What is a Godly Marriage? | God's Design for the Christian Home


Part 1 of 7: Today we are continuing with our seven part series titled, What is a Godly Marriage? If you missed the introduction to this series, please take a moment to click here and read it. Today's first chapter is titled, "God's Design for the Christian Home". Please keep in mind that this is an outline for the Christian home and each family will find different strategies that work well for them within these guidelines that are clearly stated in the Bible. Enjoy! [Amy]

CHAPTER 1 | God's Design for the Christian Home


What do you think of when you imagine a Christian home? I mean, a real God fearing family devoted to serving the Lord in every aspect of their lives. Maybe you imagine the Walton’s – you know, that old TV show from years back. Or maybe your mind imagines your Pastor, or a missionary family, or the quiet neighbors down the road.

Society has very efficiently damaged the design that God planned and built for the Christian home. Throughout the Bible, we are shown that men are the providers for their families and women are the homemakers. In Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Boys, he explains that women who work outside of the home tend to have more testosterone levels than women who work inside of the home as homemakers. When women who have worked outside of the home leave their career and become homemakers, their testosterone levels decrease. The same for men – men who have office jobs or who act as the homemaker in their family tend to have lower levels of testosterone, compared to those men who work with their hands, outside, or have another non-office related job. Does this mean a man shouldn't have an office, job? No way -- you can be very successful and provide much for your family with an office job. However, statistics do show the changes in levels. It is unnatural for these levels to be higher or lower than suggested, which can cause stress on either or both spouses. Women who work outside of the home sometimes tend to be overpowering and have less ability to allow the husband to take on his role as leader of his household -- which, in return, can cause a man to shut down and have a quiet spirit, or worse….leave and file for divorce papers.  Stay with me here….

What is the purpose of marriage?
Before we can understand our roles as husband and wife, we must first understand why God created marriage. God designed marriage to be one man and one woman, joining together in a sacred bond and commitment before Him.  In Genesis 2:18, God states that it is not good for man to be alone, so He creates a helper that is suitable for him.  In the book of Mark (Mark 10:6-9), we are told that man and woman shall marry and become one flesh, clinging to one another for the remainder of their lives. Therefore, marriage was created for companionship and to relieve the stress from each partner – you could say that God is a fan of team work.

God also designed marriage as a way to refrain from sin and to allow for intimacy between a husband and wife. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul clearly states that it is best for a man to remain single, as his life will be full of far less heartache. However, he also goes on to say that if a man or woman’s will is not strong enough to abstain from sexual desires, then it is best for us to marry. The flip side of that is that God designed marriage so that we could share intimacy with one another. Treating intimacy as “just having sex” is completely wrong. Just think, the only people in the world who are supposed to be having intimate moments are a husband and wife (with one another). It is far more special than “just sex”. Unfortunately, society and the view of sex in our world have diminished the sanctity and excitement of a sexual relationship with our spouse – it is no longer “special” or sentimental.  Marriage is pleasurable, enjoyable, and fun. Though as Paul stated, it can be full of heartache on the continuous road of trying to figure out what a Godly marriage is all about.  We’ll touch more on intimacy in marriage later on, as it is an entire topic in itself.

Finally, marriage was created for procreation. As stated above, the only people who are to be in a sexual relationship are married couples. Genesis 1:28 says, God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” In order for us to be fruitful, we must marry first and then procreate. Does this mean you have to have children? Absolutely not – there are many couples who cannot have children. But I do think it is something we should highly consider in our marriages. However, if you are financially unstable or in a difficult marriage, it would most likely be best to wait on having children. Make sure your relationship with Christ is firmly planted first. If we choose not to have children (or cannot have children), then we should certainly be filling our lives with Christ even more to fill the void, especially as servants to others in our lives and our communities.

Roles of a husband and wife
Now that you know the purpose of marriage, you may be wondering what the answer is to my first question -- what exactly does a Christian household look like?

The husband is to be the provider of the household. He is to work and bring in enough income to supply the needs of his wife and children. Notice that I said needs, not wants, not desires, and not “enough money so that they can live above their means”.  The husband’s role is difficult and stressful, as he has a lot weighing on his shoulders to provide for his family. Does this mean the wife doesn't work? Quite the contrary.  

The husband is to be the leader of his household – finalizing major decisions when it comes to his family, finances, etc. He is to teach his children to love the Lord and to be respectful – he is to be an example, a role model and a mirror image of Christ for his wife and children. He is to love his wife unconditionally. He is to encourage family time with God and draw his family closer to the Lord, daily. He is to be a protector, fighting off anything that might try to tear his family apart (things that stress finances, sinful desires, worldly influence in his household, etc) and correcting his household and those in it when the need arises.

The wife’s role isn’t an easy task either. A wife is to be the homemaker. She is to tend to her home and children – taking pride in her work as a caretaker and teacher. She is a helpmate to her husband, loving him unconditionally and serving him and the rest of her household in daily chores and other activities. Does this mean that the husband isn’t supposed to take the trash out once a week? Hmm, no, but good try fella’s. But does this mean the wife should complain when the husband doesn’t take the trash out? No, she shouldn’t. After all, homemaking is her job, not her husbands. Though, his unconditional love for her should motivate him to serve her just as she serves him. We are here to lean on one another, not dictate. A wife is to have a gentle spirit, never questioning her husband’s direction unless compelled to by the Holy Spirit. She is to allow her husband to lead her household, even during the difficult times.

In today’s world, it is hard living on a single spouse’s income. However, if it is your desire, I believe that it is completely possible in most situations. With that said, many households cannot survive without both spouses working. They literally cannot afford not to work. However, if the wife is simply working because she wants to support her family’s luxury lifestyle or in order to pawn her children off on daycare during the week, I do not believe she is in the will of God, nor do I believe it is healthy for her family. With that said, even the Proverbs 31 woman -- who is an amazing homemaker and God fearing woman – worked outside of the home when necessary. She was not idol with her time. She did not have the luxury of sitting on the sofa watching her afternoon soap opera or talking to friends on facebook. It is the wife’s role to be a helpmate to her husband, teacher to her children, homemaker, and then help provide for her family if necessary and time allows. She is to rise early and stay up late if that is what it takes to get all of her tasks done for that day. If, after her tasks are completed, she has time to bring in extra income from home, it is certainly encouraged throughout Proverbs 31.  With that said, if it is your desire to have a career, then by all means, speak about it with your spouse – but always make sure that you are putting God, your husband, children and home ahead of your career. That is God’s design, and there is blessing and strength within it.

We’ll dive a little more in depth on the roles of husband and wife later on in this series.

So, to recap:

God designed marriage for,
1. Companionship and teamwork
2. Sacred intimacy/to refrain from sin
3. Procreation

A husband is to,
1. Be the leader of his household.
2. Bring in enough income for his family’s needs.
3. Finalize major decisions when it comes to his family, finances, and daily life.
4. Be a mirror image of Christ to his wife and children – love unconditionally.
5. Lead his wife and children into the love and will of the Lord.
6. Protect his family – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

A wife is to,
1. Be her husband’s helpmate.
2. Serve her husband and children with a gentle and quiet spirit.
3. Be a homemaker – tending to daily household chores and meals.
4. Be a teacher to and for her children. Mirroring the image of Christ to them and furthering their education.
5. Help provide for her family when time allows – never allowing herself to be idol.
6. Frugal in spending – always help provide for your family through creation of your own household items, or by saving money when extra money is available.

I know there are still a lot of questions around the roles of a husband and wife. So, we will go more in depth about the roles of a husband and wife later in the series (in fact, in the very next chapter!)  We will also dive into relational priorities later on in this series – God, Husband, Wife, Children….in that order.
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OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:

Check back often to this main post for links to the other posts in this series. This series will be updated weekly, if not twice a week.

4 comments

  1. As Christians I feel we should "build each other up," however this whole chapter has made me feel like an awful wife which thankfully I know I'm not.

    Prior to marriage, my husband and I both worked hard and got college degrees. With that came student loans which we have no problem paying. My four year degree requires me to be licensed in my state. Not only is my decision to continue to work make me extremely happy but also my employer helps to financially keep my license current by paying for continuing education.

    My husband and I have been married for over seven years and we have two amazing children. Thank you for belittling me because I work part time and my children go to an in-home daycare.

    My husband and I vowed before God and our family and friends, to love, honor and cherish each other until death parts us. Coming into our marriage my husband has always treated me as an equal and we both put 110% into our marriage. From day one he has, without me asking, done any household task that needed to be done. He is not fearful of laundry, dishes, the vacuum or cooking an occasional meal.

    I think it's obvious that I do not agree that if wives work outside the home, they are still required to do their wifely duties of managing the home. What is it that my husband should do during this time? Watch me? My husband would think that is ridiculous.

    We also have some wonderful Christian friends. Both have families. You have already judged them without even meeting them. Both wives work outside the home while the husbands are stay at home dads. One husband never obtained a trade skill or higher education and the wife did - prior to marriage. In both cases, these decisions were made as couples who treat each other as equals.

    While I agree with some aspects of submission, I do not agree that a wife is a household manager while the husband is the CEO. You mentioned that if a wife feels drawn to work outside the home she needs to speak with her husband. Any family matter, the husband gets the final say. That is control. That is ungodly. Marriage is a team.

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    Replies
    1. I completely understand what you're saying, and this post was not posted to belittle wives or mothers. In fact, it's just the opposite. I'm extremely sorry that you've taken offense to it.

      The sad fact is, that yes, it is biblical. Proverbs 31 speaks of a wife having a job outside of the home (which is touched on in this series) AND taking care of her household. It is her duty. If that is belittling, then I'm not sure where we should look for guidance, if not the Bible. With that said, this post never implied that a husband shouldn't help, again, in fact, it encourages husbands to help their wives through out this series. And again, I actually said "marriage is teamwork" in this blog post....so yes, you're absolutely correct about that.

      Marriage is 100% 100%. Husbands work and wives can too, according to scripture. My point is, which is also biblical regarding the Proverbs 31 wife, that she tended to her household FIRST. This was her FIRST priority, and then she did other things such as working outside of the home and inside of the home, whichever is best for her family. Chapter two completely lays all of this out in more detail.

      I have not judged or belittled anyone in anyway, and if it was taken that way, I do sincerely apologize. I have had to work outside of the home for several years before being able to become a work at home mom. Yep, I WORK. Inside the home and some days outside of the home. But I tend to my household first, because that is just what my biblical duty is. --amy

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    2. Also, the part that you are referring to, about a wife simply wanting to work to support her luxurious lifestyle or because she doesn't want to be a parent, that's not subliminal. I, personally, know of wives who just simply do not want to be a parent and who simply work just so they can frivolously spend money.

      If you are working simply because you want to, to support your family, and it's necessary (and you're crazy about your kids when you're home!) then yes, by all means, work. Marriage is a team effort, not a dictatorship, which is also stated in this blog post.

      I am extremely sorry you've taken offense to this post, it was never written to sound the way that you have portrayed it in reference to your life. In fact, I've received so many emails from wives who've read this particular blog post (and the entire series) that have had their lives and marriages changed (for the good) because of it. So I'm very sorry that I'm taken back by your comment.

      Love in Christ!
      Amy

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