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Saturday, June 18, 2011
Part 7 of “What I Believe About Marriage”
In case you missed any of it, click here to go to the first part of the series. See below for links to all seven parts.
You may have noticed from my web address and the blog title that I use the term “surrendered marriage” to describe the type of marriage I aspire to have. It’s the type of marriage that I think God had in mind when he envisioned it before he even created us humans. It’s the type of marriage that is represented by the bridal paradigm, which is the notion that we are the bride of Christ and he is our Bridegroom. It’s the type of ideal marriage that we, as weak and faulty people, cannot fully achieve but should continually strive for.
Vertical and Horizontal Surrender
The surrender I speak of happens in two principle dimensions: one vertical and one horizontal.
I’ll first address the vertical. Foremost of all, every Christian couple is called to live in whole-hearted surrender to the lordship of Christ Jesus. That means both husband and wife commit themselves to His loving leadership, acknowledging that Jesus is the center of their individual lives and of their marriage. The foundation of a surrendered marriage is based in this vertical surrender.
Second is the horizontal surrender of husband and wife wholly unto one another.
Surrendering the Way of Self
A surrendered marriage calls us to surrender self. It means living selflessly and self-sacrificing instead of living self-centered and self-satisfying. It means living against our human nature, because our natural path is the path of self. Rather than focusing on the question of “what are my rights?” and “what do I get out of this marriage?” we are instead to focus on “what can I give to benefit and bless my spouse?” and “What can I do to strengthen our marriage?”
Surrender means caring about the things your spouse cares about, even if they aren’t things that would naturally matter to you. Surrender means maintaining a culture of honor in your home, attending to one another’s needs, being willing to sacrifice your own desires in order to delight your wife or husband.
Surrender is Not Compromise
In a surrendered marriage husband and wife do not strive for equality, but strive instead to outdo one another in loving, giving and sacrificing. Scorekeeping and competition give way to a new mindset that acknowledges the one-flesh nature of a marriage. "When my wife wins so do I." "When my husband wins so do I."
Surrender of Husband and Wife
A husband’s surrender primarily takes the form of loving and sacrificial leadership. He gives of himself to serve, protect and provide for his wife and family. He invests himself to nurture her wellbeing, to cover her spiritually, and to do all in his power to see her thrive and to reach her full potential. With Christ as his example, he is to love his wife unconditionally.
A wife’s surrender primarily takes the form of submission to her husband’s loving leadership, as the church submits to Christ. She honors him with the gift of her respect and submission, of supporting him and remaining under his protective covering, not because she is incapable or inferior in any way, but because she chooses to live within the ordered partnership that is God’s design for marriage.
Focus on Your Part
The beauty of surrendered marriage, fashioned according to the Bridal Paradigm, lies in what it compels you to give rather than what it permits you to demand. Focus more on what you are giving than what you are getting in your marriage.
Put ten times more effort on fulfilling the things God has called you to in his Word than on what the Bible calls your spouse to do. Worry about your part rather than your spouse’s part. What you will find is that when you fulfill your part, you make a wide pathway that invites your spouse to step more fully into their part. This is the dance of surrender.
So do you have a surrendered marriage? If not, would you like to? Start on your Journey to Surrender today!
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Here are the links to the other six parts of this series
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