Week One – “Cherishing The Differences” Ephesians 5:21-23; 33
This morning we are going to begin our six-week, 40 Day study by stating the obvious – MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT!
John Gray made a fortune with his book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” where he elaborated on the differences between men and women.
This morning we are going to talk about how to cherish the differences between men and women so that husbands and wives can learn to cherish each other. For a backdrop we are going to draw from the movie “FIREPROOF”
Many of you have seen this movie about a couple named Caleb and Catherine whose marriage is disintegrating and neither one of them really cares. They have been married for seven years and they have definitely lost that lovin’ feeling. Part of the reason for their struggles was not knowing how to cherish their differences.
How Do I Cherish These Differences So I Can Cherish My Spouse?
While we are using the movie for a background we are going to use the Word of God for our authority – so turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 5:21-23: 33
There are three FIREPROOFING principles here in these verses that can help a man and woman cherish the differences and cherish each other.
CHERISH THIS: Marriage Works Best When Both Husband And Wife Give Up Their Rights For The Benefit Of The Other
“submit” = “hupotassonmenoi” = TO LINE UP UNDER or TO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS.
It appears in verse 21 pertaining to the man and the woman and then again in verse 22 referring to the woman. So what it is really saying is, GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS TO ONE ANOTHER OR ALIGN WITH EACH OTHER’S RIGHTS.
The Bible commands marriage partners to each surrender their own rights and look out for the best interests of the other.
Many of the problems Caleb and Catherine had were directly related to their desire to cling to their rights over the rights of their spouse. When two people are each jockeying for their individual rights they put themselves at odds with each other. Instead of COMPLETING EACH OTHER THEY END UP COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER.
It makes sense doesn’t it? Giving up our rights is basic to being able to meet the needs of the other. If Barbara asks me to take out the trash and I am sitting at the computer or watching a game on TV to meet her need I must line up under her desire and submit to her request. So, I give up my right to check my email or watch the next five minutes of the game and carry out the trash.
Mutual submission is one of the difficult – but necessary principles of a successful marriage.
Men, imagine what would happen if your wife sat down with you tomorrow and said, “Honey, I have been making some selfish demands of you, and I’m sorry. I want you to know I am giving up those rights and I am lining up under you. I will no longer demand you become who I think you should be and really get to appreciate who you are.”
What would that do for you?
Women, imagine what would happen if your husband sat down with you tomorrow and said, “Baby, I know there are some things you have needed from me and I have not been willing to line up with them. But starting today I promise to do everything I can to meet your needs as I understand them.
Would that make a difference?
Verse 25 says, “Husbands love your wives…..”
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” I Peter 3:7
What Are Husbands Supposed To Do? --- LOVE THEIR WIVES
What Are Wives Supposed To Do? ---- RESPECT THEIR HUSBANDS
You cannot do either if you cling to your rights to the exclusion of your partner’s needs.
You say, “Brad, this is really hard! How do I do this?”
The Scripture makes it clear that if your are going to “line up under” or “give up your rights” to your partners you have to first submit to Christ and surrender your rights to Him and line up with His will, His needs.
WHERE DO I NEED TO “LINE UP UNDER” CHRIST? WHERE DO I “NEED TO LINE UP” WITH MY SPOUSE’S NEEDS?
SUBMIT TO EACH OTHER
CHERISH THIS: Marriage Works Best When We Understand There Are Differences And Act Accordingly.
You Know A Principle Is True When It Shows Up In A Country Western Song:
When you see a deer, you see BambiAnd I see antlers up on the wallYou see a lake you think picnicsAnd I see a large mouth up under that log.
You're probably thinkin' that you're gonna change meIn some ways, well, maybe you mightScrub me down, dress me upOh, but no matter what, remember, I'm still a guy.
When you see a priceless French paintingI see a drunk naked girlYou think that riding a wild bull sounds crazyAnd I'd like to give it a whirl.
Well, love makes a man do some things he ain't proud ofAnd in a weak moment I mightWalk your sissie dog, hold your purse at the mallBut remember, I'm still a guy.
And I'll pour out my heart, hold your hand in the carWrite a love song that makes you cryThen turn right around, knock some jerk to the ground'Cause he copped a feel as you walked by.
I can hear you now talkin' to your friendsSayin', yeah girls, he's come a long wayFrom draggin' his knuckles and carryin' a clubAnd buildin' a fire in a cave.
But when you say a backrub means only a backrubAnd you swat my hand when I tryWell, now what can I say at the end of the dayHoney, I'm still a guy.
From the moment of birth, little girls have more lip movement than boys. In a Harvard study of hundreds of preschoolers, researchers found that 100% of the sounds coming from little girls mouths were words, whereas only 60% of the sounds coming from boys were words. The other 40% were yells and sound effects.
Those differences persist into adulthood. Communication experts say that the average woman speaks 25,000 words a day, while the average man speaks a little over 10,000. What does that mean in marital terms? Very often it means a man has used up most of his 10,000 words at work…..while his wife is just warming up!
Gary Smalley asked thousands of women how much time they needed with their husbands in meaningful conversation. A wife says 45 minutes to an hour each day. What did their husbands say? “Fifteen to twenty minutes --- once or twice a week.”
These differences are what make marriage challenging – but also can make it wonderful.
YOU DO THAT SO WELL
MEN, TRY THIS…… IF SHE IS NAGGING YOU MAY NOT BE LISTENING
Show Your Love To Her By Sitting Down And Actually Listening To Her. Hear Her Heart And Her Dreams. Look Into Her Eyes. Gaze Into Her Soul. Know Who She Is. Affirm Who She Is. Find How You Can Serve Her. How Can You Complete Her?
“Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed... Women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.” John Gray
Men need respect – Wives, will you submit to that need?
Women need love – Husbands, will you submit to that need?
God was passionate about living in relationship with us. But Adam & Eve refused to submit and failed to line up with His will – so sin separated Him from His Creation. So God sent Someone that He was passionate about – HIS SON – to pay the price for our sin and to redeem us and bring us back into fellowship with the Father.
After Jesus returned to Heaven He made it known that those who came to know Him by faith were to come together in a spiritual community called “The Church” – “The Ekklessia” or “Called Out Ones”. The church was to be the Body of Christ in the world – the visible presence of His love and grace and power in the world.
Jesus was passionate about the Church because He is passionate about people and passionate about God. So much so that He referred to the Church as His Bride and the relationship between Christ and His Church is representative of marriage.
So Jesus couldn’t claim to be passionate about God and be indifferent toward God’s people. Jesus couldn’t claim to be passionate about God’s people and be casual toward the church. It all hangs together. That is one of the main points of this portion of Scripture. Love for God must be expressed through marriage and worship.
IN THE SAME WAY, YOU CAN’T SAY YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT GOD AND BE CASUAL ABOUT YOUR WIFE. NOR CAN YOU BE PASSIONATE ABOUT GOD AND BE CASUAL TOWARD HIS CHURCH.