I love going to the movies. I like watching those movies where boy meets girl, boy pursues girl, boy gains girl, boy looses girl, boy wins girl back and you guessed it they live happy ever after. I love those kinds of movies because that really is a fantasy. No ones lives happy ever after they live happy even after. They live happy even after the misunderstandings, the financial struggles, the conflicts, the sexual struggles or even the adultery. Couples learn to live happy even after the challenges of marriage. What about you? Are you learning to live happy even after or are you waiting on the fantasy. Are you waiting for things to happen or are you ready to work on making things happen. Dr. Ivory Varner would say to us “We are not here to report on what happened we are here to make it happen.” If you are going to have a marriage whereby you are happy even after, you are going to have to work on it and at it. Happy even after will come because you find your happiness in obedience to God’s design instead of trying to fulfill your desires in your spouse. God did not design marriage and family for your personal agenda. God designed marriage and family to bring glory to Himself and to lead you, your spouse and family into holiness.
Have you considered God’s design and intention for a family? Do you know what is expected of you and your spouse? As you look at God’s will and are willing to walk in His will, you can expect His results for your marriage and family. Until you truly evaluate your spouse according to the Biblical definition and design of a family, you really cannot determine if you have a good marriage as God would define it. God designed marriage and family with His purpose in mind. If your spouse fits your purpose but does not align with God’s design for marriage and family, you are in a bad position. You will need to reevaluate your priorities and adjust them to God’s will accordingly. Nothing will work well if it does not function as God designed. Since God created all things, He knows how all things should function. To function any other way brings confusion, chaos and destruction. You may say to yourself, “It’s been working fine up to this point!” My response would be, “According to whose definition and design?” You need to be careful about how you evaluate situations. Just because something appears good to you does not mean that it is good for you. God is a patience God who will give you time to repent. But if you refuse, He will allow you to suffer the consequences of your choices (Gal 6:7-8). Why do you think there are so many divorces? I am sure according to their definition, the relationship was working. But when you look at God’s design for marriage and family, it was not even close! Don’t be that person that is so blinded by his own ambition that he does not see God’s will. You and your spouse need to look at what God says and take a look at what you are doing. God’s family done God’s way will receive God’s blessing. Let’s take a look at the premise, priority, and picture of a family as God intended.
There are four things you must consider when you look at the premise of a family as God intended. First, A family is to consist of a man and woman in marriage under God as long as they both shall live (Gn 2:18-25). God did not sanction Adam and Steve or Eve and Evetta. God designed a family to consist of man and woman who were born as man and woman. This was to be a life long union.
Second, this man and woman are to live together as Husband and Wife with children who are related by birth or adoption through mother/father relationship or through parentage in a biblical marriage to each other. This family is to be managed by the Father/Husband to glorify God in all aspects of life (See Genesis 1:26-31, 2:18, 21-25, 18:19). God developed a structure for marriage where the Husband is the head; the wife is the support, and the children are developed according to the Husband and wife team. This is a not a tradition, but a truth that God expects us to live by. When I look at relationships on TV and in our culture, there seems to be a break from the roles that God developed. There is an attack on the biblical design for marriage. People are redefining marriage according to their subjective ideals. As a result families are breaking up in major proportions. When we abandon the truth, we are left to our own devices, which lead to our own destruction (Prv 14:12).
Third, God designed the family to provide companionship, nurture, discipline, and training in righteousness in order that all would live a life pleasing to God and beneficial to society (Eph 5:22-6:4). God intended the family to be the training ground for living. It is intended to be the place where you learn who God is and how to function as God wants you to function.
As I counsel I find families far from being a training ground for knowing God. It is more like a war zone where God is not even mentioned. Think about both of your family backgrounds. Was God the center? What I hear most often is, “I was raised in the church or I have been in the church all my life.” Going to church or being in church does not make you a Christian. That’s like saying, “I have been going to a mechanic shop all my life, therefore, I am a mechanic.” I don’t think so. Church attendance does not make you a Christian—accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior does. Do you live for Christ or for yourself? Is your character and service reflecting Jesus Christ? Does your spouse live for Christ? Does his or her character reflect Christ or self. These issues have much to do with the family you were brought up in.
Fourth, the family was intended to be the way God reflected the nature of His relationship with His people. It is through the Husband-Wife relationship that you should see how God relates to His Church. It is through the Parent-Child relationship you should see how God relates to His people in general (Eph 5:22-32, 2Cor 6:16-18). It is through your family that God intended to show Himself to the world. If people were to look at your relationship with your spouse right now, would they see Satan or the Son of God? When you look at your family of origin does it reflect the nature of God or the nature of the Devil? The premise for a family is reflected in these four principles. When you think about your family, do you have these things in mind? Knowing God’s will helps you to adjust your thinking to His will. Now take a look at your mate and consider him or her in connection with the premise of the family God intended.
Now that we have looked at the premise of a family as God designed, we must consider the priority of the family. The family is the foundation for every other institution. The Church, the neighborhood, and our society all exist because of families. The entire social structure owes its existence to the family. Think about it. What institution could function without the family?
Second, we must consider that the family was the only entity on earth commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Gn 1:28). This was not commanded to institutions or to governments; it was commanded to the family. Families are the lifeline of our society. Everyone that exists comes from a family. This explains why distortions and deficiencies in our families will produce distortions and deficiencies in every other human institution. For instance, the educational system is being negatively impacted by poor family dynamics. As families are falling away from God’s design, schools are having a difficult time teaching children. They are trying to do what God designed the family to do. The government is seeking to take care of children that were to be taken care of by the family. This results in financial challenges for government and society.
Do you realize that your family had a major impact on the person you are today? Your family did not make you who you are, but they did have an impact on who you are. You have learned to respond either positively or negatively to the experiences in your family. You tend to compare all other experiences to what happened to you in your family. You may find yourself trying to escape from the experiences of your family or trying to create the experiences of your family. Either way you have been influenced by your family in a major way. This has an impact on a marriage relationship. This is why an evaluation of God’s design for a family in connection to the kind of family you and your spouse have had and the family you are seeking to have is very important.
Even though sin has corrupted mankind, God still has a picture of how He wants a family to function, and He will give you the power to function according to His picture. If families function as God designed, they can expect God’s blessing as a result. The family is:
- To be a place of companionship where a husband and wife work together to accomplish God’s will resulting in living out a covenant marriage before God and others (Gn 2:18-25).
- To be a place where the husband is a servant leader to the wife and family in all aspects of the family (Eph 5:22-6:4).
- To be a place where the wife supports her husband and family in all aspects of the family (Prv 31:10-31).
- To be place where children are born and valued (Ps 127:3-5).
- To be a place where the will of God is taught and lived out from generation to generation, resulting in Christian character, conduct, and conversation being developed accordingly (Dt 4:1-9, Lk 6:40-45, Ti 2:1-5).
- To be a place where children are taught to obey and respect God and all other authority, through discipline and instruction from the Word of God (Eph 6:4).
- To be a place where mothers and fathers are honored through the wisdom of their children (Prv 10:1).
- To be a place where people are an asset and not a liability to each other resulting in bearing each other’s burdens and meeting the needs of one another (Ps128:1-6, Rom 12:9-21)
- To be a place where people live by the commandments of God from the heart and not allow the traditions of the culture or other family members to hinder their obedience resulting in the fruit of God being produced by all (Jam 3:13-18, John 15:1-8).
This picture of God’s will for marriage and family is possible through the power of God. This picture should be what you strive for in your marriage and family. Now that you have looked at God’s definition and design for a family, you must evaluate your own definition and design for a family. Do you have in mind what God had in mind? Does your spouse have in mind what God had in mind? The two of you must decide if you will do it God’s way or seek to do it your way.