique set of needs. Generally, this is what research found:
- Admiration & Respect
- Sexual Fulfillment
- Recreational Companionship
- An attractive wife
- Domestic Support
- Honesty and Openness
- Financial Support
- Family Commitment
Each individual is different, but generally, men and women have different needs. For example, when you talk about intimacy with men, they are thinking sex. When you talk about intimacy with women, they are thinking about deep conversations. Most men hear intimacy; think passionate, physical experience. But when a wife hears intimacy, she thinks emotional connection and communication.
For men, most of the time, the sex drive is connected to their eyes. Men are visually aroused. For women, sex drive is connected to her love. She is aroused after she feels emotional closeness and harmony.
Men compartmentalize aspects of their life from everything else in their life. Men are by nature compartmentalized creatures. They have
- Box 1 = work
- Box 2 = family
- Box 3 = hobbies
- Box 4 = church
Women see everything connected to everything else. There are the same activities, but each box has invisible, emotional thread connecting them all together. All boxes work together, and when one “box” is affected, it sets off a chain reaction. Our emotions are connected to our thoughts, minds, bodies. A woman’s life events are carefully threaded together.
Men generally feel less masculine if wife resists sexual advances. But she feels like a machine if she doesn’t experience sexual intimacy flowing from emotional intimacy. For a woman, emotional intimacy doesn’t come when one person gives in and you finally agree. It’s not about “winning the argument” to her. It comes when her point of view is listened to, understood, and validated.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together…”
1 Peter 3:7
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive your inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ…”
Marriage is a special and sacred institution to God. God created marriage so the family could springfrom the fountain of the marriage relationship. God created and intended all of these things before we entered the world, and we look around and find that life is relational. Life is impacted by those to whom we are connected. I know that God has power in His Word that He wants to download into your heart, your family, and all of your relationships so that His plan can come to pass in your life. Commit your relationships to Him today! You will be so glad you did.