To honor something or someone means to “hold in high honor or esteem.” In Hebrews 13:4 we read the command to hold “marriage” in honor among all, and to let the marriage bed be undefiled.”
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. In a culture that celebrates the individual, this command is counter cultural. To begin with, it assumes the traditional biblical definition of marriage as between a man and woman." (Hebrews 13:4 NIV)
"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. To become one flesh implies more than simply a sexual union but a unique and exclusive intimacy between a man and wife. This sacred union separates marriage from all other relationships. Notice however, the emphasis is on marriage itself… as in the Institution of Marriage. Secular culture encourages those who find themselves unhappy or unsatisfied in their marriage to leave for the sake of personal fulfillment. God’s word challenges us to do the hard work of repentance, forgiveness, and acceptance. As Christ-followers we should celebrate those couples who choose to do the hard work of working through challenges and choose to stay when it would be easier to bail." (Genesis 2:24 NIV)
Interestingly enough: longitudinal studies conducted by Dr. John Gottman, show that couples who do not FEEL particularly loving towards each other, and report they are unhappy with their marriages—2/3rds of them—will change their feelings and move from unhappy to happy—within 5 years, if they stick with the marriage and work on their issues.
In other words, commitment to marriage leads to a happier marriage. Honoring marriage is the value beneath the commitment to stick with it and prioritize the relationship even when we do not feel like doing so. When I neglect my marriage or complain about my spouse, I am dishonoring the institution of marriage.
I find the following ideas from “Build Your Marriage” helpful when seeking to honor your marriage and your spouse:
1. See your spouse through God’s eyes.
Your spouse was “knit together…. fearfully and wonderfully made” in their mother’s womb by God (Psalm 139:13-14). He created them with a purpose. They have value to him, just as you do. Consider praying a simple prayer like, “God, you love my spouse so much. Help me to see them through your eyes. Help me to love them with your love.”
2. Appreciate their unique qualities.
It can be easy to get frustrated with what our spouse doesn’t do well. In fact, we can create a running list in our mind of the things that we wish they would do better. Instead, make the concerted effort to focus on what they do well. Tell them the good things that you see. Reaffirm to them what you believe they can do and accomplish.
3. Treat your spouse with care.
God calls us to treat our spouse carefully. We are to be tender and not harsh with our wives. Tender or kind in the way that we speak to them. Careful in the way that we speak about them to others.
4. Defer to their interests.
In a dishonoring marriage, spouses look to their own interests. Paul says that we are to honor one another above ourselves. That means having an attitude that seeks the best first for our spouse. A simple question to ask yourself is, “Am I looking out for myself in this situation, or am I considering what’s best for my spouse?” Over time, you will train yourself to defer gladly do your spouse’s best interest.
Try applying these ideas this week as you honor your marriage and build your spouse!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Chuck