27 Jun Colossians #9 – Enjoy Your Marriage (Colossians 3:18-19)
– Audi Pastor MarkDriscoll here at the Trinity church in Scottsdale Arizona, really excited to provide for you the series of sermons based on the book of Colossians. It’s an amazing book of the new Testament, where the Apostle Paul is writing from prison to a newly planted church. And we took a few months here at the Trinity church to go verse by verse through this book of the Bible. I’ve had the honor of preaching and teaching perhaps a few dozen books of the Bible in my career. And this is the first time I’ve ever been through Colossians and I’m really excited that you can join me. All right if you’ve got your Bible go to colossians chapter 3:18-19 and while you’re finding your place let me tell you a little bit about the Bible. This is the Bible it’s actually a library 66 books, 39 books in the old Testament, 27 in the new Testament. And we are removed a few thousand years from even the most recently written books of the new Testament and that being the case, I wanted to learn some years ago, what was the context that the people were living in who originally received these particular letters. Particularly today Colossians and so jumped on a plane went to Greece, Israel, Turkey. Those would be the places on our map today that you would find these locations. Hired some archeologists, some professors, some tour guides to go with me and just wanted to learn how did people live a few thousand years ago? And so when they received this instruction, how would they have heard what they received? And I’ll never forget we were down in an archeological dig and I was there with an archeological professor and we were looking at the excavated ancient home that dated to a similar time period is this book of the Bible that we have the honor of studying. And I said well, explain to me, How did the family live? What was their, their normal lifestyle like? And he said, well, usually most people lived in a single story home it was fairly simple and on the top there was a flat roof and the dad would have that as his domain, he would have the patio upstairs. And if you had an affluent family and it was a two story home, then dad would live upstairs. In oftentimes mom and the kids would live downstairs. And that architecture really tells you not only how it was architected physically but also emotionally and spiritually that the husband was over the wife that the father was over the children that they literally were under his feet. And that you are not allowed to go upstairs if you were a wife or a child. And he was allowed to come downstairs at any time for any reason but you were not allowed to go into his domain, he was allowed to come down into your domain. And the result was that the wife and the children were considered his legal property along with the livestock and the real estate she didn’t have legal rights. So if your dad did something you couldn’t call the cops because there was no authority above your father, he was all together domineering. If your husband did something that you found displeasing, you had no legal rights even if you wanted to file for divorce and you were a woman, only a husband could fall for divorce not a wife. And so what you have is a domineering overbearing possibility. If a husband is loving and gracious and kind, and a father who is warmhearted and devoted then you might have a healthy functional family. But it was oftentimes the case that the man was domineering, he was overbearing, he was ruling over and literally standing over his family. So when we read this we need to understand how they would have received this. So when we read in Colossians 3 that Paul or God, I should say through Paul speaks to husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees. He speaking to everyone because here’s what happens, if you only give responsibilities to one party you set up a domineering relationship. If you only tell the husbands to do something and not the wives then the wives will dominate the husbands. If you only tell the wives to do something and not the husbands then the husbands will dominate over the wives. So it is with parents and children and employers and employees. God has rights and responsibilities for everyone and what he’s trying to set up is loving, healthy, life-giving safe homes for women and children to live in loving relationship with a husband and father. That’s the whole impetus and that’s the goal of what we see happening here. Now that being said, this is very unusual we’ll read it in just a moment, note what is said to the women. The women would have expected to hear what they were being told, this was very common, this was part of legal status and also what they call household codes but what would have been very controversial and very unexpected in the text we gonna read today is that they were directives to men. Nobody told men what to do, men did whatever they wanted. Nobody exercised authority over men, men were the highest authority. There is little perhaps even no historical record outside of the Bible commanding and demanding how men should treat their wives and their children. The Bible is very unusual it’s counterculture in that. And so when we read the Bible, the parts that we find offensive are the parts that they would have not found as offensive. The parts that we don’t find offensive, they would have found highly offensive. What am I talking about? Colossians 3: 18-19. Why have I said so much? This is my wave deploying the airbag before we read the verse. Okay, so here it is Colossians 3: 18-19. And this is actually my area. It’s Colossians 3:18-19 wives, what’s the word ladies?
– [Ladies] Submit. Okay, fairly enthusiastic better than I was anticipating. Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands what?
– [Husbands] Love.
– Love okay, little more enthusiastic good, your wives and do not be harsh with them. Okay, let’s talk about that for 40 minutes there’s a lot there to unpack, okay. Now some of you knew this was coming and you’re like come on, let’s go to church. Oh, what a coincidence honey, he’s talking about you, okay. Some of your friends are texting Ha! Ha! We stayed home we knew what was coming. Okay, so we gonna talk about husbands and wives. Now when we read this we tend to be offended by the part that tells the wives to submit to their husbands. They would have been offended by the part that tells husbands to love their wives, cultural context, being different. The reason that women and children are treated with dignity, value and worth in our culture is in large part because of the impact and effect of God’s word, it wasn’t that way previously. That being said, what does this mean? We’ll deal with what it says to the wives and what it’s says to the husbands. But let me first say 11 things that it does not say cause some of you are gonna hear what you wanna hear or you will not hear what I came here and allowing you to hear, you hear me? Okay, so here we go 11 things it does not say, it does not speak to single people, this is for married couples. How many of you are single single people? Okay, coffee’s free meet afterwards welcome to the Trinity church, okay. For everybody else, this is not referring to single people, but to married people and it’s not referring to two non Christians that are not in the Lord. This is referring to married people who are Christians so how many of you are Christians and you’re married? Okay, this one is for you, you welcome. Okay, number two, it does not speak to an arena outside of the home. This isn’t saying anything about politics and I won’t either and this doesn’t say anything about the workforce, this is in the context of marriage, that’s all we are talking about. Number three, does it say that a wife needs to obey her husband, ladies yes or no?
– [Ladies] No. No, no ,no and sometimes you can say no Amen okay. Now in the next section, it’s gonna talk about husband and wife and in the next few verses is gonna talk about parents and children, that being said, it will tell the children to obey their parents but it does not say that the wife needs to obey her husband in the order of the home the children are to obey their parents, but husband and wife, it doesn’t say that the wife needs to obey the husband. This is important because sometimes the misreading of this assumes that he just gets to tell the kids what to do and he gets to tell the wife what’s to do and it is to kind of boss the whole family around. Everybody needs to do what they’re told that’s not what it says. It does not say obey not in this context. Number four, this does not mean that the wife is less valuable, intelligent, or competent. One of the first things you’ll learn when you’re a man and get married is you’re not necessarily the most competent okay, there are a lot of things that your wife is good at that you’re not good at and you’re glad she’s around. What this means is in a marriage there are things that she’s good at, there’s things that he’s good at and you learn to lean on one another and you learn to sort of take care of one another. So in our relationship Grace and I, I’ll give you an example. I don’t really know much about health and wellness, diet, health, nutrition I didn’t know much I was very unhealthy. Grace, we say she should have went to medical school, She loves diet health, nutrition, wellness. She’s got a communication degree. She really loves, health and wellness. So some of her friends years ago called her Dr. Grace, cause every time their kids get sick or a problem would come, she would have some sort of homeopathic, natural pathic remedy, right. Put garlic in their ears and then the earache goes away and rubbed the rabbit’s foot while you’re touching the duck. And then the vertigo will be cured I mean all, I didn’t know that, that’s amazing. That Grace knows this stuff and what I’ve learned over the years is if the kids are sick no one comes and asks me. No one comes and asks me, dad I don’t feel good. I don’t have a burrito pray about it. I don’t know, you know, I don’t know. I got nothing I’m no help at all go ask your mom your mom knows this stuff. And every time we’ve taken the kids to the doctor, Grace will say here are the symptoms and here’s what I’ve told them to do and here’s the remedy. Here’s what I’d put in their supplements and now here’s what we’re doing. And the doctors doctor does two things agrees and bills me that’s all that ever happens when we go to the doctor. Oh, she was right that’d be thousand dollars thank you so much. I should have given grace 500 and pocketed the other, you know, she knows health and wellness. So what that means is there are areas that she’s more incompetent, She’s more competent. I’m so incompetent I just miss said competent for incompetent that’s how incompetent I am. Grace is more competent in certain areas and as a result she’s more intelligent in certain areas and the areas that I defer to her and I learned from her. Number five, this does not mean that men are superior and women are inferior Amen. Let me just tell you this, most men know that and those who don’t are really inferior that men and women are equal in the sight of God, and this is not a statement of one gender being above the other and superiority or value. Ladies does this mean that a wife does not have independent thoughts?
– [Ladies] No. No, you’re pretty quick with that answer, okay. I’ll never forget one time, I had a conversation with a couple and I asked a woman, what do you think about this? And she said, I don’t know, ask my husband. What? No, no all of your ideas are not in his head, right. You have some ideas in your head too, and you’re allowed to have your own ideas you can think and come to your own conclusions and have your own opinions that’s certainly not what this is saying. Does not mean that she cannot express her thoughts and feelings, Ladies, are you allowed to express your thoughts and feelings? Yes or no?
– [Ladies] Yes. Yes we said that, okay. Now, your husband wants me to tell you to do it in a respectful way so I will do that you’re welcome, man. Okay, but you can express your thoughts and your feelings this doesn’t mean that the wife doesn’t think anything and the wife never says anything cause part of it is the wife is to be helpful and uprooted wife is from the Lord the Bible says, and if a wife doesn’t say anything and she doesn’t share anything, that’s not very helpful, that’s how a lot of guys make a lot of bad decisions because they’re not getting any input that would be helpful to them. And the wife can be particularly helpful. This does not mean that a wife cannot seek to influence her husband. There’s a difference between influence manipulation, but it does not mean that the wife cannot influence her husband. There are guys I know, for example in business they got a plan it’s not a great plan they’ve missed a few things they haven’t consulted their wife. Their wife is seeing some things that they’re missing And as a result she needs to talk to him and help influence him because the decision is going to be making is not the best and it could harm the family. It’s good for a wife to seek to influence her husband. It also does not mean that there is a particular personality type for a wife and for a husband. Sometimes people read this and they get really weird about Like, where the husband should be the extrovert, the wife should be the introvert and the husband should be verbal and the wife should be more quiet. And you know, the husband should be the big personality. The wives should be the little personality. There is no personality test that goes with Colossians 3 You can be whoever God made you to be, there is no set personality type that we’re trying to shoehorn all the men and all the women into. That’s not what it says either. Number 10, this is a weird one than doing this job for 20 years and every once in a while, I’ll have a wife come in and say, well my husband, he immediates my relationship with God. What are you talking about? Well she says well there’s God and then my husband and then me and so my relationship with God is through my husband. Is that true? No wrong guy His name is Jesus. 1st Timothy 2:5 says there’s only one mediator between us and God that’s Jesus. So wife has a relationship with God the father through God the son, the husband has a relationship with God the father through God the son they’re to worship together, they’re to pray together, they’re to read the Bible together, they’re to seek God’s will together. But what brings her close to the Lord is not her husband it’s Jesus. What brings him close to the Lord is Jesus and they both need to be nurturing and pursuing their relationship with Jesus. And then they’re growing together as worshipers and lovers and friends. And number 11, this does not mean that this should be forced it’s voluntary. This is something that is from the heart in the context of a safe, loving, healthy relationship. That’s the impetus and the focus here, it’s in the context of a loving, healthy life giving, safe relationship if you take the relationship out, all of this is very scary and very dangerous. If you put a loving, healthy life-giving biblically surrendered relationship as the context, then this makes a lot more sense. But I’ll tell you this as where these verses are like soap especially for us men, right. The more you use it, the less you have. And you’ve got a serious problem in your relationship if you have to use these verses all the time. If you’re the guy who has to say, for example, I’m the boss, I’m the boss, I’m the boss. You know what we know? You’re not the boss, right. Because if you gonna to keep saying it, it’s not a fact, Jack that’s just the way that it is. Okay, my humbly loving, leading, giving, serving, then you will be recognized in your position of family leader. Now, that being said, lemmie say a couple of things to wives, eight things to wives. Number one, the order of the Bible is singular headship, plural leadership, this is important singular headship, plural leadership. So God the father, God the son, God the Holy spirit, the Trinity, the God of the Bible after which our church is named, God the father, God the son, God the spirit they’re equal. They lead together but the father is declared the head. It says that the head of Christ is God the father, that’s what it says. In our church we have a governing board that is the legal head, but the head of the church is Jesus. So it’s plural leadership, singular headship. He is the head of the church, so it is in the family. It says that the husband and the wife, the mom and the dad, they lead together but the husband is the head of the family that’s what it says over and over and over and over and over and over and over in the Bible that’s what it says. That’s why practically in a company or in a nation, you’ve got a president and a vice president, on a sports team you’ve got a head coach and an assistant coach, you get on an airplane, there’s the pilot, there’s the copilot. Co-leadership singular headship, plural leadership, singular headship that’s God’s intended order. That’s why people who are not even Christians, that’s the way they tend to set up their organizations, their institutions, and their governmental structures, that’s the way God has hardwired the world and it includes the family. Number two ladies, I love ya Lemmie just say this, you can both be domineering. In our culture it is more familiar that men can be domineering. Lemmie just say that men can be domineering, overbearing. And let me also say women are capable of it as well, Amen. So sometimes it’s the volume. Sometimes it is the emotion. Sometimes it is the recruiting of children for the war to overthrow that. Sometimes it is the threatening and punishing. I know one woman some years ago she looked at us, which she said, either get my way or I’m divorcing you I’m taking half of all you own and I’m taking the kids. That’s a hostage negotiation where the children are caught in the crossfire. Okay, that’s domineering, that’s overbearing, that’s threatening. Men and women are both capable of being domineering. That’s why in this section is gonna give directives to the wife and the husband so that it’s not the wife domineering over the husband or the husband domineering over the wife. But it’s the Lord ruling over the husband and the wife pressing them together toward a loving, mutually respectable orderly home and life giving loving relationship. Lemmie give you another one ladies. How you treat your husband sets a precedent for how your children treat you. Many women get very frustrated with their husband, meaning. Lemmie say that all women get frustrated with her husband. Lemmie just say it like it is, okay. At some point you will get frustrated with your husband but if you leak vent on your children or recruit your children to match against your husband it’s very shortsighted because what you are teaching your children is to rebel against authority. And when you do that you should not be surprised that the children now no longer respect you, they don’t honor you, they don’t listen to you. And say I don’t know why these kids don’t listen to me. Well because you declared war on him and what you just taught your children was we rebel against all authority in this home. And what you’re doing ladies you’re sawing off the branch that you sit on. You’re saying we’re getting rid of authority, hey kids listen to me. No, you can’t have it both ways. Either everybody respects authority or nobody respects authority and if mom doesn’t honor dad then the children will not honor mom or dad. That’s why in context right here, 18 and 19, it talks about marriage if you just read the next verses, it talks about parenting because it sets a precedent that the children will follow. Give another one, it got colder at here I don’t know what happened was that, did I hit a nerve? Was that a point, okay? Some ladies are like, I didn’t like that, Men are like say it again. Okay now moving right along. Okay point number four, ladies should you submit to your husband if he’s telling you to do something that’s sinful? Yes or no? No, because it has to be in the Lord. That means it’s in alignment with God’s will, given an example some years ago, I knew a guy who ran a company, his wife worked with him in the family business, she was the accountant he came to her and he said, I need you to cook the books, I need you to change the accounting, And she said no, I’m not gonna be dishonest with the accounting, he said, I’m your husband and your boss you need to submit to me. The answer is, you’re not the highest authority here that we were to live kingdom down not culture up. And you’re not the boss God is and we both need to submit to him and if you tell me to do something that God says is wrong, I need to obey his authority and you should as well. So she said no, I’m not gonna do that because that would be ungodly that’s not what the Lord would have me to do. So this is not leading someone in sin. And let me say this as well, contextually in Ephesians 5 and 1st Corinthians, are many other places in the New Testament that talk about these same principles and what it does it often talks about respect, about a wife respecting her husband. And lemmie say this these issues are really contingent from person to person. So I’ll give you an example when it says, you know, husbands love your wives, what one woman finds loving might not be a big deal to another woman. What one woman finds unloving may not be a big deal to another woman. So you know what a husband needs to do is ask his wife. Was that harsh ? Was that loving? Similarly, a wife needs to ask her husband, Was that respectful? Was that disrespectful? It varies from person to person that’s why the Bible gives us principles and then in the context of relationship, we need to determine the methods. How can a wife be respectful? How can a husband be loving and not harsh? That really depends on who you’re married to, right. And so what I want you to do, I want you to talk about it, I want you to pray about it. I want you to think about it. I want you to listen to one another and I want you to ask, I want you husbands to ask your wife, how could I be more loving and less harsh? And don’t argue and get defensive. Just write it down and receive it. Wives, go to your husbands say, how could I be more respectful? Don’t argue, don’t defend, listen, receive it. All of this only makes sense in the context of a healthy relationship. In addition, what I’m saying is that the marriage relationship is one that requires tremendous faith, that when a husband and a wife come together, there is always a tendency for him to think I need to be in control so I’m safe. There’s a tendency for her to think, no, I need to be in control so I’m safe. And they both need to surrender and say, we trust God to be in control. And this is where marriage takes tremendous faith. That God will take care of me, that God will take care of them, that God wants good for us both, that God is ultimately in control and we don’t have to be in control. We can be in relationship and we need to live under the one who is in control that’s what faith is. It’s trusting that over both of you is a God who loves you both. Lemmie say this as well for wives. Jesus is your example, talks about the Lord here Jesus was under authority and in authority, we all need to learn both. Some of you are good under authority, but you struggle being in authority. Some of you love being in authority and you struggle being under authority. Jesus was in authority and under authority. It says when he was a child in Luke 2 that he submitted to and obeyed his parents, his parents were imperfect, He was perfect, but He submitted to them, He yielded to them. It says as well, Jesus declared I didn’t come to say what I wanna say, I say what the father tells me to say, I didn’t come to do whatever I wanted to do, I’m here to do with the father wants me to do. And Jesus says, not my will be done, but your will be done. Jesus was under authority and he was also in authority. He says all authority has been given to me that’s what he says. He gives commands to us, He gives instruction, correction, and direction to his disciples, He was their leader. So all of this to say, it’s good to be under authority, it’s good to be in authority and Jesus is our example for both. And just because you’re under authority doesn’t mean that you are lesser than, it means that you are following in the example of Jesus who was both, me say this as well. This is not necessarily a bad thing this could be a very good thing. I’ll give you an example, there are a lot of times Grace and i coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary, we’ve been together almost 30 years if you include dating. There are a lot of things that I’ve said and done wrong. I will now share with you one that I did right okay We don’t use this verse a lot in our home, I don’t wake up every morning and say, wife submit to your husband he’s here and I don’t we don’t talk about this a lot, we don’t break this verse out this is not like, you know, painted over the doorpost of our home you know, this is not the first thing you see when you walk in the last thing you see when you walk out. There are occasions that Grace and I disagree. Very rarely do I pull this verse out. This is like a fire extinguisher, right? In case of emergency break glass, okay. This very rarely comes out. I’ll tell you the last time this came out at our home, okay. So Grace and I got married at 21 between our junior and senior year of college we’re flat broke. I bought her the best ring I could afford it was simple, she was grateful, but it wasn’t impressive. coming toward our 25th wedding anniversary, I thought, you know what? I’d like to buy my wife a new ring to celebrate 25 years together. And so we talked about it Grace didn’t ask for it but I suggested she said yeah that’d be great I’d love to consider getting a new ring, awesome. So some months ago we were you know, out shopping and there’s a jewelry store, I said hey, let’s go, let’s go check it out. She’s like, okay, so we walk in looking at the case, she’s looking, looking, looking she sees one She’s like, Ooh I liked that one. She didn’t say it exactly like that but that’s the best I could do. Ooh I like that one, I said okay, well let’s see that one. They take it out and she gives me the look, you guys knows the look , right? There’s that look like, I gotta get this, there’s that look. My wife doesn’t ask for much, she looks at me, she’s like, I really like it, I said okay, put it on your finger. She does this as soon as she starts it’s like, okay, now we’re officially test driving the ring, okay. She looks at it, I said you like it? She’s like, I really like it. Okay, here’s my wife, my wife says, but it’s not our anniversary yet. She’s Old Testament I’m New Testament. So she thinks she can’t get the ring until our anniversary. I’m New Testament and I’m like, no I don’t believe that. So I said no, no, let’s buy it today let’s buy it right now. So here’s my wife’s question, ladies what’s the question? How much is it? Okay, I married Marianne not ginger. Right, she’s thrifty that’s who I married, okay. You’ll get that on the way home that was funny. And so- she asked how much it is. And this is where I know that it’s all gonna grind to a halt cause I’m the spender my wife is the saver. That’s just how it is I blow money all the time. And she clips coupons that’s my girl. So I know that she’s not gonna want to spend a lot of money. They tell her how much and she takes it off, She’s like, no that’s too much. And I was like no, no, no, no that’s good, okay. Now we officially have a situation, okay. I want to spend the money to buy her the ring, she does not want to spend the money though she really likes the ring. So I looked at her and I said, honey, you need to submit to your husband and let him spend all this money and buy you the ring. Okay, that’s the last time we use this verse, we don’t use it hardly ever, but my wife she likes to give, she struggles to get, she will serve, but she struggles to be served. She’ll give gifts but if you give her one, she feels bad receiving it. So here’s my goal as a husband, my goal as a husband is to take better care of my wife, that she would take care of herself. So occasionally it’s like, you need to take a nap, honey, you’re not sleeping, I can’t I have so much to do. No please take a nap, please take a day off, please spend my money, okay. Okay, all right I got one clap that’s a start. I’m not proud, man I’ll start with humble beginnings. I’m just saying that this doesn’t need to be a bad thing. If you love one another, if you care for one another, if you wanna take care of one another, sometimes your spouse takes better care of you than you would take care of yourself that’s the one time I got it right. In a moment I’ll tell you about all the times I got it wrong. Now let me say this to the husbands, let’s talk to the husbands here. So wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord and what this doesn’t say this doesn’t say that women should submit to men. I just I know why I didn’t clarify that. I have two daughters do you think I would ever tell them just do what men say. No, in fact that’s the last thing I would ever say. All we’re talking about here as a husband and a wife that’s it, okay. Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them, okay. So a couple of things for the men. Number one, God wants us to be a loving, safe, healthy life giving place for his daughter before she’s your wife she’s His daughter. And as a daddy with girls, I can tell you the father’s heart is that the husbands would be healthy, loving, safe, generous life giving for his daughter. Number two, when it does say that the man is the head and it says that in the New Testament. What that means is not that he’s the boss, not that he’s in charge. It means that his wife and his children are a garden and men we are the gardeners. We are to love, bless, protect, nourish, so that our wife flourishes so that our children flourish so that our family flourishes, right? That if the family is a garden, then God wants us men to be gardeners tending to, loving to, attentive to investing in. Lemmie say this as well, men. Number three, this does not mean that the husband makes every decision it means that the husband is involved in all of the decisions and takes first responsibility for the decisions. I’ll give you an example, when we first moved here, school got out much later where we moved from then when we moved here. So we missed the enrollment deadline for school and we got five kids we’ve got elementary, junior high, high school, college. So I’m trying to figure out how to get all my kids in school and nothing is opening up it’s actually very discouraging and frustrating. Furthermore, they all be on different schedules, so I don’t even know how we’re going to do Christmas. I mean, the whole thing is just chaos and Grace and I are feeling the burden of this. And so we started talking and praying and two opportunities came up. I lean toward one she lean toward the other. We sort of disagreed a bit and we both prayed about it, we prayed together, we prayed with each other, we talked about it, we talked to the kids, we did our research, we make our decisions together. Highly relational decision making style in our home and Grace came in and she said Mark, I really feel strongly about this school. I said well, I feel about this school but I feel less strongly. You’re a godly woman you walk with the Lord, your God is usually right. I found that the Holy spirit lives in Grace’s guts. So she’s like in my gut? I’m like, I’m going with that, okay. So with that I said you know, honey, I could go here or I could go here but I’m gonna defer to you on this. Let’s enroll the kids in this school, but we’re agreeing to do it together. And if it doesn’t go well I will pivot, I will come up with some solutions and options and I’ll find a plan B in case it doesn’t work out. But I will not look at you in front of the kids and say, see I told you, so your mom picked the wrong school, right. So we went to the kids we said, okay, we gonna enroll you here and it all worked out supernaturally, I mean the door open, and this is our decision. And the first week of school it did not go well. I won’t even tell you about the first day of school the fruit I picked up because like, how was it? And they told me they melted my eyebrows I was like wow, that was amazing, they did not want to go back, okay. Some of my kids were that’s it find us a website We gonna get homeschooled. Like, I mean it was like, okay. Okay, this was a rough entry, okay. It would have been devastating if I would have looked at the kids and said, well, your mom picked it talk to her good luck with that. I deferred to her, we agreed on the decision, I supported it and we stuck with it and ultimately ended up being the absolutely right decision. Things worked out, the kids are doing great, they found their friends, they got their group. It all worked itself out. Grace had a conviction, I trust her walk with the Lord and her love and affection and devotion for the children. And we agreed on that together, we walked into that. What this doesn’t mean, men is, you make every decision. It means that you’re involved in every decision and you take responsibility for the consequences of the decision. Let me say this, husbands love your wives, lemmie tell you what your wife hears. What she hears is this, “be my friend”, this is key to everything. If you take friendship out of this, it’s unsafe. If you take friendship out of this, it’s scary. If you put friendship in this, it relieves a lot of burden, heals a lot of hurt, eliminates lot of fear. I said, let somebody make decisions, he’d be like, no. How about your best friend who knows you, who loves you, who serves you, who cares for you, who has your best interests in heart Well okay, how about a stranger? Nope not making any decisions. How about an enemy? No way Love. The context here is friendship and this is written 2000 years ago, but some things never change. There was a study done by psychology today asking happily married couples, what’s the secret to a happy marriage? The number one most frequent answer that they gave was quote, “my spouse is my best friend”. It was a guy named John Gottman. He’s a sociologist and marriage and family therapist. He says he could predict divorce with a 93% success rate. He interviewed men and women and he said, though men and women are very different. There’s one thing that they both agree to 70% of men, 70% of women, the number one most important thing in the marriages we’re friends, we’re friends. One of the Bible’s definitions for friendship is in the songs of Solomon 5:16 the second half of the verse. She says he is my lover and my friend. How’s your friendship? Grace and I like to talk about three kinds of marriages. The shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to shoulder marriages are inevitable. we gotta feed the kids, we gotta do the laundry, we gotta run the little league, we got to help them with homework. There’s just a lot of work that you gotta do together when you’re married. Just a lot of shoulder to shoulder. Back to back is when we’re fighting, we’re disagreeing. I’m not talking to you, I’m not looking at you, I’m turning my back on you, Literally, we hit the bed, you roll over I roll over. We’re back to back and we leave enough room for Satan to nap between us, that’s back to back, okay? Face to face is the Bible’s language for friendship. It says that Moses met with God as a man meets with his friend. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians that when Jesus returns, we will see him face to face that’s friendship. When a husband and a wife are devoted to their friendship, the rest of this makes sense and apart from the context of a friendship, none of this functions very well. Here’s what I’m saying. There are issues and there’s the friendship. What’s more important, the issue or the friendship? The friendship. Some people will take an issue and make it more important than the friendship and the blow the whole family up over an issue. No issue is that important, the friendship is primary and if you will focus on the friendship, if you will invest in the friendship, if you’ll value the friendship, if you’ll work on the friendship, then the friendship will be strong enough to address whatever the issue might be. Some of your problems can be traced back to this simple situation. You keep talking about the issue, but you’re not working on the friendship and the issue is breaking the friendship. And so sometimes it is good for a couple of to pull back and say, you know what? We gonna shelve that issue, we gonna work on the friendship. When the friendship is strong, then we will revisit the issue, am I making sense? Men when this was written men who heard this originally in the church, they were absolutely furious. My wife has no legal rights, I rule over her. She does whatever I tell her, I can commit adultery. She can’t, I can divorce her. She can’t, she’s literally, there under my feet. Now I gotta go down there and love her and not be harsh with her. Now what I’m doing is I’m making myself vulnerable. I’m getting into a friendship and now I need to love her as Christ loved the church. See we read this and the first half is offensive. They read this the second half was offensive. Dudes were getting up walking out of church, they were very upset by this. And the wives were all like we love this Bible study let’s do this every week, okay. It’s about the friendship. So let me say this as well for the men. Jesus is your example, Jesus was a servant. And what happens is what kills a friendship and the reason that men become harsh is because we’re selfish. You serve me, you accommodate me, you consider me, you orbit around me, you relieve my burdens. Jesus came not to be served but to serve the Bible says that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. That a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and that’s not selfish, that’s servant. This would have required men to get off the porch, to come down the stairs, to serve their wife, to serve their kids, to love their wife, to love their kids, to build a friendship, to build a relationship and stop being harsh and domineering. So that he was then a safe person in a safe place for her to trust that he had her best interests and the best interests of the children at heart. And he was not going to use or abuse them, but he was going to love them and to serve them. This is where the conflict ends and you both surrender and you take care of each other and you let the Lord be in charge, and neither of you sits on His seat. What are some ways that men could be domineering? I’ll run through a list of a way 10 ways that men could be harsh with their wives. Number one, domineering and controlling, domineering and controlling, some men are high control very little freedom for the wife. Number two, making more withdrawals than deposits. You need to understand that relationships are like bank accounts, encouragement, love, appreciation, thank you, that was awesome, I really appreciate you, those are deposits. Criticisms, corrections, those are withdrawals. If you make a lot more withdrawals than you do deposits, your wife will see you as harsh and unloving. And the only time the guy ever says anything is what I do wrong, do I do anything right? Number three, physically a man can be shoving, intimidating, overbearing all of which is abusive. Some men get really close to their wife and they’re intense. This is where your wife is sitting down so you get up and you’re over her physically, all of that’s abusive, it’s harsh, a verbally yelling, name-calling cursing barking, especially in front of the children, raising the volume. No, no, that’s not loving, that’s unloving, that’s harsh. And I could just sense it, some of you grew up in that home and I just reminded you of your dad and don’t be that man. And don’t raise kids who feel like that. A father could have authority without volume and he gets it through love. Publicly humiliating, some men will be harsh with their wives by cutting her down in front of others, social media provides an endless opportunity for this. Honey why do you post photos of other women on your social media page? Why do you say those things? Harsh unloving, sometimes a man can be harsh with his wife by not distinguishing between sins and mistakes. Jesus died for sins, mistakes happen we’re imperfect, Amen. I’ll give you an example from our house. So we lived at dead end , there was a pretty busy street around the corner and then a really busy street around the corner from there. And there was a Krispy Kreme donut, they put it in just for us and so I appreciate that. So we would take the kids to Krispy kreme and I would throw the kids in my Jeep and take them to Krispy Kreme. And one of my sons said hey, dad I wanna a Jeep too. So we bought him a little plastic battery powered Jeep, and I’m studying up in my office above the garage. And I hear this clunk, clunk, clunk. That’s weird I looked down, here’s my little boy in his plastic Jeep leaving the neighborhood. He’s left our house and he’s going down the street and he’s like, you know, he’s like signaling to then jump on the highway. So I run down the road and I was like, where are you going, buddy? He’s like I’m going to Krispy Kreme, I’ll be back later. Wait a minute, little buddy, we go to Krispy Kreme in my Jeep, you do not go to Krispy Kreme in your Jeep, that’s how we do this. I realized I got a free range boy I gotta lock him in. So what I decided was I needed to get one of those big pole gates to go over the driveway so that my son would not escape in his Jeep. So I custom ordered this really long rolling fence with wheels and got it all set up, and I pulled it and I forgot to tell Grace. The gate was pulled and she always drives Suburbans Cause I love her and in a wreck I want her to win. And so I always buy her a large vehicle. So she’s back, so she throws the kids in the car and she’s backing up. Well the fence is too low It’s in her blind spot. So she backs up in the suburban whoop boom, right into the gate. Bends the whole thing messes up the wheels. I didn’t know this till she comes in the house and looks at me, hi I was like, what did you do? You know, this mass cuteness must equate to something horrible happening, right. Cause you’re coming at me with all your spidey senses and I’m disarmed I got you know, so cute and so I said, well, what up? she’s like you’ll never guess. what happened? she’s like I wreck the car and the fence. I was like, what? So I go out yep, bear both yep, okay. Was that a sin or a mistake? Mistake, it was my mistake cause I didn’t tell Grace that I pulled the fence. It was her mistake cause she didn’t see it, but it’s not a sin. Somebody goes like it was over a thousand bucks that’s a sin no, no it was an expensive mistake. It’s expensive mistake, okay. There’s a difference between sins and mistakes. Mistakes are gonna happen, you can seem unloving and very harsh if all the sudden you’re constantly frustrated just over mistakes and mistakes happen. A couple others ways that men could be harsh and unloving a contractual not covenantal view of marriage. So you’re at work all day, you’re like I got employees and I give them job descriptions and I give them performance reviews. And I fire the ones who don’t meet expectations. And then I go home and I get my wife and I give my kids all their job descriptions and we do performance reviews and I try to fire them, but they don’t leave, okay. That’s contractual, Contractual is for work, Covenantal is for home. Many stupid things I’ve said to my wife, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said, I told this before I looked at her one day we were arguing and I said, if you work for me I’d fire you. She said, that’s a problem I don’t work for you. And she said, you’re wrong, you think wrong about. I was like, you know what, then drop the mic, the wife wins she’s right. I brought a contractual view into the marriage. She’s not my employee she’s my wife, she’s my friend, man. We can bring a contractual view home and that’s harsh and unloving. How about this one? Number eight, Non-relational marriage style. Aloof, detached on loving just not relational. Yeah he goes to work, he’s in his garage, he watches TV and then he goes to bed. I mean, and then he says, submit to the guy I don’t even know. You know, there’s no relationship here. It’s a very non-relational marital style. How about this one? You’re just not fun, right cause here’s what you’re like, we were dating and we had fun and then we got married. And then when there was no more fun, some of you guys are just not fun, you’re not fun at all. You’re stressed, you’re overworked, you’re depressed, you’re freaked out. you’re cheap, right. You gotta be more fun that’s an order I command it. Okay, you gotta be more fun, right ladies? How many ladies would be a little easier to live with a guy who knew how to make memories fun, laugh a little bit, spend some money, date night, lighten up. Can I get an amen sister? Amen Okay not too bad you know, we’re not ready to collect our offering, but it’s a start, okay. Here’s what it says in Ecclesiastes 9:9, enjoy life with the wife whom you love. It’s having a little bit of fun. And then number 10 it’s men who are inconsiderate, make a decision, not thinking about the implications on the wife and or the kids. Right, we gonna do this. And the way you don’t understand, you know how much work that is? I found this out when we had five kids I told Grace, hey, let’s go on vacation. She’s like, ah, I never go on vacation. I pack five kids we go somewhere, they all throw up. They get stung by a bee, they can’t sleep. They get diarrhea, they almost drown. And they need to eat, it’s not a vacation for me. Okay, now she didn’t say it like that. That was my interpretation but it dawned on me. Yeah, we go on vacation but she doesn’t really get a vacation. And if I don’t consider her in these plans, then I’m thinking we’re having a great time. But I haven’t really considered her and all that she has to do. So me say this, how many of you are single, single, single, single, single? Some of you’re single you’re like, whoo, whoo I was feeling bad that I was singled I’m feeling good. that I’m single. So if you’re a girl don’t marry a guy unless he loves God. He considers you, he’s your friend. He’s gonna look out for you. He has your best interest at heart. And if you’re a guy don’t marry a girl they can, gosh, she never listened, she fights with me. She argues, it’s just always conflict, okay. Then that might not be the one there’s some things need to change. For those of us that are married Lemmie do something really practical. Let me bang through this someway over time. But I’m kind of union I get paid by the hour. So this could be a while, so how to make marital decisions. How many of you have tried to make decisions in a marriage and found it, t’s complicated. Number one, you should each seek God’s will through prayer, scripture and wise counsel. It’s not what is he want, what does she want, it’s Lord, what do you want? This changes things. Romans 12:2 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. That by testing, you may discern what the will of God is. Not what does he want? And what does she want? Both praying, seeking the Lord, studying the Bible, seeking wise counsel, Lord, what do you want? Maybe he’s right, maybe she’s right. Maybe they’re both wrong and God has something else. Number two, you should each seek relational unity and avoid division. The relationship, the friendship is more important than the issue. Genesis 2:24 They shall become one God’s intent is that you would be one division, literally means two visions. If you can’t agree you have division. You want to be one, you want to work toward the same vision. And Luke 11:17, a house divided one, it falls it does not stand, it cannot stand it collapses. So the two of you need to be in unity and agreement for your family to remain with integrity. Number three, you are better together. Genesis 2:18. The Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone. This is before sin enters the world. Now that sin has entered the world, we need more help than ever. At this point, everything God made, he said was good. He said that the man and woman were very good. This is the only thing that God said is not good. And he’s saying that they would be better together. I will make him a helper fit for him and helper here is not a denigrating term. It says over and over and over and over in the Psalms. The Lord is my helper. What it’s saying is a man needs the Lord’s help, and his wife’s help for him to walk in the will of God through his life. Now here’s what happens, we are attracted to someone who’s different than us. When dating we’re like, Oh, I’m an introvert you’re an extrovert, right? Oh, I’m a morning person, you’re a night oh, I’m a spender, you’re a saver. This is so fascinating we’re different then you get married you’re like and now it’s annoying. What was- What was sort of interesting is now annoying, Amen. You’re like, why are you not like me? If you were like me, then we’d both be perfect. And you know, now here’s the truth though, you marry someone who’s different than you and you’re better together. So it’ll be a little bit of complexity at the front end, but it’s always a better life on the back end. You’re better together. Number four on rare occasions, you may need a godly neutral third party when you get stuck. So we prayed about it, we talked about it. We searched the scriptures, we’ve sought wise counsel. We’re just stuck, we just really disagree on something that’s very important so we gonna get a doctor. We gonna go get a financial planner. We gonna get a counselor. And we’re gonna let them build the umpire and make the call. Proverbs 15:22 without counsel plans fail. But with many advisors they succeed. And this is rare, right? If this happens all the time, you got a marriage problem. If it’s date night, every Friday, like he likes Applebee’s and I like tacos and we gonna call our therapist and my mother and see which one we gonna eat like you have a crisis, okay This is not something that should happen all the time. And this neutral third party is not a member of your family, okay. Mom what do you think we should do? Hang up, that’s what she should tell you, okay This is an independent, neutral objective third party. So what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna invite up my very best friend. And we’re going to have a little conversation and a permission to speak freely and be honest here in church. So thank you for doing this, I know you don’t love this, I do I like yelling at people but-
– I’m submitting.
– You’re submitting, okay that’s fine, okay. So what I wanna do we didn’t practice this, but I wanted to share our story of how we got to Arizona and kind of how we got there. So Grace grew up in a pastor’s home, her parents never moved, she was in the same church, the same home, her whole life. We got married moved back to the hometown where we met in high school. And then after many years with five kids, we had friends family, I thought we decided that it was time to move. How were you feeling about the possibility of a move? You can be honest, I know you will. I don’t even know why I say that.
– Well, I didn’t wanna move I wanted to stay and try and work it out there.
– So you wanted stay and I wanted to go. You wanted to stay, I wanted to go where?
– I always wanted to go to California since I was a little boy and I was like, well, we gonna go to California and you said?
– No, okay so- and I, and when it came to stay and where we were, I said, no, do you see where this could potentially be a marital problem, okay. We can’t even agree on what state we’re going to live in. So we started meeting with a Christian counselor, godly pastor, older person that prayed with us and loved Jesus and brought a lot of wisdom. We both respect him and he’s still involved in our lives and we appreciate him. And I remember I was talking to him on one occasion and he said, well, what’s in your heart? Where do you want to go? Cause we were looking at where we could go. I said, I was pretty emotional I just said, Arizona. He looked at me, he’s like you’ve never said a word about Arizona. Why Arizona? I said, I have no idea. I said just in my heart, I want to move to Arizona. He said, why? I said, I don’t know, I spent a ton of time in California. I haven’t spent hardly any time in Arizona, I don’t know. So I came home and I told you, I said, honey, what about Arizona? What did you think about that?
– It’s brown too hot, no water.
– Everything we were looking for, so we agreed and you-
– But I was wrong at the end.
– Okay, so but maybe talk about that process where I was feeling one direction you were feeling another, how we got on the same page.
– Well, I realized that when people would ask me what we were going to do, I would say, I don’t know. I’m just I’m willing to do whatever God wants. And I kept telling people that and at one point, God said, no, you’re not. And I thought, Oh boy, I haven’t even submitted to God in this. So I needed to spend some time with the Lord asking the Lord, okay and repenting just saying, God, I’m sorry that I’ve been lying and saying, I’m willing to do whatever you want and I actually am not, I don’t wanna move I want to stay. I don’t, I’m afraid of moving to who knows where and starting all over with our family and you know, not knowing what he had planned for us. I was afraid that God didn’t, wasn’t gonna take care of us somehow. And so I had to repent and ask the Lord, okay, please prepare my heart for what you truly do want, because I can’t even hear that right now. And then once I started journaling and praying through that, He also gave me a verse in January before we moved in July from Isaiah that talked about, can you not see I’m doing a new things, streams flowing in the desert and all this stuff, I’m thinking what in the world I don’t know what any of that means. And I didn’t until July when we were driving here. But, it was like God trying to repair my heart and be open to whatever he had. And so that was the initial process for me. I first needed to submit to God before I could even think about submitting to anything Mark was asking for our family.
– Yeah and that wasn’t a decision I was gonna make you go with it’s something that we needed to agree on ,so
– You had to be patient with God’s timing with me and my heart and, and you’re a researcher. so you like to do all the research for schools and houses and locations and everything. And I’m more, I’m just going to pray about this and all, you know, see how I feel about it
– We had a lot of those as like I have charts and graphs. she’s like, I have feelings and emotions, but we’re better together, you know. And so we needed to make this together, cause if we didn’t align on this decision, it would break our marriage, it would divide our home it would really be devastating. And she wanted to be in Washington. I wanted to be in California. God wanted us in Arizona so she didn’t get all right so yeah. So you didn’t get your way and I didn’t get my way, but with prayer wise, counsel time together, talking about it, being friends, we found out his well force, how do you feel being here now? Do you feel we’re in God’s will, and how are you feeling now?
– We are a hundred percent in his will, and we love it here. And the family is flourishing here and we can look back at all those times, we were going back and forth in our conversations and see that God was stretching us and he was actually asking us together and individually to trust him with his plan and not just try and think through all the details of what our plan would be.
– Yeah thank you for moving to Arizona. We’ll take communion, we’ll worship together. We love you guys, we want the marriages and the families to be healthy in this church and to be life giving and United and we care for you. So thank you for the honor of teaching. I’m gonna have you pray and we’ll bring the band up and sing a little bit and celebrate.
– Thank you, God that you direct our lives. I pray that we would not stand in the way of that. I pray that we would work together in our marriages to first come to you and ask what your will is and work at that together so that we can lead our families. Well in Jesus name,