THERE is no more precious moment than, when returning from the honeymoon, we enter our home or flat or rooms, and close the door with our two selves on the inside, not having to go our separate ways again. Around us are the things we have accumulated and those given to us as wedding presents. The task now is to impart ourselves and Christ to the inanimate things, to leave our hallmark on them so that we identify them as ‘ours’.

Women have a marvellous gift whereby they are able to transform a house into a home, a place to which a husband always wishes to return. But the gift, like all gifts, has to be exercised constantly for it to be effective. Slovenly or disorganised homes are a hindrance to godly living; they try to make us what they are!

But a good home is not the one seen in Good Housekeeping or Homes and Gardens, or at the Ideal Homes Exhibition. A good home is where true love reigns and Christ and his truth are found. These ingredients are infinitely precious and need very careful handling, but without them we do not have light in our dwelling.

We are Greater than our Parts

Our marriage is more than either of us and more than both of us. It does not come to us complete with the wedding day. Marriage is a living relationship and has to be cultivated, protected and served. Marriage is greater than our mutual contributions. By prayer and a wondrous alchemy, there grows a precious, living structure which binds us together within itself. No two marriages are identical and no marriage is ever perfect. Marriage is what we determine it to be and what we make it. Each partner has something unique to contribute and nothing must be withheld.

It is not what we get out of marriage that counts; it is what we put into it. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”, said our Lord, and it is as true in marriage as in everything else. This must be true for both of us. There must be no question of one partner always giving and the other always taking. If we give with all our hearts, we shall have no need to take because what we are seeking for our true good will always be forthcoming from our partner as giver.

The secret is to learn how to serve with dignity, grace and readiness. Keep Jesus in mind and watch him at work. The Lord improved everything he touched. If welearn to follow him in marriage we shall find without doubt that our marriage, too, will be touched by him.

Who is the Head?

Modern life is based upon equality and rights. It sounds fair and proper, but there is a deep fallacy in it, a catastrophic assumption that can be disastrous in marriage.

Let’s start at the beginning. There is a structure of authority for the universe: there is one God and there is none else. God knows no equal and He determines what is right by His own righteousness. Man has no say in deciding what is right before God. There is a structure for our own world. God is the Creator and Head: Christ is Lord by divine appointment. The Head of Christ is God.

These arrangements are reflected in true marriage. God is the Head of the home and of both its partners. They acknowledge His unity and the authority of His word to teach us what is right and good for the marriage and for the family. It is God who has said: “The head of the woman is the man”. The reason for this is simply that God says so. The woman was made for the man and not man for the woman.

This has nothing to do with male chauvinism or the macho image. Nor is it a master and slave arrangement whereby the man idles his time, lording it over his wife who moves at his beck and call, and serves his every selfish wish. Those ideas are as far removed from the divine ordinance as sin is from righteousness.

The Servant Lord of Life

“The husband is the head of the wife; even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body.”

(Ephesians 5:23)

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

(Ephesians 5:25)

Truly, the man is the head of the marriage and he is also its chief servant. He is to love his wife and give himself for her.

There is one, simple, golden rule for a husband: Seek your wife’s salvation above all else. If husbands follow that dictum they will behave at all times and in all places, in their minds as well as in outward life, as though they were the Saviour.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.”

(Ephesians 5:22)

“Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24)

If a wife thinks of her husband as though he were Christ, submitting in the true sense, without fear or cringing or servility, the mutual relationship will blossom. What we think we become, and our marriage will be a spiritual relationship with highlights of eternity in its adorning.

There is no rivalry in such a marriage, no struggles for possession of the reins, no oppressive authority and no resentful service; since all is in Christ’s hands and together we are his willing and loving followers and gladly obedient servants.

The Mini-Ecclesia

If we think of our home as an annexe of the ecclesia, our orientation will be right. The writ of Christ runs in the home as it does amongst our brethren and sisters. Our husband is brother to his wife and she is his sister and spouse. This double bond brings peace of mind and contentment within the four walls of our home.