by Shawn Brasseaux
Today, I attended a party to celebrate my friends’ 50th (golden) wedding anniversary! Mr. Nolan Guilbeau and his wife, Barbara, have known my parents for nearly 30 years, and Mr. Guilbeau is the older Christian with whom I write about Scriptural matters in our local newspaper.
Earlier this evening, Mr. Guilbeau was sharing some marital advice that I would like to pass on to you all. Here, we minister to many young people, and most of America’s young adults are ignorant of this advice. We would not have widespread marital problems if we would just listen to God’s Word and apply it by faith! I hope that all of you keep this advice in mind when getting into intimate relationships. Never forget that marriage is one of the greatest gifts the Lord Jesus Christ gave the human race, and if not tended properly, the union will dissolve.
Mr. and Mrs. Guilbeau both acknowledge that their marriage was not perfect. Marriage is fun, as it should be, but it is a huge responsibility. The human race has fallen into sin; we will always have conflict and disagreements. However, do not get physically abusive with your spouse: there is no violence in true love. Marriage is a “two-way street;” that is, both the husband and the wife have needs to be met (these needs must be met by the spouse, or the relationship will disintegrate). I am certainly no marriage counselor; however, the Lord created marriage, and He knows all the complexities that matrimony entails. Why not let Him tell us how He designed marriage to work?
It is very important that if you are a true, Holy Spirit-indwelt believer, please marry someone who is also a member of the Body of Christ. The Lord makes it explicitly clear that Christians are not to marry unbelievers, and Christians are not to even date unbelievers under any circumstances. The Scriptures make it very clear in 1 Corinthians 7:39 that Christians are to marry “only in the Lord.” Here is one crucial verse that is often ignored today regarding marriage.
The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV:
“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
First and foremost, in the above verses, the Holy Spirit through Paul taught that we should not mix with unbelievers in religious gatherings. Moreover, these verses would obviously forbid courtship and marital relationships with any people who have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins. It also means that we do have intimate relationships or religious gatherings with denominational people (who do not understand and appreciate Paul’s special ministry, who are steeped in religious tradition, et cetera). Why? The day will come when you will have to choose between the Lord and the unbelieving spouse: then what will you do? Will you sacrifice the Bible and your life in Jesus Christ just to appease the unbelieving spouse? Many Christians are faced with such a dilemma, and we need to avoid it. We do not marry lost people, and we do not marry denominational people. These relationships will only hinder God working in and through us grace believers.
The relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church the Body of Christ, is the example of how the husband is to relate to his wife. How often Christian couples completely disregard or abuse these verses. Ephesians 5:21-33 contains the Lord’s wisdom regarding marriage. As long as the Lord Jesus Christ is put first in the marriage relationship, it will survive and bring glory and honor to Him. Married couples, or couples considering marriage, should study Ephesians 5:21-33 KJV in great detail:
“21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
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.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
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.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
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.”
Colossians 3:18,19 further supplies God’s doctrine regarding marriage in this the Dispensation of Grace: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
The wife should acknowledge the husband’s headship over the household (Ephesians 5:22-24), but—and here is the important point—the husband is not to be a taskmaster who lords and controls his wife’s every move. The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church, just as the husband is the head of the wife. The Lord is not a dictator over the Church which is His Body; likewise, the husband should not dominate and bully his wife. Jesus Christ does not take away our free will, and neither should the husband take away the free will of his wife.
Husbands are commanded to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19), to the point where they would give their own lives for the sake of their wives’ (Ephesians 5:25,28,29). Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ loved the Church so much that He gave His life to save it (Ephesians 5:25). If the husband truly loves his wife, the wife by instinct will love him in return. If Jesus Christ really loved the Church (and He did), the Church will love Him in return automatically (which we should do). “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 KJV). Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies. God formed the woman’s body from the man’s body (Genesis 3:21-25): Eve was created from Adam, so the woman is of no less value than the man. The husband should be providing for his wife, taking care of her, and protecting her, just as Jesus Christ nurtures and provides for the Church (Ephesians 5:28,29).
For more information about marriage in the Dispensation of Grace, please refer to 1 Corinthians chapter 7 KJV. This is another important passage to consider about marriage:
“1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.
9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.
38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.”
May we learn from the Guilbeaus Scriptural wisdom, and apply these verses by faith!
UPDATE: *One month shy of their 55th wedding anniversary, on October 30, 2013, Mrs. Barbara passed away to be with our Lord Jesus Christ.