Dear Angie and Austen,
As you prepare to come before the Creator of all things in matrimony tomorrow, I would like to share with you my experience of why marriages have problems and what the root cause to those problems are . . . so that both of you can understand them, and both of you can avoid them. I have never seen a marriage fail when God was at His rightful place at the head of the marriage
If we dig down to the root of the marital problems people have, we find the following without exception:
ROOT PROBLEM 1:
There are no sides in God’s economy. In God’s word, man and woman become Echad (one). In God’s math, 1+1=1. Two people come together and become a whole. Can a “1” take sides against itself – be divided against itself? If it does this, it is no longer a whole, it becomes a ½.
ROOT PROBLEM 2:
Men and women were created differently – to be different. They are halves created to make a whole – they complete each other. Women need love. Men need respect. A man, if he could only choose one of the two (love or respect), would choose respect. A woman would be horrified at the prospect of being respected but not loved if she had to choose one or the other. Is it any wonder that Yeshua (Jesus) commanded husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands?
ROOT PROBLEM 3:
“Love keeps no record of wrongs.” In other words, “Love can’t exist when you’re keeping a list.” You want to know why? What the text is actually saying here? A record of wrongs against another (a list) can be called something else . . . it can be called an accusation. A “record of wrongs” is actually “a list of accusations.” Guess what the Hebrew word for an accuser is? Satan. There is no denying what Paul was implying here . . . or why. There is no love in him that is called by the very name of “the Accuser.” There is no love in accusations. You can say you love, but if you are taking the role of accuser, your actions (your works) say that you do NOT love. The reason is simple . . . accusations are in contradistinction to love – they are hate. Hate is the antithesis of love. This is why love keeps no list of wrongs against another.
ROOT PROBLEM 4:
Turn the other cheek. Yeshua (Jesus) said it and people misunderstand it. They misunderstand the culture and the meaning. To strike someone on the cheek was one of the gravest insults you inflict on someone in Yeshua’s time. It was actionable in both the Roman courts and in the Jewish Courts and could carry the penalty of death. It was that serious. So why did Yeshua say, “If someone strikes you right cheek, offer him your left as well?” Was it because he wanted us to be doormats? NO! He wanted us to avoid anger (which is also called the evil inclination) and resentment because anger leads to hell. Better to offer your other cheek than to dwell on anger (get a hard heart) and flirt with hell . . . In context, better to lose an eye than to continue sinning and go to hell . . . better to cut of a hand that sins than go to hell. The warning is very real. Hell is very real. Anger leads to hell.
ROOT PROBLEM 5:
Marriage is not a covenant between a man and a woman, it is a covenant between man and God and woman and God. “What GOD has put together…,” is what the text says. It does NOT say “what man or woman has put together…” When you do not honor your marriage in the way that God prescribes, you are not being unfaithful to your spouse, you are being unfaithful to God.
ROOT PROBLEM 6:
Contentment. A good portion of the 10 commandments deal with this subject. Be content with Adonai and don’t go after other gods. Don’t take someone else’s things, be content with what you have. Don’t sleep with someone besides your spouse, be content with the spouse you have. Don’t want your neighbors: house, wife, slave, ox, or anything your neighbor has . . . be content with what you have. Be content with your daily bread – don’t store it up so that you can depend on yourself instead of Him . . .
ROOT PROBLEM 7:
Your own family is your number one mission field. You have either taught them to fear God and obey His commands or you haven’t. One of those commands is to honor their father and mother. It is one of the 10 commandments. The text tells us that children that do NOT honor their father and mother will not see the kingdom of heaven. The text does NOT command children to honor their parents unless their parent is ______ or does _______. The text is very clear. It tells us that children that do not honor their parents will go to hell. The saddest and stark reality is, children that don’t honor their parents are usually taught to do so by one of the other parents. It is the parent that condemns the child to hell by teaching them this. This is NOT the mission of the parent. This would be an example of counter-missionary work. The parent is tasked with teaching the child to obey and respect their parents so that later in life they will know how to obey and respect God, period.
ROOT PROBLEM 8:
Self-Identity. Our identity does not come from our marriage, or our spouse, or our children, or our career, or our house, or our car, or our money . . . our identity comes from being united with Yeshua (Jesus). He comes before all of these things. When we get our identity from anything but him, we are doomed to failure. We come into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing. When we face our Master on that day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess, we will face the accuser as well. He will accuse us devoid of love before our Master – before our King. Will his accusations have merit? Will our own actions and deeds not testify against us according to the text? Every careless word – every careless deed (works) will be measured and the scales will be true – the punishment just.
Just think for a moment . . .
If you saw someone perform a miracle in His name, wouldn’t you think he was anointed of God? If you saw some one expel demons in His name? If you saw someone prophesy in His name? Wouldn’t you think they were men of God? He will say, “I never knew you.” How much more so will he not know the ones that get their identity from careers, money, homes, cars etc over him – INSTEAD of Him?
The text tells us that “where the things that are important to us, there our heart mind and soul will be also.” Our actions either testify for us or against us of what is most important to us. Our actions and words testify as to whether HE is the most important thing to us – Our actions and words testify against us in our deeds and words when he is not.
ROOT PROBLEM 9:
How we approach our sin matters. The text gives us 2 examples of how people face their sins:
Like Adam – He blamed God AND Eve for why he sinned
Like David – He dropped to his knees in repentance saying “I have sinned against Adonai!”
We either make excuses or we drop to our knees and beg forgiveness.
We either blame others or we take the blame.
We are either point our fingers at others and feel justified
We point our fingers at ourselves horrified that we have displeased the Creator of all things.
ROOT PROBLEM 10:
There is no band-aide for submitting unconditionally to God. While marital counseling can be helpful when done by a mature and God-fearing counselor, at the end of the day we have some one that is called:
Pele-Yo‘etz (Wonderful Counselor)
El Gibbor ( Mighty God)
Avi-‘Ad (Father of Eternity)
Sar-Shalom (Prince of Peace)
Our first and foremost counsel should come from God. We get this counsel from reading and studying His word and applying what we read and study into our lives.
We are not to live by human or man-made standards which is defined in the text as worldliness,
We are to live by Godly standards which is holiness.
Worldliness is the opposite of holiness. It is in direct opposition to it.
We are to be Holy because He is Holy . . .
At the end of the day, if we insist on pointing fingers and accusing like Adam did when he blamed both Eve and God, a marriage will fail because there is no love in accusation . . . there is only Satan – The Accuser – The Great Deceiver – The Murderer of Souls.
Remember these things and you will do well.