If you ask Christian husbands, most will likely affirm that they do not feel as if they are living up to the expectations they have as husband. When we consider the biblical requirements of husbands we can see that this is almost certainly true: the Bible calls men to an immensely high calling - to love their wives as Christ has loved his church. How can a man better live up to this standard and be the kind of husband God calls him to be? First by seeing marriage rightly and understanding it is a metaphor for the gospel. And second by seeing his wife rightly and recognizing her as the precious, glorious gift from God that she is.

The following message, How Do I Become the Husband God Wants Me to Be, was given by Kevin Swanson at the Regional Uniting Church and Family Conference in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 2008. Let's pray and ask God's blessing on the message, shall we? Heavenly Father, we pray God that you would help us to understand your word as you direct those important words to us that we love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Oh God, help us to understand these things. We know we will best understand them at the cross of the crucified one.

Thank you, dear God, for that example. May we live it. May we understand it. May we apply it in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Well, Brenda and I were married, what, some 18 years ago. And, you know, I've been blessed with a wonderful, wonderful wife. She's half Japanese. She's as sweet as the day is long. She's not the kind of person that likes to be in the limelight, and she'd be embarrassed if she heard that I was even mentioning her name in public.

But she actually wanted to homeschool before I did. That's true for a lot of wives, isn't it? How many of you? Your wife wanted to home school before you did? Yeah, my wife was that.

She pretty much knew this is what she wanted to do, and I was thinking maybe Christian school is the way we ought to go, but after six months of teaching at a Christian school I decided that maybe we would go ahead and homeschool our children. So that was back in the early 1990s and as I began to prepare this message I was thinking about the fact that I'm not a very good husband myself and yet you know what's interesting as a pastor as a counselor as an elder in the church accountable to the other guys and I've been there with my wife talking to elders in our congregation, confessing sins, and bringing the issues to the forefront, you know, and say, this is where we're struggling with, and the elders have prayed with us and held us accountable to certain things. And that's happened with all the guys in the church. And it's funny, even the people who you think have exemplary marriages, you come to find out that they're going through some of the same things you are. So there's something about marriage that has to elicit some degree of honesty out of you.

Right? You can fake your pastoring. You can fake your example at work. You can fake your example with your children, but it's really, really hard to fake your marriage because you're right there in relationship with a woman and she knows you inside and out. You just can't fake it with your wife.

And praise be to God for that, right? We can be hypocrites just about anywhere else in life, but not with our own wives. Well, let's start with Isaiah chapter 62 because what I want to do tonight is I want to describe for you my wife in biblical terms. So let's do it. Starting in Isaiah chapter 62, if you have your Bibles with you, I'm only going to refer to a few verses here.

First of all, verse 5. Let's look at verse 5. This is the key verse here. God speaking to the children of Israel says, as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. Now the metaphor that God uses for his relationship with his church is the same in Old Testament as New Testament.

You have of course in Ephesians 5 the comparison of the husband with Christ and the church and then in 1st Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 2 Paul says that pastors are those who betrothed the church to Christ as a father betroths his daughter to a husband. Think about that pastors and elders. You are called by God to be a father who is preparing a bride for Christ. That's the metaphor used in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. And so what you have is an Old Testament, New Testament metaphor here, and I'm going to apply the metaphor used in Isaiah chapter 62 to the Church of Jesus Christ.

As a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. So the first point of my message tonight is that my wife is my bride. Now there's one difference, one significant difference, between the example of myself and my wife and that for which the metaphor stands for, that is Christ in the church, and that is the fact that with me and my wife we've got two imperfect sinners. With Christ in the church, you've got a bunch of imperfection in the bride and as the church, and Christ who is the perfect example of a bridegroom. Well, chapter 62 of Isaiah verses 3 and 4 further elucidate what it is to be the bride of Christ and I want you to look at verse 3 for a moment.

You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem. So you see, the bride is configured as one who is glorious, one who is royal, one who has power, one who has a royal diadem in her hand, that is one who has power, royal power, that according to Isaiah chapter 62 is the royal power by which nations are subdued. In fact, in the same passage Isaiah refers to kings seeing thy glory. Now what Isaiah is describing here is the bride that appears at the end of the aisle. As the bridegroom sees her approaching, she is a picture of beauty, isn't she?

This is the way we decorate our bride. I think it's appropriate because it's exactly the picture presented here in Isaiah chapter 62. She is a symbol of royal power. I like to refer to my own wife as my queen from time to time. You are my queen.

You see, I want to dignify you as my queen. You are so glorious. You are beautiful. And you have been endowed with power. Power.

And sometimes we think of power as the tyrannical form, the usurping power, the power of the egalitarian woman who's always grappling for more control and more power over whatever she's trying to control. And that's the Marxist concept of egalitarian power. But the power that she wields is a gentle, persuasive power that is in subjection to her husband. She is powerful. Yes, very powerful, but it is power that is brought under subjection of her husband.

And this is what makes her so powerful. This is what gives her her dignity. You know, we were in the airport yesterday, and we were looking at the way that people were dressed, specifically women. And I commented to my daughter Emily that people today do not look dignified in their dress. They don't speak in dignified terms.

Their language is not dignified. When we think of people expressing themselves as those who are in a position of dignity or in a position of dominion? I don't think so. We have for the most part people who see themselves as slaves in subjection largely to the state of course, but people do not recognize their dignity and yet the Bible expresses our position as a dignified position. How would you dress somebody?

I know our brother, Pastor Pollard, has been talking a little bit to the issue of dress today, but you know your dress is going to reflect your worldview and your worldview will have a certain anthropology to it. So what exactly is a biblical anthropology? Well, let's go directly to Psalm 8. What is man? That there art mindful of him of the Son of Man, that thou minest him, for thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and thou hast crowned him with glory and honor." You see, the egalitarians assume a basically humanistic, materialistic worldview where man is nothing but cosmic dust in the universe of pure chance, and according to Marx, of equal value.

So what are they? In a purely materialistic Marxist form, what are we? We are equal cosmic dust. That is, we have no value. So the minute you cut away God's definition of who you are, The minute you say man will achieve his value by economic status or by how much cosmic dust he's made up of, you have undermined the dignity of man, therefore, brothers and sisters, in order to be dignified.

You must go to the word of God, establish God as the source of ethics and say, okay, God, what is of value? Am I of value? And if God is of value, then I'm of value. If God has established me and endowed me with glory and honor, then I stand before God and the universe as a man who's created an image of God and endowed with that glory and honor. And by derivation, my wife is my queen.

I am the regent, she my vice regent, I am the vice regent of God himself or the subservient to God himself, and in that regard we serve God in dominion over this world. So the church is a powerful institution. The bride is powerful. She is not manipulating. She is not grappling for preeminence.

But she has a place of dominion. I don't like the reference in Titus 2 or the translation in Titus 2 of the term keepers at home. I just don't like that, keepers at home, because it doesn't nicely reflect what is being said in the Greek. The Greek is oikos despotéo, and the word despotéo is the word from which we get despot. She is the despot of the home.

Now hopefully she's a benevolent despot, But she is a guard, she's a manager, she's a director, she is a position of authority in the home, under the husband of course. But that is her castle and that is where she rules. You see, we need to render some dignity to our queens, what they do in their castles. And so, when we look at our wives' brothers, we need to give honor where honor is due. We need to render honor to the weaker vessel, 1 Peter 3 and verse 7.

So therefore, my wife is worthy of my honor, I honor her, and I insist that my children honor her. And people who visit my castle need to honor my queen. Probably one of the most important things we can do as fathers is to react strongly against any dishonor we might see in the faces, the language, the inflections of voice, we might perceive in the approach of our teenage sons. Oftentimes, I find teenage sons will begin to think that they are of more value, more honor than their mothers. They know more than they do, or what have you.

And so, our wives are needing us to honor her. Okay, also here in Isaiah 62 and verse 5, it says, as the bridegroom rejoices, so God rejoices over you. Now when the bride comes down the aisle And the wedding march is playing, and I've done a number of weddings, and I enjoy doing these weddings because it's just such a wonderful reminder of Christ in the church, and there's so much joy and anticipation happening there in that moment. But I like to take my eyes off the bride for just a moment and look at the bridegroom because there is probably no moment in the life of a young man or a man that is filled with so much anticipations. I mean, this is the moment of his life.

Think of the joy. Think about the consummation of all of those expectations, everything happening at that point. There is a tremendous sight in taking a look at the bridegroom and his heart leaps with expectation with that gift he is about to receive. It's the greatest gift in his life. This is the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to a man.

I mean, suppose that the the father of the bride, at the moment that the organ began to play the wedding march, the father of the bride leaves the bride in the foyer and brings ten million dollars down to the altar. Do you think the bridegroom would be disappointed? Well, I would expect most bridegrooms would be, because he knows that he is receiving the most important, the most precious gift he could ever receive. The wedding day is a great event. It's the consummation of a life.

It's the end of a life and the beginning of another. It's a great event. It's a very, very good day. And brothers and sisters, what I'm trying to do today is I'm trying to establish in your mind biblical values. And much of our sanctification that occurs occurs when we begin to value the things that God values.

That's what we're trying to do here. I mean when we just talk about our wives we need to think about the fact that this is a great gift. This is something of great value. This is a treasure, something very precious to us. And when men forget what is important in life, they begin to deprioritize these important things and reprioritize other things that are not as important.

And our worldviews ultimately have more to do with what we value than anything else. And the Bible expresses this moment, this moment of marriage as the consummation in all of history. Because you see, the most exciting day of your life will not be the marriage day. The most exciting day of your life, at least on this side of the river, is only a tiny signification of what is to come. We are a highly expectant people.

We're a hopeful people. Our hope is never extinguished. We are never bored. We are never used up. We are never waiting for the end in dread.

We are the bride waiting for her day. We are the most hopeful people waiting for the most exciting day which is yet to come. And that is the consummation of all time, the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we will be prepared for our husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to Revelation 21 and verse 2. I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a great voice out of heaven saying behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them and be their God." Brothers and sisters the greatest day of your life on this side of the river is the day you are married.

But what's interesting about that day is it kicks off the rest of your life. It's almost as if This is a day that you have been waiting for. This is a great day of consummation and rejoicing, but it is also a day that brings you into a state of great bliss. Now difficulties and challenges of course, But any of you who have lived a Christian marriage, certainly you would agree with me that it has been a blessing. And that your experience today continues to improve on your experiences with your wife of previous days and weeks and months and years.

The same thing with heaven itself. God says that the day that we get to heaven is the day of the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is the great day of consummation, but it kicks off an eternity with Christ. So I think it's interesting that the metaphor of the wedding day that is the greatest day filled with all of that excitement and joy is a metaphor for the day that we will consummate history and the rest of eternity. It says here in verse 2 of Revelation chapter 21 that John saw the holy City, the New Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The word adorned there is cosmeo, from which we get cosmetic. That is, she has been prepared, she has been made ready for her husband, decked out in heart and life. And so I guess what I'm trying to do here is I'm trying to not only encourage husbands here tonight to value this precious relationship with your wife, but also to value the Church of Jesus Christ. People who value the church are people who love one another and worship God together in convocation. They value the worship, they value the preaching, they value the relationships.

And I know sometimes the bride looks like she just woke up in the morning, her hair looks kind of wild, kind of out of place, not a lot of cosmeo, a little out of order, just gone through a church split three and a half years ago, and we're having a hard time forgiving each other. It's a fair amount of bitterness. There's some wild disunity in doctrine, there's pride, there's abominable teaching, wholesale apostasy at points, but the encouragement here is value the church. Whatever happens, we are here to get a bride for our Lord Jesus Christ. That's what we're doing on planet earth.

We're here to get a bride for our Lord. And then praise be to God someday we're gonna be at that marriage supper when it's all consummated. But you've got a project for now and that is to prepare that bride. And one of the ways, brothers, you can prepare the bride is to be a good metaphor. Be a good metaphor.

Because I submit to you that churches with bad marriages, churches with lousy husbands that will not love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for, churches where wives are not gonna work on submitting themselves to their own husbands in the Lord, churches with lousy marriages are lousy churches because they're lousy metaphors. So you see, the marriages in your churches are important. They are basic to the health of the body itself. You know, it's interesting that not only do you have in Ephesians chapter 5 the message to husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, but in 1st Peter chapter 2 Peter goes on for four to five verses talking about Christ has submitted himself to the will of the Father all the way to the cross and then in chapter 3 verse 1 he says likewise you wives submit yourselves to your own husbands I don't have any of you have caught that before, but in Ephesians chapter five, he's saying, husbands, I want you to love your wives all the way to the cross. And then 1 Peter chapter two, he says, wives, I want you to submit yourself to your husbands all the way to the cross.

Jesus isn't requiring you to do anything he didn't do first himself. Jesus is our example And if Jesus went to the cross for His bride-brothers, we can go to the cross for our wives. Amen. Okay, the second point, my wife, first point, my wife is my bride. Second point, my wife is my gift.

In Genesis chapter 2, God brought the woman to the man. And it's interesting, God took the rib out of the chest of that man, created something different. He took the unity, he made diversity. And then he took the diversity and made the unity. He brought the woman to the man and made them one.

This gift is a unique gift. This gift is part of you. Then it was not you, and then it was part of you. It's an interesting gift. You'll never get another gift like that again.

It's a gift of significant value in the sense that this gift is one created in the image of God. You'll never get a gift like this, a woman created in the image of God. Moreover, it's a gift that is made for you, designed for you, to fit you, A help meet or a help appropriate for you, a help appropriate for the husband. Or listen to Genesis 2 verse 18, I will help him, I will make him a help suitable for him, as in peas in a pod, hand in a glove, key to a lock, and film to a camera. Another thing that you need to consider that makes this gift of so much value is that in a Christian marriage we can count on the fact that Christ died for this one that has been given to you.

So brothers, I want to encourage you to value this treasure. Cherish the treasure. That was played at our wedding. Remember that old Steve Green song, Cherish the Treasure, the Treasure of You? Lifelong companion I give myself to you.

It's easy to do on her wedding day, but not a bad hair day. And things are sort of out of sorts with each other. You're sort of irritated, she's sort of irritated, you've got financial problems, your spouse has just pointed out to you six areas where you've failed. Now it's hard to cherish the treasure. You follow me?

I mean I can talk about cherishing the treasure, but sometimes it's hard to cherish the treasure. But God says you ought to love your wife as Christ loved the church. And were there points at which the church was not lovable? Of course. Jesus loved the church that didn't love him first.

And so brothers, we need to be loving our wives when she's not lovable. Of course she's got to respect her husband even when her husband is not respectable. There are times when he is not respectable. But believe it or not, when a wife respects a husband when he is not respectable, it is precisely her respecting her husband when he's not respectable that makes him respectable. Right brothers?

When everybody else in the world is despised you, when you have been laid off from your work and you have just received 200 blog posts calling you the Antichrist. They fill in the blank, Bill. Or whatever. And you crawl home, and you drag yourself into the kitchen, and your wife looks at you and says, honey, you are the most awesome, wonderful person in the world. I praise God for you and your gifts.

You just melt in her arms. You say thank you. You saved my life. Now the same thing with our wives. Love your wives when they're not lovable.

And brothers, this is precisely what they need in order for them to be lovable themselves. You know, we wonder when a child loves a mangy puppy dying in the streets. We wonder when God loved us when we were pretty bedraggled ourselves. We were a sinful, rebellious, ugly, spiritual, spiritually undesirable lot. And yet God did something to make us desirable, didn't He?

God cleaned us up. God infused us with value, embraced us, loved us, and sanctified us by His Spirit. We wonder at the elderly man who for 15 years tenderly nurses his sick wife who has little or nothing to contribute to the marriage. I mean, we've seen this before and yet these people are the happiest people in the world. How can that be?

How can that be? And you were a little irritated that she had a headache last night. Brothers, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Okay, thirdly, my wife is my glory. 1 Corinthians 11 and verse 7, for a man indeed ought not to cover his head for as much as he is in the image and glory of God, But the woman is the glory of the man, for the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man." I'm not going to talk about head coverings tonight, but God has said there's a difference between a man and a woman.

The man is the glory of God. And There's a lot of reasons why God wants the man's head uncovered in the prayers, and He wants the men up front. He wants the men at the sacrificial meals in the Old Testament. He wants the men lifting the hands in the worship service and praying without wrath and without doubting. There's a reason why God wants the men out there glorifying God in the front row, so to speak.

I'm speaking metaphorically. There's different ways in which we do this. God says it's important that your heads be uncovered, guys. But women are the glory of men, and their hair is their glory. Okay, you've got three glories going on in 1st Corinthians chapter 11 there, but suffice it to say men that your wife is your glory.

And I remember one time hearing a guy say, you know, if if if if you've ever seen a guy, a king take his crown and throw it on the ground, start playing, kick the can with it. You've got a king that doesn't respect his own dignity. Doesn't respect his own honor, his own glory, His own position. And brothers, sometimes I think we've been tempted to kick our wives around in our minds, In our language, in the kind of ways that we speak of them or we speak about them or to them, you know, we don't honor our wives as our glory. We don't treat them as our glory.

We don't deck them out as our glory. Our wives, our beauties, they're the ones that shine and serve as the glory of the man. Therefore, Ephesians 5 and verse 29, Jesus nourishes and cherishes the church and so ought we to nourish and cherish our wives as one who is our own glory. The word nourish is a trefo which is just means to feed, to feed, Feed her so she grows. You know, even as Christ is nourishing the church and feeding the church, doing what he can to spiritually strengthen and encourage and build up the Church of Christ, He doesn't turn his back to it.

He's gonna apply what it takes to sanctify that church. Men, we ourselves ought to be addressing this vital area of our family. We're the ones responsible for nourishing our lives. You say, now wait a minute, let the women's groups take care of it. She's been to the Women of Faith Conference three years in a row.

What are you talking about? A pastor is supposed to get up and nurture her every Sunday. We have these women groups and they're supposed to be doing all the nurturing. No, men, you're the one! There is nobody on planet earth like her own body, like her, the oneness of that one flesh that can nurture that flesh, that can nurture that wife.

For some reason, God says the bridegroom is the one who can do it the best. And I don't know why, but that's just the way He put it together. And we've been in these discussions in our church all the time of, you know, should we really go do the women's groups? Can we get these women that are discouraged? And they need a little more encouragement, and older women aren't, you know, coming along very quickly to teach the younger women, and they're not stepping up to the plate very much.

And so, you know, and I think what we need to do, brothers, is just come back to the basics again and again. Our husbands need to be feeding their wives one-on-one time. Take that time necessary to nurture your wife. And if things are just getting a little out of control and your wife is stressing out and you feel like you haven't had enough time with her, maybe you ought to take a week off and prioritize that relationship because that is the most important relationship in your life. I did that in the month of November.

My wife and I went out to Kauai, Hawaii, and boy we had a great time for eight days on that island. But you know what? We could have been anywhere on planet earth. I mean we could have been in Aztec, New Mexico or Battle Mountain, Nevada. That's the armpit of the nation.

We just went through there. We could have been in Battle Mountain Nevada, the armpit of the nation. It's a big old sign as you run into Battle Mountain. We could have been right there at the Motel 6 for eight days, It would have been just fine because just God used that time to we nurtured each other, we talked to each other, we got on the same page and again I think I figured out again what it is to to be in relationship with my wife and to nurture her and feed her so that she grows. And then the second part of this is cherish her.

Cherish her, cherish her. Warm her so she glows. Warm her so she glows. You feed her so she grows, and you warm her so she glows. And that means you give her security.

You give her security. You need to be a security blanket around her. You need to be one of those heated blankets. When we go to my folks, they throw us up in a bedroom upstairs. My dad doesn't heat the house because he's trying to get by on $22 a year on heat.

And so we got this neat little blanket. It's one of those electric blanket deals that they used to make, and boy, it's just you turn those things on and you're just so warm and you feel great in that blanket. Brothers, That's what you are for your wives. You just wrap yourself around her and you turn that thermostat up to 10, and you just warm her and cherish her and nurture her in that relationship. She needs to get security from you.

And I think a lot of wives out there are trying to get it from television, from soap operas, from addictions, from eating food, from opiates or what have you. But as men, we're responsible to give our wives that security, that financial security. That's essential. Be careful, brothers, how you speak about your finances. This is critical.

You're responsible before the Lord to give her that security and take responsibility before the Lord to provide for your households and you're also responsible not to to to speak about your finances in an anxious way. You can lead her in this area. If she's given to anxiety about finances, please don't be the one to inspire more anxiety about your finances. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication. Make your requests known unto God.

Your wife knows that there is somebody standing between her and the enemy, whether it be the world or social services or whatever it is. You know, as a leader in the homeschooling movement, and I've manned the phones in the office for years and years and years, it is rare, it is rare, to have a father call our office when there is a social service or school district investigation of a home school in the state of Colorado. It is rare when a husband calls me. I mean, it's a one-in-a-hundred deal. Most of the time, when somebody's calling To defend a household who is homeschooling, unfortunately, it's the wife.

And that's a sad state of affairs, brothers. I tell you what, if there is a problem where somebody's attacking your homes, you stand there and you guard that home. She needs to find that security in you. The fourth point I'd like to make here is that my wife is my sister. My wife is my sister.

And I can bring this in, I think, legitimately from Song of Songs, Chapter 8. I would encourage you all, by the way, who pastor or elder in churches, to be sure that you preach a series of sermons through the Book of Song of Songs from time to time. It's God's book on marriage and marital intimacy. Sometimes you've got to be a little careful the words you use. But it's a wonderful, wonderful book.

The last chapter of the book deals with the maturity of a marriage. I call it the deep waters of a marital intimate relationship. And in that chapter, the wife is referred to as the sister, the husband as the brother. And it is appropriate for us to apply all forms of love towards our wives. You see, there's some forms of love that are illegitimate for some relationships.

Does that make sense? As in marital intimacy is an expression of love. I don't like to use the word eros, because that was used only once in the scripture and applies to a sinful form of licentious lust. So I don't want to use the Greek word eros. But it is appropriate to use the marital intimate form of love in the marriage relationship.

That's all right, but that's not to be used in other relationships. Okay, that should be clear to all of us here. However, it is also appropriate and important and a mandate for all of us to apply every form of biblical love in the marital relationship. We are to have agape love there. We are to have paleo love.

And we are to have a marital form of intimacy in this relationship. So therefore it's appropriate to call our wives or sisters. So from time to time brothers you might turn to your wife and say, sister, sister, I love you! Say that! She's a member of the body of Christ.

She is your sister in Christ. She is your phileo sister in the phileo sense, and she is your wife. And therefore, it is appropriate to confess your sins one to another and to confess your sins to your wife. Because you see, you're living as brothers and sisters in Christ in the household. In fact, there ought to be regular confession of sin with your own wife, and this is probably the root of most marital problems.

When there is pride such that a man would not confess his sins to his wife. And remember one song done by a secular musician one time actually had a lot of truth to it. Stop, clock is right twice a day. But the lyrics went, it's my belief pride is the first cause of the decline in the number of husbands and wives. And I agree with that.

Because brothers, if you've got so much pride in your heart, or you lack so much courage to be able to stand out and say, honey, I have sinned against you. Even if it's a sin you've been holding out on for a long time, maybe God's convicted you of a sin that has been a real heart block between you and your wife. You've been holding out on it. You've been insisting that you are the faithful, loving, righteous husband and there is no way on planet earth as she needs to be questioning your authority in this area or that area and yet God is convicting you that you have sinned in that area. Brothers, you've been holding on that sin for five years.

You need to be able to break through that barrier. You know how difficult it is sometimes to break through the barrier of pride and get down on your knees before your beloved wife and say, honey, I've sinned against you. I have had cold, unloving thoughts about you. I have been distanced in my heart towards you in this area, and I have been bitter against you about this or that or the other thing, and I'm asking before God and before you that you forgive me of these sins." Brothers, that's hard to do, but This is basic for a marriage. This is basic for a marriage.

This is basic for the Christian faith. If we're not engaging at this level in our own marriages, we're not Christians. If we're not confessing our sins and asking forgiveness and offering forgiveness in our own marriages, it's not going to happen anywhere else. Right? Come on, let's get back to the basics here.

We're going to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. If we're not willing to do that, maybe into the Lord's Prayer, I mean Jesus boils down the Christian faith to five lives in the Lord's Prayer. And one of us, forgive us our trespasses, we forgive those who trespass against us. Okay? If we're not engaging at this level with our own wives, Brothers, we're just not living the Christian life.

This is very, very basic stuff. OK, number five, my wife's life is my life. Remember, the two become one. And Jesus said the two are one they are no longer two. That's important.

That's important. So what we get here in the establishment of the blob, the family blob, is Jesus saying that the oneness is more ultimate than the many-ness in the marriage. Now I don't think Jesus is saying the two have completely been obliterated. That is, there is no longer any individual expression whatsoever. There is some level of individual expression, to the point where one of the individuals could have a relationship with Christ and the other individual may not have a relationship with Christ.

So that according to 1 Corinthians chapter 7, evidently that scenario could occur in a Christian marriage. So there is some level of individuality in the marriage. Nevertheless, Jesus is saying that your oneness is more ultimate than your two-ness in the marriage. So we need to do everything we can to understand this and to live it out. Now let me give you one application where this really, really hit me in a significant way a number of years ago this would have been maybe 10 years ago where my wife is going through some spiritual trials now it's interesting when your wife is is in some real struggles spiritual struggles and in your sometimes in contention with her that her sins are always about ten times larger than yours.

Have you ever noticed that guys? Always. Always. This is one lesson I have learned as a husband, is that if you are in contention with your wife, and you stop for a moment, and you as a pastor, as an elder, as a counselor, who have counseled umpteen other people, just stop for a moment and say, and you're your own counselor, and you look yourself in the eye, and you say, all right, Kevin, I want you to confess your sins first. And I sit there, and I think, OK, it's 11 o'clock at night.

We're not in bed yet. We're still at loggerheads. And I stop there, and I start thinking, what did I do to sin against this woman? And inevitably, the Holy Spirit of God will illuminate a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny little sin. And I will sit there and I will look at this sin and think to myself, is it worth mentioning?

So insignificant. And then as a good counselor, I will say, okay, at least we found something. So I will confess it to God. I will pray to God and say, God, I've sinned against my wife. This is what I've done.

Typically no tears, very little conviction here. But that usually opens up the conversation and then after a while I realize exactly how significant that sin really was. But brothers, as leaders, spiritual leaders, man we have responsibility before God to lead in this area of humble repentance, don't we? I mean man, we gotta be it. Looking around for somebody else to step forward and start getting on their knees and confessing sins in this relationship?

Tag, you're it, buddy. You're the guy. God wants you to engage in humble repentance. Okay, so that's the first thing. But secondly, as I began to look at my wife and the issues that she was dealing with, I began to look at her and say, well that's her problem.

Too bad about it, I might think about praying for her. And it's sort of, and I've done this before, where you know this is me and that's her and too bad about that miserable wretch. I'm really sorry about her until the Lord convicted me that her sin is my sin. Now, I'm not saying that she isn't responsible before God for her sins. I'm just saying that's mine.

I'm gonna take that sin and I'm gonna take it to the cross of Christ and I'm gonna ask for his deliverance because we, us, our marriage, this family needs God's help. See guys, you're one. You're one and Her problems, her sins, her challenges, her difficulties, her trials are yours. And there was such great deliverance that God brought to our family, such great steps of improvement, maturity that God brought to our marriage when I became convinced that we were one. And it was time to embrace these problems as my problems.

And it was very humbling at first, Very humbling. I was humbled to the to the ground as I began to bear these issues and struggle before God over these things, but God brought tremendous deliverance to our home And it's been a wonderful thing since then. Well, brothers, just do what you can to remember that we are one. We need this expressed in so many different avenues, certainly in economics. At some point, I actually believed that we ought to have our money in the same bank accounts.

We're using the same checkbooks. And at first, in my marriage, I was a hawk on that budget. My heart did not safely rest in her until the Lord again kept working in me. And I began to realize that this woman had some special wisdom and that I needed to start trusting in that wisdom and let her just go out and consider a field and buy it. If she feels this is important, then I just let her do it.

And this has given us a tremendous benefit as well. We need to bring this oikonomia together and establish this common household vision and she needs to be trusted with the economics of the home. Finally, my wife gets my life. My wife gets my life. And that's what God calls us to do, brothers, is to lay down our lives for our wives.

And you say, yeah, I would do that at a heart rate. I mean, if someone rolls a hand grenade into the living room, I'm just going to throw my body over that thing. However, if your wife levels, I mean, God forbid, as if it's ever happened before, some little intonation like you have not been the model husband and you have not made the wisest decisions and she's got some blaming, unloving, bitter little word or something that she has leveled towards you, you feel like you have got to answer her with like insult. You've got to point out something she did wrong six months ago to lead to the situation that we're dealing with right now, does anybody relate to this at all? You just feel like you got to do that.

You got to give the tit for the tat. Brothers and sisters, brothers especially, if you're not willing to take that and allow that nail to just scrape the skin a little tiny bit, I don't think you'll ever take that nail all the way through. You got to be able to take the nails before you give your life. You got to be able to Accept that nail all the way through and then turn back and say, I'm ready for the next one. I can take the next one now.

Brothers that take some real humility, service, love, sacrifice. And I know the flesh wants to back bite, wants to yell. But look at 1 Peter chapter 2 one more time. When you do good, when you have loved your wife to the umpteenth degree, Every word is a word of gentle kindness. Your leadership is as tender as Christ himself.

When you do good, it says, when you do good, and you suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God, for to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow his footsteps. Brothers, put it on your business card. You are a sufferer for Jesus Christ and you are called to suffer in your marriage. Martyrs have their skin ripped off and they are boiled alive and you can't love your wife enough to take an unedifying, unkind remark from her without responding in like manner. Without responding in like manner.

Jesus calls to suffer patiently and even when your flesh is trying to rebel and chafe against it it's hard it's really hard I know it's hard because I'm talking about what's gonna happen tomorrow or next week right It's hard, but please remember Jesus took the nails for you and you are to take the nails for your wife. Well brothers, marriage is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It is a gift from God in two ways. My wife is a comfort, a joy, a compliment, a support, an encouragement. She is wisdom to me.

I mean, you know, it's so funny. My wife thinks that she doesn't know anything. She just thinks I am the genius, the seminary professor, the speaker, the expert, the pastor. She just thinks the world of me, but it's so funny that I get most of my material from her. I don't think she ever knows that, you know?

My best illustrations come from things she points out to me. It's amazing how much wisdom she has. God has brought just the right person into my life, and she has completed me. And that's a gift. But you know what?

God has put that woman in your life to challenge you, to prod you, to sanctify you. And God has put that woman in your life to test you. Why? Because He loves you and He has found just the right person to make you the kind of man He wants you to be. Amen.

Heavenly Father, God, we're so humbled by our marriages. We're so humbled, oh Father, by our inability as husbands to really nurture and cherish and love and sacrifice ourselves for our wives. It's such a challenge. This is monumental. We feel like we've hardly scratched the surface in this.

God, we pray for your spirits out pouring upon us. Show us our lack, but show us also, God, where you are making progress. Give us encouragement, and we pray, Lord God, that you would Help us as we cherish and nourish our wives, that they would be our queen, they would be our glory, that they would grow in Christ, and that one day we will all celebrate that great marriage supper of the Lamb in the sky. When you have brought us all together for the final consummation, for eternal relationship with Jesus Christ, we look forward to that time. Dear Father, we thank you for the good times we have on this earth, in the relationships that we have.

Thank you God for our marriage, for our brides. We thank you for that, and we know you have nothing but good for us in the future. You are so good to us. We praise you this day. Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus our bride, and we thank you for the death that he paid for us so that he would have a bride.

In Jesus' name we pray, amen.