With divorce on the rise, and just as much or more so in Christian homes, there is a great need to go back to the basics. I believe that getting away from God's design for marriage is part of the problem. Equalization of the roles within the home are what women have been screaming for, but the more we move toward that goal, the more divorces there are. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that God was right all along?

We must all examine ourselves by the Word of God to see if we are lining ourselves up with God's written will for our lives. We must not let modern thinking and the women's liberation movement determine our walk. The Word of God should be our standard. In other words, what does the Bible say to us, as women?

Because God designed the institute of marriage, following His instructions in the scriptures is the only way for our marriages to reach their full potential. God's will is for marriages to be permanent, loving, and thriving, and to be shining examples to the world around us, that the Word of God is real and right!

We MUST, as wives, be ever so careful to make sure we are doing all we can to help our marriages become what God would have them to be!

Years ago, early into our marriage, my husband and I were having great financial difficulties and Steve began to resent being married and being saddled down with me and the kids to support. He was sometimes angry and often withdrawn. (I am not saying anything that he does not tell others, himself.)

Steve had friends at work who were single and they were so carefree. They had boats and motorcycles, took trips to Fla. and other places, and generally were always having a great time. He could not even afford decent cars for us, much less these toys. We had a big tent given to us, thankfully, and camping trips were some of the few times that Steve seemed to me to be happy.

We could not even afford baby-sitters, and with no family in town, we hardly ever got away by ourselves. We only ate out a couple of times a year and then had to charge the bill. This of course presented its own problems, because we had to do many things that way, that is, until our cards reached their limit.

Steve never really wanted me to go to work, knowing I could not make enough to even pay for day care, and also believing women should be "keepers at home", so that was one problem I didn't have. I thank God continually to this day that my husband allowed me to stay home and raise my children myself.

But, however, I was unhappy too, and terribly disillusioned with marriage. I thought that all of our problems were because of my husband and if he would only change, and meet my needs and be a better husband and father and Christian, then we could have a good marriage.

I have since learned that my own sins and self-righteousness were as much to blame as anything else for the unhappiness we both felt.

However, Steve did not change and things went from bad to worse until around our seventh year of marriage, he told me he didn't love me. I admitted the feeling was mutual. But, as I have written before, Steve chose for us to stay together, for the kids' sakes, and also because he could not afford to support two households. He told me he would not leave his children destitute.

I thought then that I could not live this way any longer, and that I must try to find a way to heal my marriage. I began to study what the scriptures say about women and marriage, and began to pray that the Lord would teach me how to love my husband again, and that my husband would love me again also. Through the scriptures I came to many conclusions that I still hold today.


#1. I learned that the only way that marriage is going to be good and according to God's design, is by obeying God's Word. We cannot love God, serve Him, nor obey Him without obeying what He has written down as instructions for us. I knew I could not control my husband, and the only one that I could change was myself. I sought help in God's Word and it became my final authority for healing my marriage. Not what others say, but "what saith the Lord?"

#2. The scriptures told me that I needed to be taught to love my husband. In other words, as the difficulties of marriage and life itself press in, love does not come naturally. It needs to be taught. It is not a feeling, but something you choose to do and act upon, whether you feel like it or not.

It was evident to me that I did not know how to love my husband, and if love is something that needs to be taught, then it must have to do with something that I was not doing, and that I needed to be taught how. I looked around me and could find no one who qualified for this job of teaching me. Therefore I went to the Lord and told Him that He would have to be my teacher. And He did not fail me in this!

Titus 2:3-4
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children...

#3. I learned that I was to be in submission to my husband IN EVERY THING!

Ephesians 5:22-24
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

This was new to me. Heretofore I had not really put this instruction into practice. I saw that this is a command, and must be followed if a wife is to do the Lord's will. Ignoring this one instruction, in itself, had caused many of our conflicts, and probably caused much of my husband's unhappiness. I realized I was always trying to change him and to "teach" him. Basically I thought I was better than he was. This in itself was enough to tear any man down. This sin tears away at one of a man's basic needs that God has instilled within him, to be the head of his home and to be respected and appreciated.

I Corinthians 11:3
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Only when I began to see my rebellion against the Word of God and to its instructions to me specifically, did I see how sinful I was, and therefore no longer thought that I was better than my husband.

#4. Me first! No matter how bad my marriage was, I saw that I was to be the one to FIRST start doing the things the Lord instructs me to do. I came to this conclusion because most of the passages about marriage speak to the woman first.

Ephesians 5:22-25:
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Verse 22 speaks to wives first. Three verses later, in verse 25, the Lord begins to speak to husbands. So it is in Colossians.

Now, because I was convinced the Lord makes no mistakes, and that a woman's head is the man, this fact was peculiar to me. Why didn't God give instructions to the husbands first? That, it seems, would have been the proper order. Why didn't the Lord give instructions to my husband first and tell him to love me and give himself for me, FIRST? I would then have no trouble following my own instructions, I thought!

The Lord had to have had a purpose in writing the scriptures this way, after all they are inspired of God, and our King James Bible is perfect. I began to see it was the woman's job to do her part whether her husband did his or not, and to be the one to act upon it first. This was also proven by many other passages, such as first Peter 3.

1 Peter 3:1
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

The Lord doesn't address husbands until verse seven of this passage:

1 Peter 3:7
7 Likewise, ye husbands...

#5. I also found I must reverence my husband! What a difficult concept this was for me at the time.

Through my studies, the Lord was convicting me of the significance of the woman's instruction in the last verse of Ephesians 5. The verse says:

"...and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

The wording of the verse makes it clear that this is a command, not a suggestion. The resentment and the anger in my heart about how my husband so often treated me, as well as about other things, kept me from "reverencing" him, and even from loving him. At least that was what I thought. When I began to see that this was a command from God himself, and that we are to obey this verse no matter what our circumstances, how could I any longer not obey this verse? I had asked God to heal my marriage, therefore I knew I had to obey Him if He was to answer my prayer.

How do you reverence someone whom you do not feel that way about? How could I do this personally? First, I realized I had to learn to change my thought patterns. I chose to become a "yes" person rather than so negative about everything my husband said and did. To do so would show respect and honor for what he said or suggested. I started saying, "Yes, let's!" about the things he said.

I also literally chose to put all thoughts about what I did not like about my husband out of my head. I refused to think negative thoughts. This is scriptural according to many passages. One in particular, convicted me:

Philippians 4:8
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I started making lists of my husbband's good qualities and of things I could praise him for. At first I could not think of any! But as I tried harder, I did begin to list things I had not considered before. Slowly the things came to my mind, as I chose to think only good things of my husband. I found this to be a choice of the will and a great discipline in godliness.

I also chose to begin to express these positive things. I purposely decided to start complimenting my husband on at least one thing from my list, every day, when he came home from work. At first the things I wanted to say hung in my throat and I nearly choked trying to say them. Slowly, however, it became easier to express them. It was through these spoken words that I began to see a metamorphosis before my very eyes. My husband slowly began to respond and soon was beaming when I would compliment him or tell him how much I appreciated something. He soon became more loving, sometimes almost instantly after a compliment. He soon began to look forward to coming home. I realized my husband was starving for appreciation and compliments! This starvation was my fault! "I am his only wife. I am the only one who can give him the affirmation he so desperately needs", I thought. Oh what a sinner I then saw myself to be! Me, the one who was so smug in my own righteousness! Who was I to judge my husband?!

#6. I also learned from the scriptures that a woman's job is to sacrifice her life for those around her and especially for her husband. Many scriptures support this. I Cor. 11:9, Rom. 12:1-2 and I Peter 2 and 3 are just a few.

Consider this whole passage, ending with chapter 3, verse 1:

1 Peter 2:18-3:2
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps...
Chapter 3:
1 Likewise, ye wives...

In the above passage, the "likewise" refers back to the passage before, about being a servant, Christ himself being the example.

A woman's life is a sacrificial one, becoming a servant, laying aside her own desires, wants, and even needs sometimes, because,

"Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (1 Corinthians 11:9)

Consider also Romans 12:1
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

In Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman continually gives of herself for those around her.

Proverbs 31:10-12
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

It would do any woman well to read the rest of the chapter. Most of it has to do with giving of oneself to others.

#7. Another truth from the scriptures that I was convicted of, was that when we married, we had made a commitment, before God, "till death do us part"! Divorce was not an option for me and my husband. Further study has proven to me that no reason for divorce is given, in the dispensation of grace, for two saved people.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.


In conclusion, as I began to put the scriptures into practice, I then could see the Lord beginning to heal my marriage. Now I know, also, that the Lord was working in Steve's heart at the same time, just as he was in mine. I am convinced that the whole healing process was of the Lord, was His will, and He was able to effect His will when I began to submit to HIM!

It has been an uphill struggle, but now I can say it was worth it a million times over. My needs that went unmet for so long are now met to overflowing. I still have struggles being in submission and keeping my thoughts right, but that is all because of my sinful flesh. Now, however, I have never felt so loved in all of my life. Now we truly are ONE! And now I cannot even think of any significant faults that my husband has.

I have learned that marriage is not about making us happy necessarily, but about making us "holy". It is designed to make us more Christlike, to mold us into the image of Christ himself.

Rom. 8:28-29
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

What is God's "purpose" in the above verses? Verse 29 explains verse 28. The Lord's purpose and will is to conform us into His image. To work all things together for good IS to conform us into HIS image! Christ came to serve and not be served. If we are to be conformed into His image we must do the same. Who are we to demand more? So, whatever a woman's circumstances, she is to allow the Lord to mold her into HIS image through it!

The wonderful thing is, though, that the closer we become to what Christ would have us be, the happier we become! I have learned that happiness is not conditional upon your marriage circumstances. For the Christian it is conditional upon your walk with the Lord.

Most of us rebel from this though, because we are so selfish, and we want what feels good to us! We want what we want; we want for our husbands to meet OUR needs; we want the perfect husband and father NOW! We think, "HE is supposed to make ME happy." (It's all about US!)

Only when we allow the Lord to conform us into the very image of Christ himself, can we begin the healing process for our troubled marriages and then, with time, go on to experience the full design of God for our marriages.

Philippians 2:5-8
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


My prayer for all of us is that we would all take these instructions from the Word of God as seriously as the Lord intended.

Sincerely, with my prayers,
Mary Atwood
Grace Bible Church