Marriage, Part 1 – He That Loves His Wife Loves Himself

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Marriage - He That Loves His Wife Loves Himself

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

When four couples come seeking counsel in a period of two weeks it is obvious that there is a need to give some general marriage counseling to the entire body of Christ and to remind us all of what our 'manufacturer's handbook', the scriptures, tell us we must do to maintain the unity He has ordained to be the fruit of the incredible gift of a loving mate. Our 'owner's manual' also contains many warning labels which we are given to avoid destroying the Lord's handiwork. If we are not continually watching the 'water' in the radiator and adding 'oil' to the crankcase of our marriages, they will fail us, and they will wear out, and they will heat up to the point of locking down and ceasing to function simply because we didn't even bother to read the owner's manual, or if we did read it, we still didn't do the things it told us. Today's study is addressed to us husbands, so I am going to narrow the verses I am reading to apply to us husbands without adding to or taking away from the Lord's Word. The wives will have their turn, but today I am narrowing the admonitions of scripture to address them specifically to us husbands:

Luk 6:46  And why [do you husbands] call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luk 6:47  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Luk 6:48  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
Luk 6:49  But [every husband] that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Nothing is more destructive to a family, to wives and to children, than for a husband to tell his family that he believes in the sovereignty of God, and at the same time show little or no patience in dealing with his own wife and his own children. Lord willing, we will look into what the 'owner's manual' has to say about how parents are to relate to their children and how children are to conduct themselves as an integral part of the family of God. That will be the third part of our studies in this series we are going to have on family relations. The second part of this series of studies will be directed to the place and proper function of the wife in a marriage.

The Manufacturer's 'operator's manual' tells us what must do to maintain His creation in good working order, and we are also given warning labels which tell us what we are to strenuously avoid if we want to maintain a romantic, functioning, loving relationship with that person for whom we once professed so much love.

Pro 3:3  Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
Pro 3:4  So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and [your wife].
Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Pro 3:7  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

That is what we want to do today. We want to acknowledge Christ, our husband, in all of our ways and be directed by His Words in all our paths.

Far too often mercy is the first thing we let "forsake" us when it comes to how we treat our wives. When we "let... mercy... forsake [us]" then truth also forsakes us, because the Truth is that we are not to let mercy forsake us, and when we fail to show mercy to our wives, we are demonstrating that our association with the Truth is an intellectual association only and not yet from the heart.

So what is "the head of the woman" to do when 'the woman' acts as if she is the head? That is not an easy question to answer, but it does have a Biblical answer, and that answer is found in the very verses which tell us what the Lord will do to us husbands if we fail to show mercy to our wives when they want to usurp our position as their head.

Here is what the Lord does to us when we fail to show our wives the same mercy our Lord has shown us:

Mat 18:32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked [husband], I forgave thee all that [huge, non-payable] debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy [wife], even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his [wife] their trespasses.

How often are we expected to endure our wives' faults and weaknesses? The answer is right here in this same chapter where Peter asks that very question:

Mat 18:21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my [wife] sin against me, and I forgive [her]? till seven times?
Mat 18:22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Ten thousand talents amounts to 2 billion, two hundred fifty million dollars in today's U. S. currency.
The point being, that our debt to our heavenly Father is far beyond our ability to pay, yet He forgives us "as we forgive those who sin against us":

Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our [wives].

I know from scripture that all women are cursed with a desire to be against their husband.

What beastly man can honestly look at himself in the mirror and tell himself that he has shown more mercy to his wife than the Lord has shown him? I know I cannot say that, and I am just thankful for the mercy the Lord has bestowed on me, and I beg Him to give me the patience to endure any trespass, disrespect, or lack of honor my dear wife may show me, so that I might receive God's mercy.

We will remind ourselves what 'love' really is and what 'love' is not. It is not love when we come home from work and ignore our wives, or worse yet we come home and immediately tear into our wives for their shortcomings. I know because there was a time when I was the 'banner child' of an ignorant and hypocritical husband who could see only my wife's shortcomings. Sandi and I will be married 48 years in June, but ours is a miracle marriage, as are all long-lasting marriages. If your shortcomings were not equal to mine, then that is fine, but we all fall short of the perfection for which we are all striving.

One of the greatest lies in history is that love is an uncontrollable power which reaches out and grabs us because of what we see with our eyes. We do not "fall" in love. We fall into lust, and then with great effort and sacrifice, we may be blessed to climb up into love. We do so even as we discover each other's weaknesses, which universally afflict all of mankind. I am not denying that the Lord Himself has given us an appreciation for the outward appearance of our spouse. But if our wife's outward beauty is the sole foundation for our marriage, then it is very likely doomed to be a short-lived relationship, simply because the 'manufacturer's manual' commands us that our first fidelity must be toward our 'Manufacturer', and that obedience to Him must always come first and foremost. If we are granted to do that, then our mate will have nothing to worry over, because our Lord requires love and faithfulness to our mate as obedience to Him.

We must 'acknowledge Christ's Words in all our ways if we expect Him to direct our  paths:

Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Today we are dealing with the role of men in the marriage relationship, and that role is as "the head of the woman":

1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

But being "the head" does not mean that we men are in a position to abuse and be domineering over our wives. My head is not at all abusive to the rest of my body. In fact my head loves and cherishes the rest of my body and does all in its power to edify and nourish every member of my body. That is how a marriage is supposed to function. The head of the body is considerate of the body, and the body honors the head because they are "one flesh":

Gen 2:21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen 2:22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23  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.
Gen 2:24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Who Controls Our Wives?

We all know the answer to that question, and we all know, intellectually, that our wives are no more capable of controlling their actions than we are our own actions. If any of you feel that I am beating up on men today, it is only because husbands are the focus of our discussion today. I am not aligning myself with the "Me, Too" movement. The Biblical admonitions to our wives will be discussed next Sunday, if the Lord wills.

Husbands, ask yourself why you keep doing what you know you should not do. Why do I always tend to blame Sandi when it appears she fails in some way? Why do I do that when I know that she has no more control over herself than I have over my lack of patience with her? If there is any virtue developed in both husbands and wives via the institution of marriage, it is that most valuable virtue of patience, of which part of the mind of Christ we are told:

Jas 1:2  [Husbands], count it all joy when [your wives give you] divers temptations;
Jas 1:3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jas 1:4  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Wives are not the only way to be taught patience. If they were, then neither Christ nor Paul could ever have become "perfect and entire", because neither were ever married. But if you and I are married, our wives are central in teaching us to be patient and thoughtful of someone other than ourselves. If we are husbands, then our wives are central to making us "perfect and entire, wanting nothing".

If we as husbands think our wives should shape up, then the very first thing we need to do is to wait on the Lord to do that. The one thing we know for certain from years of experience is that we aren't even capable of controlling ourselves, much less another person. We husbands all know intellectually that when our wives sin, it is not our wives who sin any more than it is we who sin when we sin. Yes! That is exactly what the scriptures, which we intellectually profess to believe, teach us. Let me remind all of us husbands what the truth is about our wives' sins against us:

Gen 45:4  And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6  For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8  So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Now husbands, let us all pray that we can do more than just intellectually believe that when our wives disappoint us that it is not our wives who do so but God, because He is making us to be patient with our wives as He has been patient with us. There is not a single husband in our midst who deserves the patience the Lord has shown to any of us, and yet here we are, a part of His body and His bride, and He is still being patient with us.

Let's actively and truthfully apply these words to our wives as well as ourselves:

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Do we as husbands think these words do not apply to our wives whom we profess we love? Who do we credit with the way our wives treat us? Ask yourselves that question. If you or I hold our wives responsible for their faults, then we are the world's greatest hypocrites because we are more than willing to acknowledge that "it is not I that do it, but sin that dwells in  me", when it comes to our own sins, but we cannot accept that God has placed that same "law of sin" into the members of our beloved wives. We can cry out to God for ourselves, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord..." but we cannot do the same for our beloved wives whose curse is our curse:

Gen 3:16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to [Hebrew: 'el' against] thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

In the very next chapter we read:

Gen 4:7  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto [Hebrew: 'el', against] thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Gen 4:8  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against [Hebrew: 'el', against] Abel his brother, and slew him.

Sin is personified in these verses, and is said to be 'against' Cain, just as Cain was "against Abel his brother, and slew him" in the very next verse.

Notice, the exact same words the Lord spoke to Eve about her relationship with her husband are the very same words and phrases spoken here of sin's relationship with Cain: "Your desire shall be against your husband, and he shall rule over you... and against you shall be [sin's] desire, and you shall rule over him."

Our wives can no more, of themselves, overcome being against us than Eve could have chosen to submit to Adam in all things. Neither can "the law of sin in our [wives'] members" choose to submit to us in all things. It is Christ who is 'working all things after the counsel of His own will', and all things certainly includes my spouse and your spouse, whom He has made to be against us, just as we have been marred in the hand of our husband, "The Potter":

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay [your wife and my wife] was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

All the verbs of Jeremiah 18:4 are in the Hebrew Qal stem, which means that it is all an ongoing process, by which our Lord is perfecting our wives, just as He is mercifully working with us. In our own appointed time, He will rule over both us and our wives. That is the glorious and guaranteed consummation of the ages.

But that glorious consummation comes only through the fiery trials that are inevitably part of any and every marriage between two wild beasts, who are both against their respective husbands.

I keep making the statement, "...our wives whom we profess that we love".  Sadly, there are those who seldom utter the words, "Honey, I love you!" As the apostle James puts it, "These things ought not so to be."

Jas 3:10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Will you, as a husband who claims to be part of the very body of Christ, tell me that you simply cannot bring yourself to say those words to your wife? Women are made to want to hear those words. Men are too, and those words should be repeated daily and sincerely, even "while [our wives] are yet in [their] sins", just as Christ loved us while we were yet in our sins:

Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Will we continue to hypocritically say we "love [our] enemies", while we cannot bring ourselves to tell our own wives, "Honey, I sure do love you!"

This entire fellowship claims to believe this these truths:

Psa 90:3  Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Pro 20:24  Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

The Lord made me a wicked man for my own "day of evil", and the Lord makes our wives wicked for their day of evil, because this is the simple truth we all claim we believe:

Isa 63:17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Jer 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

We all acknowledge all of these verses to be true, but every time we husbands lose patience with our wives, we are showing our families and our friends how hypocritical we really are. We expect the respect and obedience from our wives which we are not showing toward our own husband, our Lord, who we know is really the one who "made [our wives] to err from His ways". We know our wives are marred in His hand, that it is He who has turned them to destruction, given them the answers of their tongues, made them wicked for their day of evil against us, made our wives incapable of understanding their own ways, or directing their own steps, and yet we act as if none of this were true. I want every husband who hears or reads these words to stop and think how our hypocrisy blasphemes the name of Christ before our own families and before our friends who are watching our every move and are wondering why we get so upset with their mother or their friend while professing and teaching them that it is really the Lord Himself who is sending us the trials our wives give us.

Rom 2:1  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O [husband], whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest [your wife], thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Rom 2:2  But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against [all us husbands] which commit such things.
Rom 2:3  And thinkest thou this, O [husband], that judgest [your wife] which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Rom 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Rom 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Rom 2:21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should [love his enemy, do you love your wife?]

Rom 2:23  Thou that makest thy boast of the law [of Christ], through breaking the law [of Christ] dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24  For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

We know the Lord will not tolerate either our presumptuousness in condemning Him for making our wives to err from His ways, nor will He tolerate our condemning Him for making our wives to be against us. These are Christ's words to us husbands every time we lose our tempers with our wives:

Luk 6:42  Either how canst thou say to thy [wife], [Honey], let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

All of us husbands know the Truth of these verses of scripture:

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14  Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Do you murmur against your wife? You are a hypocrite if you do so and continue to ignore her need for a calm, loving leader who will not be run over, but at the same time will not allow his old man to run over the new man within him by losing his temper with his wife.

Our marriage is actually a reflection of our relationship with Christ, and the leadership of that relationship lies on the shoulders of "the head of the woman... the man".

It was never intended to be easy to lead our wives and to be someone worthy of their love and respect. The physical needs of the family were placed upon the head of the woman:

Gen 3:17  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Gen 3:18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Both Adam, us men, and Eve, our wives, are all the "earth, earth, earth" (Jer 22:29), the ground, which is "cursed for our sake". It is "for our sake" because God loves us that He is giving us all the fiery trials of this life. It is because Christ will have us as His bride that we are being judged as husbands now rather than being judged in the lake of fire. Apostle Paul, as part of "the mother of us all... Jerusalem above", tells us:

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

So even we husbands are the "chaste virgin... Lamb's bride" of whom Paul also tells us this of the Biblical purpose for our marriages:

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23  For 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.
Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Those three verses are all that are addressed to our wives. The rest of this chapter is addressed to all of us as husbands:

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

"[Marriage] is a great mystery, [because it] speaks concerning Christ and the church... Let every one of you [husbands] so love His wife... as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it."

Simple instructions, yet we are cursed with the desire to be against our husband Christ who tells us "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it".

Love and patience are inseparable, and we as husbands must be patient with our wives just as Christ has been with us, and we must express our love as He has expressed His love for His bride, for us, for His church.

Christ, our husband, through the apostle Peter instructs us:

1Pe 3:7  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [your wives] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1Pe 3:8  Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1Pe 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1Pe 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

That is a simple Truth. I did not write it, but I am sharing this knowledge with you. If we ignore all these admonitions and if we continue to be at war with our wife, our prayers will be hindered, and we will be "them that do evil". If we continue to expose the spiritual nakedness of our wives, and if we continue to expect her to do something the Lord has not given her to do as yet, "the face of the Lord is against us.

This is what love for our wives does:

Pro 10:12  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Peter here in 1 Peter 3 is actually simply repeating these words He had learned from our Lord:

Mat 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his [wife] without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his [wife], Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mat 5:23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy [wife] hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy [wife], and then come and offer thy gift.

I have substituted the word 'wife' for the word 'brother', and why would we not be reconciled to our wives so that our prayers are not hindered? We hurt no one but ourselves when we fail to "do the things [the Lord] says" (Luk 6:46).

"He that loves his wife loves himself" (Eph 5:28).

Again, this is planned to be a three-part series, dealing first with us men and what we must do to build on, and maintain, and improve our relationship with our wives. Next week, Lord willing, we will discuss what the Lord tells us is the role of our wives in building up, maintaining and improving their marriages. Then, as the Lord leads, in the third week we will discuss where both parents are to place the children in our marriages. What is the place and purpose of children in a marriage? This is a very complex question, especially when we are discussing second marriages with children from a previous marriage. God has ordained and order of priority and we must "acknowledge Him in all of our ways".

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