We recently have had several young couples get married and we’ve been talking a lot about marriage. What makes a strong marriage, what makes a Godly marriage, what makes a wholesome marriage? And waht we noticed is that when people start talking about marriage they usually want to start in Ephesians Chapter 5. They pick up and they go, okay, it says husbands, love your wives; wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.
And we go, well, we’re going to do this thing and suddenly we’re going to have a good marriage. We’re going to submit. We’re going to love. And suddenly we’ll open a new page, turn over a new leaf and we’re going to have a good marriage. But the thing is, Ephesians starts before Chapter 5. If you do that right, then you will have a good marriage, but you don’t, you’re starting from a place that you shouldn’t be in.
Ephesians starts over in Chapter 1 and it starts talking about salvation. A good marriage starts with your relationship with God. If you don’t have a good relationship with God, then you won’t have a godly relationship with your spouse.
Next it talks about how you would walk, how you would live. It talks about how you should pray. It talks about unity among the believers. If you are striving with the other believers, if you are fighting with other people all the time, you won’t come in and have peace in your home. If you’re ungodly, unhappy, disquieted, then when you come home you are ungodly, unhappy and disquieted. And even if you try to say “I’m going to extend love towards my wife” but as a husband you’re upset and unhappy, then you’re going to be upset and unhappy in your home.
Then it talks about endeavoring to keep peace and unity. It talks about putting on the new man. And then you come down to the end of chapter 4 and it says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” We’re talking about living in righteousness. If you want to have a good marriage, a good family, you need to not grieve the Holy Spirit. You need to walk uprightly.
And then we get over in Chapter 5 and it says walk as children of light. It says that you should “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” So if you want to have a good marriage you need to walk in the light. Be filled with the spirit, it says. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit.” If you want to come to marriage and have a good one, then you need to be filled with the spirit.
And then we get down to where it becomes famous. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” So often if you hear a problem and someone wants counsel in a relationship, the first thing they come and say, “My husband’s not who he ought to be.” Or “My wife is not who she ought to be.” And you go, No, no, no, that’s not where you start. You don’t start by straightening your spouse out. You start by straightening yourself out. You start by being who you’re supposed to be. You come into this relationship godly, happy, exuberant, and walking in unity with the brethren. And all of a sudden it’s easy to love your wife the way you’re supposed to. It’s easy to love or submit yourself to your husband the way you’re supposed to.
And then you find that it keeps going. It doesn’t stop with that, with loving your wife or your spouse. It goes into putting on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. So often we hear people talk about overcoming, about getting out there and standing up to the devil and to what he has for you. Well, it starts by living godly. It starts by being in the word of God. It starts by walking in holiness. It starts by having the relationship that you’re supposed to have with your spouse and being committed to the spirit, putting on the whole armor of God and walking as an overcomer. And what happens from all that is that you end up praying and being an ambassador to God.
So don’t start your marriage in the middle of Ephesians Chapter 5. Start in Ephesians Chapter 1.