In this series of articles, I want to talk about what is next to your relationship with God, the most necessary and important relationship in all the world and that is, of course, with your family, generally, but specifically with your wife, in particular.
Now, you know our own spiritual life must be maintained with a degree of discipline and order. That is whereby we expose ourselves to the means of grace and grow in our relationship with Him. If we don’t do that, over time, our relationship with God will become cold, may become distant, may become weak, and therefore may lead us into sin.
Now, in the same way, our relationship with our wife must be cultivated over time. For there is a tendency due to remaining sin, for us to become common, or cold, or distant, or separated, and detached from one another as husband and wife. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for men as husbands, to be seeking to maintain and grow in these three areas. That is:
Many men do not know how to lead their wives spiritually, they do not know how to love their wives romantically and they do not know how to satisfy their wives physically. And as a result of those things, the marriage may drift apart and you may be living under the same roof, but because you’re so busy, so involved, you neglect the first foundational human relationship that God has established. And many men due to ignorance, or indifference, or busyness, or neglect, or even selfishness are not leading their wives spiritually, nor loving them romantically, nor satisfying them physically.
But hear me, men, you have a great responsibility before your outward ministry and that is your marriage. Let me give you, by way of introduction, three reasons why your relationship with your wife and your marriage is absolutely crucial. Three basic reasons.
1. If you neglect your wife, it hinders your relationship with GodRemember the words of Peter in 1 Peter 3. Here, Peter talks about the responsibility of wives toward their husbands by way of their example, and their character and attitude toward their husband. In 1 Peter 3:7, the very familiar verse spoken specifically to husband saying, “You husbands, in the same way, live with your wife in an understanding way, as someone weaker since she is a woman, and show her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered. We’ll look at this verse in more detail in a moment. But I simply wanted you to notice that last phrase “so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
First, if you neglect your relationship with your wife and you do not work and exercise the appointed means to cultivate spiritual unity, romantic affection, and physical intimacy in your marriage and if you don’t live with your wife with sensitivity and with knowledge and with understanding, the Bible says it will affect your relationship with God. If you are not faithful in this first foundational relationship, which is toward your wife, then it may hinder your relationship with God.
Now, many, many preachers don’t think their marriage and their relationship with their wife is very important. Consequently, they fail due to ignorance, neglect, or selfishness, or busyness, or being involved in other things, and therefore it hinders their relationship to God. So why is your relationship with your wife important? Because if you fail in that area, or you’re frigid or cold in that area, or you’re indifferent or irresponsible in that area it will hinder your relationship with God.
2. If You Neglect Your Wife, It Disqualifies You From MinistryI would remind you, secondly, that you are very familiar with Paul writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3. As you well know, we have the qualification and responsibilities of leaders and the church. And in 1 Timothy 3:2, “An overseer then must be above reproach.” That is, there is nothing you can lay hold on him about as being blameable. There is no gross inconsistency in his life. It is not that he’s perfect. But with purpose and progress he is a mature man that is growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And then after he gives that general opening qualification, the first thing he mentions, as you well know, in 1 Timothy 3:2, ‘He is the husband of one wife’.
Now, again, this is subject to several different interpretations, we will not get into them now. But what we’re basically saying here is to notice the primary emphasis in these first seven verses. It is not upon the man’s status or state, as to marriage, as it is upon his character. And the Greek literally reads, he is a ‘one-woman man’. That is, he is a man that is devoted and bound to one woman. His marriage is a visible testimony of the character and blamelessness of his life. In his eyes, there is one woman. In his ears, there is one woman. In his heart, there is one woman. In his mind, there is one woman and certainly, in his body, there is one woman. He is a man devoted for the rest of his life to one woman.
And you’ll remember he tells us in verses 4-5, especially v. 5, ‘If a man doesn’t know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God?’ Your family, generally and your oversight of your children specifically, and your relationship with your wife most particularly are absolute necessities and qualifications regarding leadership.
And one of the great tests of a man’s life and character is not how he preaches on Sunday, not how he interacts with other men during the week, not how dynamic is his vision or how strong is his ambition. The great test and qualification of a man, first of all, is in his life and his marriage to his wife. Is he a one-woman man? If there’s another woman in his eyes, if there’s another woman in his mind, if there is another woman in his heart., and if there’s another woman in his arms, he is disqualified from being a leader in the church. Sadly, many men are so busy, busy, busy with the ministry that they neglect their family and their wives’ needs are unmet.
Now, I’m not saying you have to sit around all day and hold your wife’s hand and gaze into her eyes and tell her 100 times a day that you love her. But what we are saying is this: your marriage must be pure and growing if you would be qualified to serve the Lord.
3. If You Neglect Your Wife, You May Not Be A Good Witness To The World.Third of all, it is absolutely crucial, because it is to be a primary witness to the world. Remember what Paul says in Ephesians 5, and that very foundational verse in regards to the responsibilities of husbands and wives. He says, in conclusion, Ephesians 5, ‘For this reason, the man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ Now he says, ‘This mystery is great. But I’m speaking with reference to Christ and the church.’
As you well know, your relationship with your wife is to be a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church. It is to be a primary witness to the world. And it doesn’t matter how good a preacher you are, or how much vision you have, or how much zeal you have, or how active you are in the things of God. God is concerned, first of all, about what you are doing with that woman that he gave to you.
And so for these three reasons, it is crucial that you take your relationship with your wife seriously, and in no way neglect your wife.
This article is the transcript of the talk by Brother Andy H. in the meeting held in October 2021 entitled ‘The Pastor And His Marriage’.
Please click here to read Part 2 of the article on ‘Your Wife’s Identity And Ultimate Purpose’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 3 of the article on ‘Cultivating Spiritual Unity In Your Marriage – Part 1’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 4 of the article on ‘Cultivating Spiritual Unity In Your Marriage – Part 2’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 5 of the article on ‘Cultivating Romantic Affection In Your Marriage’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 6 of the article on ‘Cultivating Physical Intimacy In Your Marriage – Part 1’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 7 of the article on ‘Cultivating Physical Intimacy In Your Marriage – Part 2’ by Bro. Andy H.