Marriage Day 19 – The Blessing of the Reciprocal Marriage

Marriage Day 19 – The Blessing of the Reciprocal Marriage

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There is a hierarchy to a marriage where the husband leads and the wife follows. But did you know that there is a circularity, too? Each spouse is dependent upon the other. The reciprocality and mutual dependence of the two are what give strength to the one flesh. In this devotion, I will address the reciprocal marriage.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Biff and Mable married 13 years ago. Most of those years were difficult. Mable struggles with insecurity, which has played out in their marriage by her keeping tabs on Biff. He calls her a nag. Her more habituated insecurity is born out of something that Biff did not cause, which is why Biff sees her questions and accusations as a burden. Rather than discerning Mable as an opportunity to shepherd, he responds by drifting farther from her, which puts their marriage in an unresolvable, circular trap.

  1. The more he drifts from her, the more concerned she becomes.
  2. The more concerned she becomes, the more she nags.
  3. The more she nags, the more he drifts from her.

Eventually, Biff committed adultery, and Mable’s fears came to pass. The thing she dreaded—losing Biff—happened. It was a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” How did they arrive at this place in their marriage? How could they have built their covenant on a better foundation?

What men want

To answer these questions, you have to go back to God’s original design for Adam and Eve and how the effects of sin altered His intent. The Lord made Adam for Himself (Genesis 2:7). He created Adam in His image (leader) and gave him things to do (work). It was a perfect world from Adam’s perspective. He basked in the glory of the Lord and spent his time doing things for God.

God intrinsically tied Adam’s identity to leading and doing, which is why when you degrade a man’s leadership and ability to perform, you damage the man. It is emasculating not to work and provide, which is a significant part of a man’s identity. Adam was a leading man who worked for the Lord while living in His satisfying pleasure.

What women want

Then God surveyed the scene and decided Adam needed someone to complement him; the Lord made Eve (Genesis 2:18). Eve was not like Adam. She came from his side, not from the dirt (Genesis 2:7). She looked different, and God expected her to serve a different role. The Lord did not make Eve for Himself but for Adam (Genesis 2:22-25).

It was no longer proper for Adam to think that working away from home was all that mattered (Ephesians 5:29). Eve was part of his increasing responsibilities (1 Peter 3:7). There is a vulnerability to a woman that is strikingly different from a man. God made her to follow, submit, and serve her husband, which begs a crucial question: if you had to follow, submit, and serve someone, what are the two necessary assurances you need from that person?

  • Will you love me?
  • Will you protect me?

Put yourself in Eve’s shoes. If you had to hook your wagon to a man, what would you be thinking? “If I have to submit to your leadership and provision, you better love and protect me.”

Time to Reflect

  • There is a hierarchy to a marriage where the husband leads and the wife follows. There is also a circularity, where each person is dependent upon the other. The reciprocality and mutual dependence of the two are what gives strength to the one flesh.

Practical Suggestion

  • Husband, what is one way you need to change your leadership and provision for your spouse to make her feel your love and protective care?
  • Wife, what is one way you can use your words to motivate your husband to be a more effective leader and provider, especially if he is not doing it well at this time?

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