On Marriage
"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord." (Prov 18:22).

Marriage is a gift from God for the blessing of husband, wife, children and the well being of society. It is no wonder then that it is so much under attack. That lawless, rebellious spirit works against God's order to bring chaos, confusion and heartache.

In what follows I want to target one powerful weapon of Satan, that he uses to destroy or bankrupt marriages.

I want to see men come to that place where they see their wives restored to the fullness of "their strength and dignity" (Prov 31:25), where each man can say of his wife "you are the delight of my eyes" (Ezekiel 24:16) and mean it from the heart.

I want to see wives come to that place where they see their husband reflecting the image of God and can say "that you my husband are strong (to protect) and that you my husband are loving (so faithful)." (Psalm 62:11-12).

That powerful weapon of Satan is shame.

The Psalmist says "remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways" (25:7). For many people today, they have not been courted properly to marriage, ie:- the bottom line being, no hands inside clothing. "Men behaving badly" may be a comedy programme, but in reality it brings shame which wraps itself around men and women like a cloak (Ps 109:29, 89:45) and prevents intimacy. We can have children but no intimacy. Shame is demonic, so that when arguments surface through resentment or bitterness or anger, the intensity of the conflict is beyond human strength and drives a wedge between husband and wife. Have you ever felt this driving demonic force? It leads to you believing the grass over the other side of the fence is greener. That's a lie. Your grass is the greenest. You just need to deal with the mantle of shame.

How do you do that?

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips" (Prov 24:26), ie:- it brings intimacy. Jesus said "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free"(John 8:32). We have to be ruthlessly honest about the past - the abuse done to us and the sins of our youth. Our bodies are designed to be temples of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the temple in Jerusalem was "ram raided". "They behaved like men wielding axes … they defiled the dwelling place of Your name" (Psalm 74:5). We call it "men behaving badly" and laugh. The truth is there is much abuse about and we need to deal with it. Many women have been defiled by men and are clothed in shame. Many men too, by their selfish actions, have covered themselves in shame. (Shame can also come with much less than the loss of virginity.)

Husband and wife get honest with each other about the past, bring it to the cross, ask forgiveness, see the power of the shame broken, and see intimacy restored. Intimacy is really about knowing one another at the deepest level, the good and the bad, the best and the worst, forgiving one another and loving one another as Christ loved us. God made your wife for you, not for someone else. God made your husband for you, not for someone else. If only we all had the patience to wait for that special person!

The sins of our youth can boomerang back to us in middle age if they are not dealt with (mid life crisis). They can remain in the pit of our stomach making us sick, making our marriages sick. We need to bring them out of the pit (darkness) into the light through ruthless honesty and confession. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify (cleanse) us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

That we as men, can unashamedly and honestly say of our wives, like Ezekiel said -

"You are the delight of my eyes".

and that our wives can stand before us, unashamedly, as Proverbs says -

"clothed with strength and dignity".

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