Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not,
Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
—Thomas O. Chisholm (1866-1960)
By Dave Alberts
This old hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” reminds us of the faithfulness of our God towards us. God’s faithfulness never changes. Likewise in marriage, faithfulness is exceedingly important – even when we see much unfaithfulness during this day in which we live.
Trusting in God’s plan for our lives is vital. When a Christian man and woman are doing so and are brought together for marriage, they must realize that God has faithfully brought them to each other. He knows the need we have to be loved and to love. When God instituted marriage it was because He saw that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created a helpmate perfectly fit for him (Gen. 2:18).
God’s way of providing a helpmate for Adam was to take a rib from Adam’s side in order to create his wife, Eve. The rib came from near Adam’s heart so he would love and cherish her as his own body. She was taken from under his arm that he might protect and provide for her. His helpmate was taken from his side to stand by him in all that life involves. This is still what God intends for marriage today. God has not changed His pattern from that very first marriage.
Our God went on to say in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (KJV). It is very beautiful to see how God faithfully takes two individuals and molds them into one. It is much more than just a physical union – it is a spiritual and emotional one as well. The word “cleave” in this verse really means to “cling to” or be “glued” together. Let’s consider four things that will help keep your marriage “glued” together.
1. LOOK To The Needs Of Each Other
The first thing is to look for how you can meet the needs of your spouse. Scripture says in Philippians 2:4, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” As an unmarried individual you only needed to see that your own needs were met. Now as a married man your responsibility as stated in Ephesians 5 is to love, nourish and cherish your wife as much as you would care for yourself. This means putting her needs above your own. As a wife you need to willingly and lovingly submit to your husband’s leadership. Look for ways you can encourage him in his responsibilities.
Both of you must look for ways to meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of your spouse. Meeting emotional needs means being available to your spouse with understanding and love during the ups and downs of life. Spiritual needs are met through reading Scripture together and seeking to help each other apply it to your life. The intimacy that God says is honorable in marriage should be shared freely and enjoyed with your spouse to meet the physical needs. Look up to God in prayer together and alone that He may show you how to meet these needs.
2. LISTEN Carefully
Listen! Good communication is so important in marriage and it starts with listening carefully to each other. In James 1:19 God says, “Wherefore, My beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we would listen twice as much as we speak. Listening means that we focus on what our spouse is telling us and act on it. What is being communicated may be verbal as well as nonverbal. For men the nonverbal can be more difficult, so we need to look as well as listen.
Don’t let the busyness of life take away from the time that you share your hearts with each other. Always be open and honest with one another and create a relationship where there is trust and no fear to tell each other your thoughts. When there are misunderstandings, resolve them quickly and lovingly.
3. LOVE Sacrificially
The third thing is to love as God describes in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” If you aren’t able to remember all these things, at least remember the first two: “Love suffers long and is kind.”
In your marriage you will need patience and kindness. Kindness includes being willing to say, “I was wrong.” It means you are willing to forgive each other as Christ also has forgiven you. This love is a sacrificial love that always puts God and our spouse above ourselves. How can you fulfil this love toward each other?
As believers in the Lord Jesus you each have the Holy Spirit living in you. Galatians 5 reminds us that the first feature of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. If He is in control, His love will be seen. Beside this love there will also be in your marriage the added benefit of joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I’m sure these are things we would all desire in our marriages, so let the Holy Spirit be in control.
4. LIVE Abundantly
Lastly, live abundantly the life the Lord Jesus desires for you to live together. He said in John 10 that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. This means seeking together to serve Him and follow His leading in your marriage. Read His Word together to hear His voice. Enjoy one another fully – laughing together, crying together and serving others together. And spend time in recreational activities together.
I encourage both of you, husband and wife, to look to the needs of each other, listen carefully, love sacrificially and live abundantly. In doing so, God will be faithful to keep you “glued together.”
Remember: the vows of commitment you expressed at your wedding were before God, who has been faithful to you. By being faithful to Him and fulfilling those vows as God expects of you, He will abundantly bless you and make you a blessing to others. There are many couples who can testify to God’s faithfulness to bless because they were faithful to their vows and to Him. May you be counted together in that number!