This is the Sunday morning sermon for Sunday, February 15th, 2009.

FIREPROOF YOUR MARRIAGE PART 4
Unloved part 1
1 Corinthians 7:12.

1 Corinthians 7:12 ISV – I (not the Lord) say to the rest of you: If a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to live with him, he must not abandon her.

This morning, as we continue our series entitled, “Fireproof your marriage,” we are going to look at a subject that is very hurtful – that is when a spouse doesn’t love you, or doesn’t love the Lord. This is going to be done in two parts. Today we will cover the husbands, and next week, the wives.

Sometimes unfortunately we wind up in a loveless marriage. Sometimes our spouses do not love the Lord; sometimes they don’t love us; and some times it is both situations.

This can be very difficult. Men, what are we to do with a wife that doesn’t love the Lord? How about a wife that doesn’t love us? Are we just supposed to set there and take this fact, and continue to be hurt by both situations?

Well, God does have some things to say, and we are going to look at them, but first I want us to notice that Paul says that if we men have a wife that is not a believer, we must not abandon her. Most translations have the word divorce in this passage, but the Greek word goes deeper than that. You see, we can stay in a loveless marriage and not divorce our wife, but at the same time abandon our responsibility to our spouse. As long as she is willing to remain married to you, you may not abandon your responsibility to her.

What is your responsibility? Well, it is found in Scripture.

Ephesians 5:25 TNIV – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Here it says we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. It doesn’t matter if your wife loves you or submits to you, or even loves the Lord or not, we are to love them like Christ loved the church.

How are we able to do this? Well we can see how the Lord loves us by looking into 1 Corinthians 13. In this passage we see love, and the way love is described is the way that Christ loves.

One more thing before we look at this passage: we can only love this way through Christ, not our own flesh. If we try in the flesh and not in the Spirit (or asking the help of the Holy Spirit) we will fail miserably.

Let’s look at the text in 1 Corinthians 13 and then dig out the truths found within.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a TNIV – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Within this passage we can find truths that we husbands can apply in our relationships with our wives.

Be patient and kind to your wife.

v. 4a TNIV – Love is patient, love is kind.

This is probably the most difficult part, being patient and kind to your wife while she is either unloving toward you, the Lord, or both. You want their love, and you especially want them to love the Lord and come to faith in Christ. But sometimes we become impatient with them during these times.

We must trust them in the Lord’s hands, and believe that He is working on them. Pray for them daily and ask the Lord to be merciful and save them, and then be kind and patient while the Lord works on them.

Do not compare your marriages to others, thereby envying what they have.

v. 4b TNIV – It does not envy…

Sometimes we look at other people’s marriages and think, “Man, I wish my spouse would treat me that way, or I wish we had the relationship with one another that they do.” Sometimes we see husbands and wives both deeply committed God and we have the longing for our spouse to be the same way.

While there is nothing wrong with longing for your wife to love you and love the Lord men, don’t compare your marriage with others wishing for what they had. You do not see the private times, so you do not know that what they may be showing is a lie and a show.

Let me give you an example to this. There was a husband and wife who worked as a team in marriage ministry. In fact, they headed up the marriage ministry for a particular denomination. They would go church to church and have marriage seminars, they had videos, books, workbooks, and all kinds of things to help marriages. They actually told people to imitate them and how they saw them in the seminars, and they presented their marriage as close to perfect as possible. After all, they were married for 34 glorious years. Well, in that 34th year of marriage, it came to light that the man had numerous affairs and he left his wife for a much younger woman. Many people were devastated because they thought they had the perfect marriage and decided to imitate everything they said, then they realized it was all a lie.

Let’s continue.

Do not compare yourself to your wife, being boastful and prideful about your love for her and your relationship with the Lord.

v. 4c TNIV – it does not boast, it is not proud.

Many men and women hold up there Christianity to their unbelieving spouses face declaring how much better they are because God is on their side. First off, God is not on your side. He doesn’t take sides like that. For Him there is only one side, and that is His. The only difference between you and your unbelieving spouse is God was merciful enough to save you….that’s it.

Also, don’t hold your love up to your spouse who doesn’t love you, declaring you are a better person. Pride and arrogance will not draw the two together; it only produces hurt feelings, anger, and bitterness.

Do not dishonor your wife by speaking ill of her.

v. 5a TNIV – It does not dishonor others…

Sometimes when we are hurt by our wives, we will visit with others about it, but we will also run them into the ground with hurtful bitter words, and exaggerated events and feelings.

While it is important to seek counsel, make sure your words are measured in a way that doesn’t dishonor her.

Don’t make demands on your unbelieving, unloving wife and when she doesn’t come through, become angry.

v. 5b TNIV – it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered.

Husbands, you can demand your wife to love and submit to you; you can demand that they attend church with you and love the Lord, but if their heart is not in it – it is just not going to happen.

Don’t be motivated by getting what you desire, or being self-seeking, and don’t lash out in anger because they refuse.

Love your spouse in way that seeks Christ’s approval, not your own.

Don’t hold grudges against your wife; neither rejoice when bad things happen.

v. 5c-6 TNIV – it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It is easy when you are angry, hurt, or in an argument to bring up those record of wrongs that your spouse has done. It is also during those times you are actually delighting in that fact, because in your eyes it shows you are right and they are wrong.

Husbands, Christ Jesus does not keep a record of your wrongs. If He did, we’d all be in miserable shape.

In the same way, do not bring up past wrongs and hurts, leave them in the past.

Finally, don’t give up on the unloving, unbelieving spouse.

vv. 7-8a TNIV – 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

It will be hard and difficult and hurtful, but pray for them, protect them, trust the Lord for them, continue to put your hope in God for them, and persevere through the hard time. Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

To the Ladies and unmarried – though I directed this sermon toward men, it can apply to everyone. I will deal with the Ladies next week.

What should be our response to the message this morning?

• Love your wife as Christ loved the church, even if you don’t receive love back from her, or she is not a believer in Christ.
• Really study out 1 Corinthians 13 and ask the Lord to help you exhibit the kind of love He describes here.
• Pray for God to be merciful to your wife.
• Don’t give up hope, but persevere. Believe God for a miracle.

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