This is the second sermon in our series, “Fireproof your marriage.” This sermon is for Sunday morning, February 1st, 2009. I cannot embed the video that will be shown this Sunday, so I will just post a link instead.

Fireproof your marriage part 2
Building blocks for a better marriage.
Ephesians 5:22-25.

Ephesians 5:22-25 ESV – 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

There is a phrase in the song we just heard that is so important. In fact, it is so important and critical, that it is the theme of this morning’s message: In marriage, loves not a fight, but it is something worth fighting for.

Why do we have to fight for love in our marriages? Well, Satan, I believe wants to see every Christian marriage either completely destroyed, or at the very least loveless. Why is this? Well, as I stated last week – marriage is the oldest institution established by God, and it also is the one thing that God has established and created that since the dawn of time is the earthly illustration of the relationship between Christ and His Church.

The passage that we just read this morning speaks of this truth.

We must fight for love when it comes to marriage and family. Here are a few startling facts concerning marriage and family today:
• According to the recent Gallop poll, 73% of Americans under the age of 45 believe that life spent with the same partner is both unusual and unnecessary.
• Six out of ten children in the United States live in a single parent home.
• The average cost for a divorce is $19,365.00.
• In the average divorce, women and children suffer a 73% decline in their standard of living.
• The death-rate for divorced men dying between the ages of 35-60 is 130% higher than their happily married counterparts.
• In another Gallop poll, 89% of people going through a divorce, sited family history as being a contributing factor to the ending of their marriage.

Also, let’s look at some statistics concerning children of divorce:
• 1,629 children of divorce are put in jail.
• 3,228 children of divorce run away from home.
• 1,512 children of divorce quit school early.
• 7,742 children of divorce are sexually active.

The point I’m trying to make is if we are not fighting for our marriages, not only will they crumble, but so will the family unit and individual lives as a whole.

Now before we go further, if you have divorced in your past or made past mistakes that Christ has forgiven, please don’t feel guilty during this sermon series. Your past is under the blood.

But at the same time, whether you are presently married or single, it is important that you take these building blocks that we are going to look at and either apply them to your present marriage, or implement them if God ever brings someone into your life that would be your future spouse.

We all have something to learn from these building blocks this morning.

Let’s look at them.

Make commitment, not feeling, the foundation of your marriage.

When you say your marriage vowels, they are supposed to be vowels of commitment. In good or bad, sickness or health, richer or poorer, you commit your lives to one another exclusively.

You see, feelings will not always be there, but if you are committed to your spouse, then commitment will always take you beyond mere feelings.

There was a statement in the fireproof movie that I liked, “Don’t just follow your heart because your heart can be deceived; you’ve got to lead your heart.”

That statement is so true. You lead your heart by making a commitment to your spouse no matter what the feelings might be.

The greatest earthly love that you should have is your love for your spouse.

Ephesians 5:25a ESV – Husbands, love your wives…

Notice the command to love here in this passage is to the husband. Why is this? Well, I feel it is because it is the man who can often times have a divided heart.

Men love their jobs, love being financially independent, love creating things either with their minds or their hands, and sometimes we can love hobbies, friends, careers and things in place of loving our wives.

Men: loving your wife comes second only to loving your God. Our love for our spouses should be the greatest love we have in this earthly life.

Many Christian men place the leadership of the home as God’s emphasis in marriage. But that is wrong. While Christian men are the leaders, God’s main emphasis in men’s leadership is to love their wives. The most important aspect of a Christian man’s leadership within the home is his love for his spouse.

Also, women, love your husband, not for who you want him to be, but love him just as he is. God’s not finished with him yet.

This can be very difficult, but at the same time it is the way Christ loves us.

Submit to your spouse.

Ephesians 5:21 ESV – submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

We all know that verse 22 tells the woman to submit to her husband as to the Lord. This is very true, but husbands, I feel we are also to submit to our wives.

How can this be possible, for our text doesn’t say this? Well, that is true. However, verse 21 states to submit to one another.

How are we as husbands suppose to submit to our wives? Well, you submit by submitting to Scripture. You choose to love her unconditionally, and you also choose to lead her as Christ leads the church, which is a godly loving leadership, instead of a demanding abusive leadership.

The notes in the ESV study bible on this passage says, “Submitting to one another means, ‘submitting to others according to the authority and order established by God.’”

Wives, submit to your husband. He isn’t going to be perfect, but this humbling yourself before him as the weaker vessel is what God has established.

This submissiveness isn’t to lord over your spouse, but to love your spouse as Christ loves the church.

Watch what you say to your spouse.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Don’t say anything abusive or hurtful that will corrupt your spouse. But compliment them, building them up with your words, be gracious and loving toward them.

One more and then we are done.

Do not go to bed angry with your spouse.

Ephesians 4:26b-27 ESV – do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

I added verse 27 because when you go to bed angry, that anger can become bitterness and it will give the devil an opportunity to work in your marriage.

Even if it means you stay up until it is worked out, do not go to bed angry with one another, work it out as soon as possible.

We could go further, but we are going to stop here.

You have been given a few building blocks that will help you in your marriage. You may say Pastor, my marriage is fine, and it may be.

But go ahead and put these building blocks into practice because they are biblical.

Let’s lead our hearts when it comes to marriage. Our marriages are worth fighting for. Don’t give up, but call on Christ to help you this morning.