(The importance of the marriage relationship in ministry)

Feb. 11, 02

EPH 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her [26] to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, [27] and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. [28] In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29] After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- [30] for we are members of his body. [31] "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." [32] This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. [33] However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

This portion of scripture spells out what the duties of a husband are within the marriage covenant. There has been much talk about ministry and the various functions that make-up the body of Christ over the last few years. We know from the reading of this portion of scripture above that it pertains not only to the marriage and relationship of a man and woman, but also, it includes our relationship of the Church, the bride of Christ, to her husband, Jesus. We have heard in recent months and years, of the importance of the "foundational" ministries of the apostle and the prophet and how each are important for the groundwork, if you will, that is important in forming the underlying structure of the church. What I believe is sometimes ignored is the relationship of the husband to the wife, and how this relationship is primary. We are told that "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Perhaps a man will have a ministry that is separate from his wife, or visa-versa, but there needs to be a union, a united-ness between each of them so that their relationship is still of utmost importance and priority. I know how easy it is to pursue the things of the Lord, and be "so heavenly minded" that one can ignore the needs of a wife and family. A man痴 interests are divided when he is married. He must balance the affairs of the Lord with those of his wife and family:

1CO 7:32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. [33] But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- [34] and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. [35] I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

We are told to DT 6:[5] "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Our first love should always be given to God, but our second, if we are married, is to be given to our wives and families. Then when this is set in its proper place, our ministries will follow. I don稚 believe that ALL husbands and wives are involved in ministry together, but when the relationship is set in order, then there is an understanding, a purpose, a goal, that both can pursue each in their own way.

We all have relationships between each other within the body of Christ. We need each other and the portion that each brings to us through our brothers and sisters here on earth. We all have grown up in families where a brother, a sister, and a mother and a father are important to us. To be sure, some have grown up in hurtful and dysfunctional families, but we have all had a family in one way or another. Some of us have had hurtful and difficult memories and relationships between a marriage partner and ourselves. God is able though, to heal those hurts and bring about a restoration whether in the form of a united-ness between each, or forgiveness and the ability to move on. Marriages and families are under a greater attack than ever before, I believe. The enemy wants to rob us, but God wants there to be restoration. Sometimes the Father becomes our husband, or fills that void where a mate once was, and becomes our deepest intimate friend. Others within the body of Christ help us and we are carried on the shoulders of the Father through those difficult times. I am speaking of those of us who are married, and who also are involved in ministry, in one way or another. To these I share these thoughts and know that He is able to be a bridge and to be a united front.

We all worship in different ways. The same is true of a husband and wife I believe. May the time we spend in prayer communing with the Father, enable and infuse us with the Holy Spirit so that we may then love our mates, find a healthy balance, and in so doing, find our proper place(s) within the kingdom of God.


Stephen Hanson