The Orchid Blooms went on an extended Easter break, but we are back, and glad to be.
So, I've presented the biblical blueprint of the role of a woman in a marriage in the last few posts. Maybe you're wondering where I'm getting these opinions, these preposterous notions, these offensive ideologies.
Well, here you have it.
Today I'll present the verses and their transliterations. Scripture is alive and active. It is literally sharp, and will penetrate you, dividing all the way down to your soul and spirit, your joints and marrow. It will judge your thoughts and the attitudes of your hearts. If at the end of this post you are in awe and wonder, then press on, read the verses again and again, God is speaking directly into your heart.
If you blow a gasket, become full of indignation and disgust at what you have concluded is backward, oppressive, patriarchal, intolerant, woman-shaming and dis-empowering, please seek out a Christ follower who can explain these truths to you as long as you need them to.
An important thing to note: this standard of marriage is expected of those who have been saved. If you are a child of God through the grace of salvation and are married/want to get married, this is the job description God will hold you accountable to. But. If you are not born again; it is impossible for you to fulfill your godly role. This is because it is only by the Holy Spirit's power, guiding, teaching and convicting that the truths of marriage work themselves out in your life. Where does that leave you? Where everyone is before they know Christ: in need of salvation. A free gift, needing only faith, and through God's grace. Then all these other things will be added to your life and marriage.
OK. Open your bibles. Twende kazi.
Transliteration: To write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language. I'm going to write the verses, then their Hebrew/Greek transliteration, to make us fully grasp what God is saying.
To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."
The Hebrew for the word desire is- teshuqah.
-It means a longing. A stretching out after. To crave.
-A need for control (BUT he shall rule over you).
-Like a plant in a dark box will always grow towards the light; an inevitable longing after your husband.
-The entry of sin, now made it impossible for Eve to submit to God's hierarchy of authority. Sin corrupted her nature, causing her to reject God, but He remained sovereign; man would still rule over her.
1 Timothy 9-11-15
9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, [a]modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first [b]created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, [c]fell into transgression. 15 But women will be [d]preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with [e]self-restraint.
I'm going to pause here and exhale, because that visceral reaction you ladies just had reading those verses? I experience it every time I go over them. Every time. Like, "Excuse me?!"
"Am I a doormat? A slave?"
"So you don't want a word out of me; I just bite my lip and do everything you say?!"
Heh heh heh!
Now refer to the first verse. The curse. That we women would desire the control, the autonomy; we would heart and soul reject male authority; submission would burn like fire. We can't help it. It was the consequence of our first mother's (Eve) sin. I'm not going to go into the earrings/pearls/braided hair part or the being preserved through childbirth because, well, because I don't get it yet. I'm going to need my pastor to teach me about it.
What I want us to see is the word QUIET.
Greek for quietly: hesuchia
-Implying calm in the woman who is a believer.
-Tranquil( free from agitation of mind and spirit).
-A God produced calm, which includes an inner tranquility.
-A deep quietude and composure, without turmoil.
Do you see why I said this is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit? This needs supernatural, divine strength and power- it is just so hard! But not impossible. God is asking us to focus on Him, not the marriage, if we want a successful marriage. It's counter-intuitive. But it's how we see with spiritual eyes in the middle of raging conflict. This is how you respect your husband, whether he is a man deserving of it, or a disrespectful and ungrateful man(1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word). Because you are working to please God, not men. And neither are you working to ensure your happiness either by the way. Yes, you will speak, and you will point out where you think he is wrong, but you'll do it respectfully. You won't shout at him. You won't stab him with the sharpest words you can come up with. You won't emasculate him. You won't embarrass him. You won't compare him to other men. You will do all of this, because God has given you a quiet spirit, a tranquility and serenity because of the ultimate sacrifice of His Son for your life in Him.
It's also not the erasure or obliteration of your personality. There are godly women who are sassy, boisterous, witty and laugh really loudly. And there are bitter women who everyone would describe as quiet, peaceful personalities. This godliness we're talking about, is a matter of the heart.
Wives, be subject to your husbands as is fitting to the Lord.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
The Greek for 'to be subject' is: hypotasso.
-Voluntary attitude of giving in, to yield
-to subdue unto
-to submit self unto
-do it willingly, in obedience to God.
This is as serious as serious gets guys. God wants you to submit to your husband as you should to Him, God. That floored me when I read it and really saw it for what it was. I was washed over by a wave of despair. If already I am sinning in failing to submit to God as I should, when will I ever learn to submit to Bryan??
Oh but scripture gives us life, not death. And my initial thoughts were from the devil. Making me think I had to grit my teeth and do all this with my own strength. When the truth is that God my Father has His hand outstretched ready to give me all strength and grace to achieve it, because it will give Him glory.
And Jesus is our example; as in we are supposed to literally copy his behaviour. You won't go wrong imitating Christ's obedience to His Father. It was reflexive, a willing obedience, a selflessness and submission from a quiet, tranquil heart. He is the template. He is the stencil. Trace every curve and line of you 'wifehood' according to how He lived, and you will please God.
Surrender it all to Him wives: your inability to do this, your anger at it, the bitterness over it because of how you have been treated even when you were submissive, surrender it all. You do not do it for your husband, but for God. May He send you help from on high, wives. Look up to the hills, your help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth.
I pray you've read/will read all my posts on your wife's role in your marriage and understood what it is, and what it's not. Grasping it will sober you considerably, and prepare your heart for what God has written is your role, which knocks the wind out of me each time I read it. It is not for the fainthearted. I want to elaborate on the scripture concerning your part of the equation, and in the next post, break them down even further.
Let me state that I do this, only relaying lessons I have garnered from godly teachers of the Word who are husbands. I'm not teaching you as men anything. I'm putting God's Word down and praying that it teaches you. Should you have any questions, comments or protestations, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll have a godly married man put the reply together for you.
Lord, help me.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In [f]toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the [g]plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
“You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.
1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12,14-15
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
If anyone does not obey our [n]instruction [o]in this letter, take special note of that person [p]and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but [q]admonish him as a brother.
Again, the genesis of things is in the garden of Eden. Perfection of mankind is destroyed; like pouring black ink into a glass of water. Eve deceived her husband; and he listened to her.
God's Word isn't telling men to not listen to their wives; but this wife was asking her husband to do something God had clearly forbidden them both from doing. She erred in two ways; disobeying her Maker, and then manipulating her husband to disobey along with her. Had she chosen submission, she wouldn't have asked Adam to eat the fruit. She knew they weren't supposed to touch it. But she put her authority over him, leading him into sin on purpose.
BUT. How Adam responded is all on him. He failed to rule over his wife and lead his home in obedience to God. He was weak. Spineless enough to fully put the blame on his wife when God asked him what had happened, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate". She turned from the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, to 'this woman you gave me', in an instant. He absolved himself of all responsibility, blaming Eve, and to an extent, God...because He was the one who gave Eve to him. He was basically saying, 'Hey, I didn't ask for this mess, I was just fine naming the animals in the garden.'
So God cursed him. Eden had provided for his every physical need with all the plants and fruits he could eat, trees for shade, soft grass for sleep. Now, banished from the garden, he was expected to work, and toil all the days of his life. Through that work and toil, he was to provide all needs for his household.
That's the mandate guys. If you will not work, toil and provide by the sweat of your brow, then do not begin a household. Just don't do it. God requires these things of a husband. If you won't do them, then do not marry that girl. Spare her the grief of a lazy husband.
Disobeying God in this regard is serious. As far as God is concerned, you have denied the faith, you are worse than an unbeliever in His sight (that one just makes me shake), and your Christian brothers shouldn't associate with you, so that you are put to shame. Heii!
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved [a]you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God [b]as a fragrant aroma.
Therefore [j]be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 [k]making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
21 [o]and be subject to one another in the [p]fear of Christ.
OK, so I've put those verses there, because they are the ones that come before the famous 'marriage verses' that people love to quote and are prone to being taken atrociously out of context. Both Christian men and women are being exhorted here, to imitate God himself; to walk in love as Christ loved us.
The Greek word for imitators is mimetes.
-The English root word being mimic.
-It is "one who emulates" properly.
-The positive imitation that arises by admiring the pattern set by someone worthy of emulation, i.e. a mentor setting a proper example.
-Charles Spurgeon, a Christian who lived before our time once said, "A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ...We should be pictures of Christ....Oh! My brethren, there is nothing that can so advantage you, nothing can so prosper you, so assist you, so make you walk towards heaven rapidly, so keep your head upwards towards the sky, and your eyes radiant with glory, like the imitation of Jesus Christ".
We need to be so careful how we walk in our marriages, with wisdom from God, because these days are evil, the devil working to burn down our homes. Can we please not waste time being foolish about this, and actually know and understand what God's will is for the covenant of marriage. He has hidden nothing from us. It's all clear in His word. With all of this in mind, let's be subject to one another, in love. Only after grasping the weight of those verses can we now approach these ones below; not before.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.
For some of you, this is the first time you've ever read those words; so go back now, and read them again. And for some of you, you've heard them talked about all your lives, so you've skimmed over them in a few seconds. You're in more need of them than the first group. GO BACK NOW, and read them slowly.
Have you ever understood God's will for you as the husband? There are many things asked of us as Christ followers, but these eight verses are the most stunning, shocking, and earth shattering of them all. Too many pulpits in history have been using a megaphone preaching submission of wives and respect of their husbands while not nearly enough putting the fear of God in the men themselves, because of what is required of them. This when made clear, would cause anyone to fall on their knees and ask God for mercy and grace.
If you marry a woman, be prepared to marry her AS CHRIST LOVED US. He left all glory, took on the sin of the world, and died...for us. He gave all He had. Sacrificed Himself entirely for us.
What does this mean?
You will love selflessly.
The Greek for the word love used here is agapao.
-It means to love unconditionally and sacrificially, reflecting the love that God himself is.
-This isn't an emotional love.
-It represents the act of the will of one who desires and seeks the other's highest good. -It is a divine love, of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek for the word nourish here is ektrepho.
-It means to nurture, bring up in every way.
-To take care of all physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
-It also means in this particular context to be her breadwinner.
The Greek for the word cherish here is thalpo.
-It means to literally warm, or keep warm.
-To cherish with a tender love and care.
-To hold dear, feel or show affection for.
-Protect and care for lovingly.
-To be a secure, warm space for your wife.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them.
-It means to be sharp, pointed.
-To speak with a harsh voice to your wife and to make her bitter.
-It means to have bitter resentment or hatred in your heart towards her.
-To become angry with her.
-To exasperate and grieve her.
-To be ill-tempered towards and constantly provoke her.
God is telling you, 'Be none of those things; do none of those things to her, whatever the situation.'
It's all very heavy isn't it? I personally feel that God requires way more of the husband than the wife. He wants men to love like He loves. He says, be exactly like me. Without His Holy Spirit, it is impossible. It is impossible on your own strength. You can't try hard enough with this one; you'll just fail over and over again. This is an act of God. There is no other way to make your marriage represent Christ's love for His bride, His church.
This ought to humble you. It ought to make you approach your wife today in all tenderness, in awe of how much the Lord treasures her, and love her with abandon, as Christ has loved you.
Realize that you need to love her unconditionally. This means that if she is unsubmissive, disrespectful and/or manipulative, you love her. If she insists on her own way, refuses to honour you in finances, you love her. If she's flirtatious with other men, if she disrespects you and dishonours your name in public, you love her.
And yes, if she is unfaithful, if she sleeps with another man, you love her. Yes.
You. Love. Her.
You do this, because you yourself have been/done all those things to Christ; and still, He loves you. Unconditionally.
See why you shouldn't be rushing to get married before reading the contract? This is it. Completely, utterly impossible without Jesus as your Lord.
I'm going to stop here and let the truth sink in. Let it marinate. Meditate on it. Pray. Pray hard.
We'll continue in a couple of days.
Lord God, we need You.
Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.