Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Ephesians 5: 21-33
A few years ago I put together some practical tips on how couples could experience “oneness” in their relationship. In Ephesians 5:31, Paul reminds us that “the two will become one flesh.” For those couples that enjoy this kind of intimacy in their relationship I see these ONE-FLESH principles at work. I offer them here to you for your edification. You will note that the tips are a based on the acronym ONE-FLESH.
O – Offer yourselves daily as a living sacrifice to God! This is what Romans 12:1-2 tells us to do. You’ve probably heard it said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that when you put it on the alter of God that it wants to keep running away. That’s why every day you have to say all over again to God, “Lord today I am your man, your woman, by Your strength would You empower me to be the husband/wife that I need to be. I can’t do it on my own. I surrender myself to You.” This is where the ONE FLESH reality begins – as we each acknowledge God’s Lordship upon our lives and willingly submit and surrender ourselves to Him.
N – Never forget your vows/promises to each other! Too many people take their marriage vows lightly. Unfortunately, almost half of marriages break up because people neglect to fulfill their vows. We need to be promise keepers! Nothing will break down trust and intimacy in a marriage faster than when we start betraying each other through broken promises. Be a man and a woman of your word!
E – Express your love constantly and creatively! Men, this is where we need to be pacesetters. Don’t be like the guy who’s wife asked him one day well into their marriage if he still loved her – who said “I told you I loved you on the day we got married and if anything changes I’ll let you know!” We need to become a die hard romantic who is always looking for creative ways to let our wives know that they are loved.
F – Forgive quickly! Scripture has much to say about forgiveness. Never forget how much you have already been forgiven so that you can “forgive as you have been forgiven.” And if we will put Ephesians 4:26 into practice we will never regret it – “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” We will never be more like Jesus to your each other than when we forgive each other.
L – Learn everything that you can about each other! Maybe you heard about the couple that was attending a marriage seminar on communication. The instructor declared, “It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.” Then he addressed the men: “For instance, gentlemen, can you name your wife’s favorite flower?” The husband leaned over, touched his wife’s arm gently and whispered, “Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn’t it?” It was not a good night for hubby! Marriage is meant to be a lifetime of discovering more and more about each other. Your level of ONENESS will get higher and higher the more you know one another.
E – Establish a Purpose Driven Marriage – Getting married takes about 30 minutes but becoming one takes a lifetime. And we need to realize that God has called husbands and wives together for His purposes. Over the course of this lifetime we will see why he put us specifically together if we will 1) pursue him first and foremost and 2) follow his leading day in and day out. Don’t ever settle for a comfortable marriage – pursue a marriage that purposefully exists to bring glory and honor to God.
S – Sacrificially love your wife/Submit to your husband! Men, according to Ephesians 5 our main job as a husband is to sacrificially love our wives so that they can become holy women of God. According to Scripture, our love has a sanctifying effect upon them. Our sacrificial love will help them to become more like Christ. We are to be the leaders in the home and it is our responsibility to make sure that they continue to grow and are nourished in their faith. God will use our love to make this happen.
Ladies, your job according to Ephesians 5 is to submit to your husband in response to his sacrificial love. Some people think that submission is a hard thing for a woman to do. Actually it is incredibly easy if the husband is doing his job of loving his wife. What wife would not willingly want to respond to a husband who is doing everything that he can do love her in a sacrificially sanctifying way?
H – Honor the marriage bed! – This admonition comes from Hebrews 13:4. The marriage bed is for husbands and wives to physically express the intimacy that has developed outside of the bedroom. We honor the marriage bed in two ways, one negative and one positive. 1) Both husbands and wives need to guard themselves against the enemies of marital intimacy – lack of communication, mistrust, disrespect, boredom, busyness, harshness, neglect, pornography and other forms of sexual immorality. – just to name a few. 2) Husbands and wives need to work at making sex fun and interesting. They can honor the marriage bed by creatively exploring ways to enjoy one another physically. For some reason Christians developed a reputation in the past for being sexual prudes. The truth of the matter is that Christians should be having the most fulfilling sex lives of anybody because of the bonds on intimacy they enjoy outside the bedroom which makes for great sex inside the bedroom.