Navigating the challenges of marriage has never been easy, and more and more couples find today’s cocktail of work stress, raising kids, and social norms to be even more difficult. Many of us respond by looking for a quick fix or universal answers. Ironically, we know these simple solutions are not deeply satisfying or long term remedies. So what should we do?
Winston T. Smith’s Marriage Matters (New Growth Press, 2010) offers helpful advice when we are searching:
When a person has one solution to every problem, we’re tempted to write him or her off as simplistic or shallow. We aren’t interested in pat answers. But knowing Jesus and understanding that he’s your Savior and the solution to life’s problems doesn’t make working through life’s problems easy. As we grow in understanding his rich and varied love and wisdom, you’ll know that there’s nothing simplistic about this answer. As we grow in different areas of marriage and how we’re to follow him, you’ll see the richness and power of Jesus and his love.
(From p. 69. Emphasis mine.)
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Jesus isn’t a simple or trite solution, but He is the Solution. And in Christ’s beautiful, complex, and rich grace, we find all we need for our own marriages. In Ephesians 5, we see a picture of how Jesus is the answer for both husbands and wives. Wives are to respectfully submit and follow their husbands. This isn’t because they are inferior or lesser; quite the opposite! They submit because that is what Jesus did in His life, being fully submissive to the Father and dependent on the Spirit. Husbands are to model Christ as well: just as Jesus sacrificed His life to beautify His spouse the Church, so husbands are to lay down their lives in sacrificial leadership to supply all that their wives need in the Lord. As Christians, man and woman submit one to another (Eph 5:21), and as husbands and wives they carry out their unique duties so that their own marriages would be a mysterious picture of the Gospel!
How this looks from one couple to the next will be complex, unique, and require wisdom. And that is why Jesus is the answer to whatever particular challenge you are facing in your own marriage… right now!
Here’s a little more from Winston Smith: