29th May 2003
The two of you should answer these questions, in writing, separately. We'll compare your answers and discuss the areas of similarity and difference.
Here's the initial description of marriage in the bible:
The man said, ``This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman', for she was taken out of man.'' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.- Genesis 2:23-24
(This ideal gets somewhat corrupted after the fall - see Genesis 3:16-19 - we can discuss this if you like.)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church -for we are members of his body. ``For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.'' This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.- Ephesians 5:21-33
### Discuss Ahabs and Jezebels.
Headship. What do we want to say about this? The only times I have needed to pull rank on Fiona have been on health issues.
Does either of you have an issue with headship? You'd better have compatible theology on this one!
The spiritual maturity of your marriage cannot exceed the spiritual maturity of the individuals in it.
You must achieve both integrity and kindness - they must be the same thing, so that for you to behave with integrity is to be kind.
How to live a godly life:
Pray together; pray for each other; pray for shared vision. Example: when Fiona is irrationally resentful, praying usually cures her. Have a regular prayer time together.
Find things that are shared secrets between the two of you. What works for us won't work for you (e.g. squeaked English) but you can find your own exclusive games. Lobster in the fridge.
(This section is much more important than the amount of space we've given it would suggest.)
You will often hear ``Don't try to change each other'' - well, sort of. There's no point in trying to change the other's style (e.g. one of Fiona's ex-boyfriends wanted her to wear skirts more often, settle for being a flute teacher instead of a performer); but we all need to change in substance ``from one degree of glory to the next''.
Don't take your spouse for granted in a way that makes you favour everyone else and leave the dog-ends of your time for him/her - e.g. talking to everyone else who's clamouring for your attention and assuming that the spouse won't mind being the one who gets missed out. Another example: don't answer the phone if it rings in the middle of a conversation.
Keeping each other's personal secrets. (We can't give any examples of this because they're all secret!)
Keeping others' secrets from each other. A tricky one. In a pastoring situation you will often be asked to keep things confidential. We would never promise anyone not to tell the other anything; but we would not volunteer confidential information - neither would the other ask for it, so in practice the secret is kept.
Loyalty. Never side with someone else against your spouse. (Especially not your mother). If you have a problem in the relationship, go to your spouse first.
Never running him or her down in public (or in private) ``Men are so insensitive!'', ``Women are so bad at parellel parking.'' No tut-tutting and raising your eyebrows to heaven.
Learn to budget. Decide on practicalities (e.g. who pays bills)
Your money belongs to each other, so of course consult on big purchases. However, we've found that it's simpler to manage two separate accounts than one joint one. (We have a joint account but never use it.)
Agree on giving vs. saving.
Taken from Nicky & Sila Lee's Marriage Book:
If you're reading a paper copy of this document, the soft-copy can be found at www.miketaylor.org.uk/xian/marriage/1-foundations.html