There is a Chinese proverb that says:


When there is love in a marriage, there is harmony in the home; when there is harmony in the home, there is contentment in the community; when there is contentment in the community, there is prosperity in the nation; when there is prosperity in the nation, there is peace in the world.


Marriage is a beautiful bond between a man and a woman that was created by God. It was designed to provide companionship and procreation. God intended marriage to be a life long bond that is not to be broken. As the Chinese proverb points out, when there is love and harmony in a marriage it will affect the nation and even the world in a positive way.


In order to achieve the deepest kind of love that will bring harmony and great joy to our marriage that will last until our last breath is by having a Christian marriage that is molded by the Word of God. When we allow Godís Word to train us be better husbands and wives, we will get to experience the joy of having a Christian marriage.


A Christian marriage has many benefits that a nonChristian marriage does not because God has provided us with His wisdom and with many examples of how to have a joyful marriage. The nonChristian has to rely on manmade advice for having a happy marriage, and they are not committed to the principles found in Godís Word. Therefore, there is a much higher divorce rate among nonChristians.


To help us see some the guidelines that brings structure and stability to our marriage let us start at the beginning with Adam (Gen. 2:18-20)


Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.


God knew that man needed companionship with someone that was like him. Many say that a dog is mans best friend and some even prefer the companionship of a dog or a cat, but they do not compare to humans nor can they give the kind of companionship that humans can. I am sure Adam enjoyed being surrounded by new creatures and naming them, but none of them were comparable to him. So, God took care of this problem (Gen. 2:21-23).


Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."


Many jokes have been made by men and women about what God did, but when we seriously think about what He did for us on that day it should cause to be thankful. While men and women have their difference and sometimes they just do not get along, we would be lost without each other. Unless God changed the way things are, we cannot exist without each other.


Since woman was taken out of man it means that she is part of us. God gave man the greatest companion that he could ask for. We should be thankful for our wives because they are blessing from the Lord (Prov. 19:14; 18:22).


Proverbs 19:14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.


Some men say they would like a woman who agreed with everything they said and would do everything they said, but a mindless robot would eventually get old. A marriage is more interesting and exciting when we challenge each other to grow and work through our differences.


I can just imagine how pleased Adam was to have a companion that was comparable to him. Enjoying the beauty of Godís creation is a wonderful thing, but to be able to share that experience with a mate is much more fulfilling. While a nonChristian couple can enjoy Godís creation as well, they cannot appreciate it like a Christian couple because they know that it is the handiwork of God and proves that God exists which means all the promises He made are true (Ps. 19:1; Rom. 1:20).


Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,


Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.


When we live with our parents we are part of the family, and we are under our mother and father, but when we choose to get married, we are to start our own family and make our own decisions. Yes, we should take the wisdom our parents have taught us and use it, but we should also learn to add to it through our own experiences. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting advice from our parents on marriage and other things, but we must learn to develop solutions to problems that arise because our parents will not always be there.


When we get married, we become one flesh in that we are to be joined together forever, and we are to become part of each otherís lives. When we hurt they hurt. When we laugh they laugh. As George Eliot said:


"What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life--to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?" George Eliot


When Christian couples are committed to living their marriage as the Bible teaches, it will cause them to be full of joy because they can be confident that their mate will do everything his or her power to make the marriage work. When we use the same source as our guideline and have the same value system, it will make our marriages easier.


One of the main reasons so many marriages end in divorce is because many find it easier just to walk away instead of making changes to resolve their issues. Those of us who love God should make divorce the last option we have because God hates divorce (Mal. 2:6). If we want to have a marriage that will last and will cause us more joy than heartbreak, then we have to make a commitment that we will always find a solution no matter how bad things get.


There have been many Christian couples that have survived the storm of chaos in their lives and will tell you how wonderful their marriage is despite those low moments in their lives. We can look to them for inspiration knowing that it is possible to make it through the speed bumps of marriage.


James wrote:


James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.


When we read this verse, we probably think about the persecutions that Christians had to endure at the hands of their enemy, but the same advice can apply to various trials we face in our marriages. Sometimes our mate will test us with us their poor attitude or hateful behavior, but when we use moments like those to increase our patience and are able to rise up and allow love to conquer, then our marriages will grow stronger and better than they were before.


Christian couples can also find joy in that we are both working together for the common goal of getting to heaven. If our goals are not the same, then there will be much friction in our marriages. Since Godís Word take all the guess work out of how we should live our lives, it makes it easier to be unified with our mate.


Jesus gave us the greatest example of what kind of love we should have for each other in our marriages and how we can achieve the greatest joy (Eph. 5:22-33).


Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.


Some women do not like this idea of submitting to their husband, but if we are going live by Godís wisdom then this should not be problem. Submitting to your husband does mean that you are his slave or inferior to him. It is simply accepting the role God has given you and it allows your husband to take on the role and responsibility given to him. Just as Christ is the head of the church, the husband is the head of the family.


Wives are the helpers of their husbands, and they should respect them. One of their goals should be to encourage their husbands to take on their spiritual leadership role, and husbands should not neglect their responsibility or pass it on to their wives. Far too many Christian men have failed miserably in this area.


Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


Jesus sets the standard very high when it comes to how much a husband is to love his wife because he is to love her as much as Jesus loved the church, which included Him giving His life. When we think about Jesusí life on this earth and everything He endured for us just so we could become part of His body/church, it should show us what kind of sacrificial love husbands should have for their wives. When a man loves his wife with that kind of commitment, he is going to be willing to do whatever it takes to make his wife happy as long as it does not compromise Godís Word (Mt. 10:37; Lk. 14:26). It means that he will continue to grow in the way of God so that he can be the spiritual leader that God wants him to be. When he does this, he can know that he did everything in his power to be a Christ-like example to his family. Of course, the same could be said about the wife and the role she it to embrace.


When we become Christians, we are added to the church by God (Acts 2:47) when we are baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3).

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?


Just as we have become one with Jesus, who loves us and care for us, when we get married we become one with our mate, and we are to love her and care for her just like she was our own flesh. Again, the idea is that we become part of each other just as we became part of Jesus. Just as we want Jesus to continue to love us and never forsake us, we must never stop loving our mate or forsake them.


Paul also said:


1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.


Christian couples are to have a mutual respect for each other, and they should enjoy spending time with each other. Paul encourages all married couples not to stay separate from each other for long. Otherwise, Satan will use it to his advantage.


Many times we do not appreciate how much we love our mate until they are gone on a trip. Then we begin to see how empty our lives are without them being part of it. When they get back home, the petty things that bothered us before seem trivial, and we do not have any trouble ignoring them. We would be much better off if we could continue look beyond the trivial matters of life.


While many of the Scriptures we have looked at so far focus on the kind of love a husband is to have for his wife, Paul also tells the older women to teach the younger women to:


Titus 2:4 Ö love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.


A crowning achievement of any marriage is when we have children, but a Christian couple has the advantage of being unified on how to raise their children. They both understand the importance of raising them in the way of the Lord. Only Christian parents can experience the joy of raising their kids to love God and can give them the hope of eternal life in heaven. It should also bring us joy knowing that if we all remain faithful we will get spend eternity with one another in heaven.


Christian couples can also find joy in the privilege of being able to pray to God to help them make the best decisions in raising their kids, to be a good husband or wife, and to be good examples. Knowing that God listens to us and is there to help us in accordance with His will is encouraging and is an experience that a nonChristian couple cannot enjoy. So, let us be thankful for all the God does for us and for the joy that we can have from our Christian marriages.


In conclusion, we have learned that a Christian marriage can be full of joy when we allow Godís Word to be our guide. It teaches us in word and by example of how we should treat each other and love each other till death do we part. Our goal is to grow from the difficult times in our marriage by working it out and allowing love to be victorious. Just as Jesus loved the church, we should love each other. With that kind of love, there should be nothing that can separate us. As husbands, we must take on the role of being the spiritual leader of the home, and wives must take on the role of being submissive to their husbands.


When we consider all the spiritual and eternal benefits of being a Christian couple, it should fill us with joy knowing that God has freely given all these benefits to us. As you reflect on this lesson you should be able to see the joy of a Christian marriage. †††