A Christian Perspective on Marriage

A Christian Perspective on Marriage

A Christian Perspective on Marriage

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”  (Genesis 2:24 NIV).

A Christian Perspective on Marriage

At almost every marriage ceremony that I have attended, the words “What God has put together, let no man separate,” are often spoken by the pastor or person conducting the ceremony. Rings are also exchanged by the happy couple. The rings are essentially a circle which has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol of infinity. It is endless and eternal — just the way love should be. The wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This is because the vein in this finger was believed to lead directly to the wearer’s heart.

Marriage is a holy sacrament and a three-way covenant between the husband, wife and God. However, the National Survey of Family Growth and PolitiFact.com estimated that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is between 40 and 50 percent. A key factor that 

affects rates of divorce is the importance of religion to the couple. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:24-27 to build our house on the rock. Remember, your first responsibility is to love God, then your spouse and then your children. Not even your own children should come between a married couple.

Below are five steps for a healthy marriage.

1) Start with God: Both members of the couple should accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior and make Him their main priority. God is love and a loving marriage must include God. Remember, we follow God; God does not follow us.

2) Pray for and with each other: Pray each day for God’s blessings to be poured out abundantly on your spouse. Pray for protection and wisdom for them. Pray that their words, actions and thoughts that day will bring glory to Him. Also, pray with your spouse; this shows each other that you want to seek His face and understand His will and are putting Him first. You will also learn the particular concerns of your spouse and this will help you to develop your prayers for your spouse in a more focused manner.

3) Husbands, honor your wives: Husbands should treat their wives with honor and respect. Treat your wife as you would want your mother, daughter or sister to be treated. Honor her with your words and actions. Loving words are nice, but loving actions mean more. You don’t need to buy expensive jewelry to accomplish this. You do need to study your wife and find out what she enjoys and try to provide it. The more she observes you trying to please her, the more she will want to please you. So, if you attend an opera show with her, she will be much more likely to attend a football game with you. Don’t push it; let the Holy Spirit work on her. According to Todd Shupe, a pertinent scripture in this regard is Ephesians 5:25. It reads, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

4) Become one body: Genesis tells us that a man will leave his parents to join his wife and become one body with her. This means that the two shall cease to have feelings that do not impact the other. If your spouse is unhappy, then that means half of you is unhappy and you need to address it.

5) Forgiveness: Couples will always disagree and argue. However, it is essential that we are slow to anger and quick to forgive. If we do not forgive others for their sins, then how can we expect God to forgive us for our sins (Matthew 6:15). We all make mistakes and married couples will inevitably disappoint and anger each other, but we must offer each other grace and forgiveness. We may be hesitant to offer forgiveness for a “repeat offense,” but don’t we seek God’s forgiveness for our repeated sins? When you let go of bitterness and offer forgiveness, you are truly freeing yourself.

God clearly does not want man to live alone. He gave Adam a partner to live with him. In the same way, God will — or has — given you a partner. I encourage you to love, honor and forgive your spouse and make God the focal point of your marriage. May God richly bless you, your spouse and your marriage.

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the blessing of marriage. Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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What Is A “Real” Man?

What Is A “Real” Man?

I recently heard a term that caught my attention.  A friend commented on a movie actor that he liked because the actor is a “real man.” He plays tough-guy characters that don’t put up with any nonsense.    A segment of pop music encourages boys and men to be “real men” by selling drugs, killing rivals, and prostituting women.    Some TV sitcoms portray “real men” as clowns, grouchy, or unable to communicate with their family.   I reject all of these notions of a man and submit to you five characteristics of a real man:

        • A real man honors and respects his wife above all else. He affirms her with his actions and words and supports her at all times.   There is nothing or no one more important to him than his wife, including his own children
        • A real man bows down before he ever attempts to stand up and lead his family. He recognizes that all authority on heaven and earth come from God.
        • He knows that upon his death Christ will say to him “Well done my good and faith servant” (Matthew 25:21).  A real man straps on the armor of God and encourages his family and others in spiritual warfare.
        • A real man accepts responsibility and is able to freely accept AND give grace and forgiveness. He does not carry grudges and realizes that before he throws any stones or criticizes his neighbor for the splinter in their eye, he must carefully examine himself and recognizes that he himself is not without fault.
        • A real man is committed to The Great Commissioning and understands that before he can be the hands and feet of God he must first disciple himself and then his family.
In summary, a real man loves his wife as Christ loves the church.  He earnestly prays every day for her physical, mental, and spiritual well being.  He realizes that he and his spouse are one body and that anything that affects his wife also affects him.  A real man is not perfect nor without sin, but he is constantly striving to grow closer to Christ and bring His light into the world.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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“Four Ways To Turn Father’s Day Into A Celebration Of The Selfless Service Men Do Daily”

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While we’d rather see more than one day per year dedicated to recognizing the fathers in all our lives, we’ll take one and seize upon it for now.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, now’s the time to start planning the best ways to mark the occasion. From family outings to intimate sit-downs with like-minded family and friends, Father’s Day is a chance to show respect, appreciation and utmost gratitude for the 

sacrifices our fathers have made throughout their lives and ours to better our quality of living. I am a firm believer in Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day).  That’s because it can be used for purposes beyond a card in the mail or a nice dinner.  

With that in mind, here are four ways to spend the upcoming holiday thanks to suggestions from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based arm of Band of Brothers. For more information on that organization, click here. For ways to turn this upcoming Sunday into a celebration of men everywhere, keep reading.

– Angels in the Outfield: What says “spring has arrived” more than an afternoon at a baseball game? If sports aren’t your thing but you still want to spend time outdoors with your family, try a nature walk, day at the beach or visit to an animal sanctuary.

– Leading by Example: Reach out to your congregation and see if they will allow you to use the church for an educational seminar on the modern role of a father. Invite the community at large and be surprised at how much new information and insight into other’s lives that you’ll walk away with.

– Sunday Service: When it comes time to attend church on Father’s Day, those in the position to preach should take their role to heart and spread a message that will reach all men – not just fathers. Encourage a handful of men in the congregation to share stories of success through faith. You can also distribute a survey to men in attendance to get a better idea of issues they face today. That survey can then be used by your church’s leadership team to shape fall programming in hopes of reaching more with resonating messages. Some churches have a Men’s Sunday that occurs on or near Father’s Day (and a women’s day that occurs near Mother’s Day).  The service is lead by the men of the church and they select a special guest speaker to bring a powerful message of God’s love and grace.

– Rest and Relaxation: After church, head outdoors for a family picnic or to a site with recreational options for you and the family to consider. It’s both a team-building exercise and quality time well spent with loved ones.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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