Principles for Oneness in Marriage
About the Guest
Men, becoming a student of your wife is vital to living with her in an understanding way. Kirk Cameron shares three principles for marital oneness from 1 Peter.
Kirk Cameron shares three principles for marital oneness from 1 Peter.
Principles for Oneness in Marriage
Bob: One of the key lessons every couple needs to learn in marriage is that different isn’t wrong—sometimes, it’s just different. Here’s Kirk Cameron.
Kirk: Guys, how many times have you tried to change your wife to get her to think more like you think? Am I the only one? Ladies, how many calories have you burned trying to change that man into the husband that you want him to be?—right? Okay, how has that been working for you? Not great; right? I think I know why. I think it’s because God reserves the privilege of changing your spouse for Himself.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, March 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So are their changes that need to happen in your marriage? Maybe those changes need to start with you. We’ll hear a message from Kirk Cameron today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. You’ve never tried to change Barbara; have you?
Dennis: Oh, are you kidding me?! [Laughter] I mean, I just was listening to him and I had to smile as he said that. What man hasn’t tried to get his wife to act more like a man?—when he married her to be a woman in the first place?
Dennis: It really makes zero sense; but we struggle with allowing our wives to be different, and to be a female, and all that entails. Sometimes, it just rubs us the wrong way.
Bob: And I think the wives would admit that they’ve had a tendency to want to change their husbands. In fact, I shared at the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, recently, that the marriage ceremony is set up to try to convince a wife that she’s supposed to change her husband because—she gets to the back of the church—the first thing she sees is the aisle she’s going to walk down.
She looks up ahead and she sees the altar, where she’s going to get married. She hears a hymn, playing in the background; and she keeps thinking, “Aisle, Altar, Hymn,”—[Laughter]—“I’ll alter him.”
Dennis: Oh, that’s bad!
Bob: That is a bad one. [Laughter]
Dennis: It really is. Boooo!
Bob: But the point that we’re going to hear today, from Kirk Cameron, is that, when we start to think about change in marriage, we really have to start looking in the mirror; right?
Dennis: We do. I think what Kirk kind of said, under his breath, about how they have achieved a successful marriage in the midst of being in Hollywood is really pretty remarkable. I think the reason they’ve been successful is their faith in Jesus Christ, their belief in the Scriptures, and their obedience to those Scriptures.
Bob: The message we’re going to hear today was presented just a couple of weeks ago. It was Monday night onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise, which we hosted right before Valentine’s Day, a few weeks back. We had a sold-out ship for the 5th year in a row. Kirk and Chelsea Cameron were our opening-night speakers who spoke to couples.
We also heard from Voddie Baucham, Dave and Ann Wilson, you spoke—there were break-out sessions. We got a chance to get a sneak preview of the brand-new movie from the Kendrick brothers that’s coming out this fall. We had concerts from Steven Curtis Chapman and Andrew Peterson.
Dennis: Michael, Jr.
Bob: Yes, it really was a great event! The thing that made it so special was we got to spend time together, as husbands and wives.
Dennis: Cell phones were off!
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: We were cruising along in the Gulf of Mexico, heading toward Cozumel.
Bob: We had people speaking into our lives, offering spiritual counsel. We had time to relax / we had some entertainment.
Dennis: In fact, one of the things I asked a young lady was, “So what’s the high point of the cruise for you?” She opened her journal. Bob, she had a list of new friends—of other couples she had met and what she had learned from them.
Dennis: And she’d been on the cruise multiple years—so she was turning to multiple pages with different groups of people she’s met each year. Some of those friendships are enduring, going forward.
Bob: Well, in fact, the cruise for 2016, which is Valentine’s week of 2016—it is already half-booked. A lot of the folks, who were on the cruise this year, said, “We’re coming back next year.” We’re adding a day to the cruise next year, and we’re on a little bit bigger ship. We’re really excited about what’s ahead for 2016.
If our listeners would like to be a part of it, this is a great week to get in touch with us—you still have a good selection of staterooms. Our team is making a special rate available—in fact, it’s the lowest rate we’ll offer all year. If you’d like to join us, log on to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” The information about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is available right there.
Let’s listen to Kirk Cameron and part of what he shared on Monday night at the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise a few weeks ago.
Kirk: What I’d like to share with you are some behind-the-scenes secrets that have helped me and Chelsea have a happy Hollywood marriage. We live in Hollywood, but we don’t play Wife Swap or husband swap like a lot of other couples are doing in our town—we’re committed to one another.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned. I’m not going to give you a big speech or a big sermon. You’ve got some powerful stuff coming from some of the people who are going to be coming for the rest of this week. I want to give you some tasty morsels that you can chew on and just digest. I’m hoping you can relate to this—three things that I’ve learned in marriage that are probably the three most basic things and, without which, my marriage will not work / it will fail.
Number one, I’ve learned that the number one thing that will take down marriage—my marriage—quicker than anything is—not money issues / it’s not financial conflict; it’s not trust issues; it’s not communication issues. You know what it is? It’s just plain old selfishness—
—it’s selfishness. That’s the mother-problem that gives birth to every other problem in my marriage. It’s usually my selfishness. I like to say it this way: “The heart of the problem in my marriage”—and I suggest to yours as well—“is the problem of the heart.” “The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.”
I can make coffee for my wife every single morning, I can buy her flowers, take her on wonderful marriage cruises, and buy her chocolates, and tell her how much I love her, and, yet, if I don’t have my heart set on honoring and obeying Jesus Christ—repenting of my sins, walking in the fear of the Lord, and devoting myself to my wife and my kids first—all of this is a bunch of bunk. All of this is just going to be a waste of my time and further showing her that my talk is not matching my walk and that I am teaching my children how to be hypocrites and Pharisees.
So, if I don’t have things right in my heart with God first—and walking in obedience and priority with my family—I might as well just realize that my marriage is heading down the drain until I get that straightened out.
The second thing that I’ve understood about marriage—that is critical / and this is one that takes a long time for me to learn—is that there’s only one person on the planet that I can change. [Laughter]
Guys, how many times have you tried to change your wife to get her to think more like you think? Am I the only one? Ladies, how many calories have you burned trying to change that man into the husband that you want him to be?—right? Okay; how has that been working for you?—either side? Not great; right? I think I know why. I think it’s because there’s a principle—I don’t have a verse to back this up—but I think it’s because God reserves the privilege of changing your spouse for Himself.
There’s only one person on the planet that I can change and that you can change. It’s not the guy sitting next to you or the girl sitting next to you. It’s not about getting a new spouse. Here it is—it’s about giving your spouse a new you. It’s not about getting a new spouse / it’s about giving your spouse a new you. [Applause]
A third thing I would put right there at the top of the list is understanding that I have to be daily engaged in a battle to defeat sin because, if I stay in neutral and just wait to avoid sin when it comes pounding on the gates of my life, my family, my thoughts—that’s a losing strategy. It will destroy me and it will destroy my marriage.
I’ve got to be engaged with a strategy to defeat sin. My strategy is a two-part strategy, and I want you to think about this too. Don’t just have the “Don’t do it” plan: “Don’t do that!” “Don’t look at that!” “Don’t talk to that girl that way!” “Don’t make that an idol!” Don’t go with that plan because the “I want it!” disease is always bigger and stronger than simply the “Don’t do it,” plan.
I’ve got to have a heart that’s regenerated by the Spirit of God and then wage war against that which is waging war against me in my life. I’ve learned that / I have to do that. That’s the two-part strategy that I’ve learned to be very, very effective.
Without those three things, I don’t know anything about marriage that can help me, or you, or anybody else. Is that resonating with you—those few principles? [Audience affirming response] Good.
I heard a great message from one of my favorite preachers on one verse in the Bible. The message that he gave was titled “How to Fix Your Wife by Faith.” I thought, “That’s a great title.” But this was “How to Fix Your Wife by Faith.” It was a great message, and this is the verse—
—it’s in 1 Peter, Chapter 3, verse 7: “Likewise, you husbands”—and, by the way, this is a verse for husbands only / not for the ladies. Ladies, there’s nothing for you to do here. Please don’t elbow your husband in the ribs / he didn’t bring his rib-guards this evening. Just sit back and listen. Guys, this is for us. Check this out. This is how to fix your wife! “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
That’s a powerful verse. I want to break it down for you into the six parts that, if you have your heart right with God / if you’re walking in the fear of the Lord—understanding that, if you woke up not in hell this morning, God’s been really gracious to you.
If you understand that, and you want to obey Him, and you’re not looking to push the blame off on your wife, and you recognize you need to simply be the guy that God wants you to be, and you want to do that, and you are up for the challenge of cutting the head off of sin, then check this out: “…husbands, dwell with them…” Here’s the first principle here. I was taught that that little phrase is all about spending time with your wife—spend time with your wife. Husbands, spend time with your wife. It’s a huge deal. If you want to have a great marriage / if I want to have a great marriage—a happening marriage—I’ve got to spend time with her. There’s no substitute for that; right?
Guys, we can’t get a great marriage simply by sleeping in the same bed with a woman, or by living under the same roof, driving around in the same car, watching the same TV. That stuff’s good—that stuff’s right—but we’ve got to intentionally pour time into the art and science of marriage or we’re not going to have a great marriage; right? Spend time with my wife.
“…husbands, dwell with them with understanding…” Alright, here’s the second part of that verse—that literally means “according to knowledge.” I’ve learned that I’ve got to study my wife if I’m going to understand her. She’s not naturally someone I understand when she reacts a certain way, or thinks a certain way, or says a certain something—sometimes, that’s very confusing to me. So, I’ve got to learn to study my wife.
You could put it like this—before you married your wife, I bet money that you were studying her like nobody’s business—[Laughter]—right? You wanted to know everything you could about her: “What is her name?”—right? “Where does she live?”—right? “What classes does she take? What is she interested in? What kind of flowers does she like? What kind of music does she like? What kind of food is she into? What is her deal? Is she seeing anybody? What’s his name? Where does he live?”—[Laughter]—right? “I need to go take care of that obstacle and get that out of the way!”
“I need to absorb lots of information about this girl so that I can win her,”—right? “…win her heart—she is a treasure!” The more you found out, the more excited you were to have her as your own; right?
Well, now that you’ve got the graduation certificate / now that you’ve got your diploma—the marriage piece of paper—you’ve got to keep studying your wife. I’ve got to keep studying my wife, and get my Bachelor’s Degree, and my Master’s Degree and, ultimately, a Doctorate, in my wife.
If we’re going to “live with her with understanding,” we’ve got to know what fires her up / we’ve got to know what brings her down. We should know what she loves and what she hates. Maybe you’re like me and you need to get a couple of 3x5 cards. I don’t have my wallet with me but, if I did, I would pull them out and show you that I take notes: “Oh, my wife loved it when I said that. I’m going to say that again,”—[Laughter]—right?—like flash cards—“Whoa! She didn’t like it when I said that. I’m not sayin’ that again!” [Laughter]—right?
But you get the idea!—become a student of your wife.
Let’s keep going—“…giving honor to the wife…” God’s saying that we need to be honoring our wife. This means more than just respect. What do you say about your wife in front of other people? If I wanted to find out if Bob Lepine was really honoring his wife—it is not just because he’s the FamilyLife guy—right?—what I could do to give me an idea is to say: “Hey, Bob, let me have your parents’ phone number,” or “Let me have your brother or sister’s phone number,” or “How about your wife’s parents? How about your friends, at work, that you know but your wife doesn’t know?”
Then, I could call them on the phone and say: “Hey, does Bob ever talk about his wife? What does he say?” “Oh, he never talks about her,” / “Oh, he does talk about her.” “Well, what kind of words does he use? What exactly is he saying?”—right?
I see men, who honor their wives in front of other men, and it’s an awesome thing / it’s a powerful thing! That just builds appreciation into / and value into his wife, especially if she’s around to catch wind of it, either in person or through someone else who heard that and circles back and tells her. Husbands, we’re to honor our wives.
We can do that in front of our kids—by not criticizing her or contradicting her—but building her up, and appreciating her, and talking with words that ascribe value in front of friends, parents, strangers, kids. You get the idea.
“…husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel...” Alright, here’s a great principle. Protect your wife “as the weaker vessel.” Now, this is not talking about inferiority or weakness—spiritually, or emotionally/intellectually. Many of us guys know that we married up in that category; right?—in some of those categories.
But, physically, women are weaker; and men are designed to be protectors of their wives. We can protect our wives in so many ways—physically / we can protect our wives emotionally—we can learn to understand where she feels unprotected and begin to bring protection in those areas.
If you have a job that takes you out of town, we can go a long way by sitting her down and letting her know that, even in our absence, we’ve taken time to talk to the neighbors, and our parents/our in-laws, making sure that she’s okay and that she has what she needs. We’re going to check in and we’re going to talk. You’re not leaving her unprotected / or the kids because you’re not there. Men are to be protectors of their wives because she’s the weaker vessel.
And “…as being heirs together of the grace of life,”—that’s the fifth section of that verse. This is about doing life together—
“…as heirs together of the grace of life…” God has an inheritance of grace, and we are heirs together with our wife. I think the key there is to learn how to do life together with our wife by opening up to her. Some of us guys have a habit of being very tight-lipped and sort of quiet when it comes to what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. Many of our wives know this syndrome of feeling like she is living with a closed book—you don’t know what’s inside.
Some of us guys can be very comfortable—allowing our wives only to read the title of the book, and the author’s name, but none of the information on the inside. Often, our wives can find themselves looking elsewhere for emotional connection—with friends, or parents, or children—because they’re giving what she’s giving. They’re opening up to one another. That back and forth creates a togetherness that is just part of the way God built us.
And, finally, “…so that your prayers may not be hindered,”—end of verse. God is saying to do all these things, guys, so that your prayers are not hindered. The inference there, I think, is clear—you don’t want your prayers hindered—right?
Someone, who’s out in the field, doing battle with an enemy, knows that they don’t want their communication systems to go out. That’s a very dangerous thing; isn’t it?—because that’s communication back to headquarters, where you have reinforcements and supplies / back-up.
And what is prayer? That’s earth-to-heaven communication, where we get our supply—of grace, our supply of mercy, of patience, of long-suffering, of wisdom—which we desperately need. You don’t want your prayers cut off.
God is saying, “Do these things, guys, so that that communication is rich and clear,” and these blessings come down from heaven because of God’s grace.
Spend time with your wife, study her, honor her, protect her, open up with her, and pray with her. I find that to be the best verse in the whole world for me, in marriage, because it’s not about changing my wife. It actually fixes so much in my wife because I’m being the guy that God’s calling me to be—for Him and for her. So, I just want to leave you guys with this—at the end of the day, you’re responsible for your marriage / for your family; and I’m responsible for mine. Here’s the hardest thing I’ll say tonight—you even have to be responsible for stuff that you didn’t do—
—because Jesus took responsibility for a lot of stuff that He did not do. If we’re going to love our wives the way Christ loved the church, that’s the order of instruction. We’re blessed to have a treasure of a wife to be there with us in the process. [Applause]
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening, again, to Kirk Cameron, from opening night of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, a few weeks back, as he was talking about some of the lessons he’s had to learn, as a husband, about how to be a student of your wife and how to live with her in an understanding way.
Dennis: And what you heard from him was an authentic story. He didn’t paint it as though he was some kind of actor and she was an actress, where everything ended up perfect in the end. No, he painted it—warts and all. He shared some stories, as you just heard, about how they’ve had some difficulties in their marriage. They’re raising a bunch of kids.
I started to say a “boatload” of kids, but that might be inappropriate, here, talking about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. [Laughter]
But, Bob, he also talked about a biblical solution of following Jesus Christ and being obedient to what He commanded us to do because you can know the right thing and, if you don’t do it, then, at that point, you’re called a hearer only and not someone who’s a doer of the Word. That’s where all of us need the challenge, I think, to put some shoe leather to it and to be obedient to Jesus Christ in our marriages.
Bob: I think by the time everyone was done with the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, they got off the ship with some action points—
Dennis: Oh, yes!
Bob: —some ways that their marriage can be stronger.
Bob: At the same time, they got off with some fresh hope and with just some wind in their sails because it’s a relaxing, enjoyable week. I mean, you’re a little tired by the time it’s all over, because you’ve stayed up late and gotten up early, but you also walk off refreshed from the week away.
Dennis: I mean, how many vacations can you go on where you hear some of the best communicators in America, some of the cleanest entertainers and musicians, and just have a good time relating to people and deciding what the schedule’s going to be? You can go to the meetings if you want to, or you can skip them / sleep in, or go eat something.
Now, tell the truth, Bob. When you got there—
Dennis: —what was the first place that you hit? Was it your room or was it the free yogurt and the ice cream?
Bob: I did not go immediately to the ice cream machine.
Dennis: Not immediately!
Bob: I did not go immediately there! [Laughter] I did go to the dining room immediately, but I waited on the ice cream. [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes, that’s true. I was in the dining room immediately too—but that was where our meeting was—I knew that was where you were. [Laughter] I thought you might have slipped and had a little detour before you got there.
Bob: No. No detour; no detour! I do hope our listeners will consider joining us next February on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. There may be folks who have a special anniversary coming up and they’re looking for a special way to celebrate it—
—the cruise is a great opportunity to do that. And this week is the right week to sign up because of the special offer we’re making to FamilyLife Today listeners. The prices, this week, are at a special rate for listeners. This is the lowest price that will be available all year. Again, keep in mind that we’re expecting that the cruise will sell out sometime in the early summer.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to get more information. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll see the information about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise there. You can click on the link, and it will get you all the information you need; or if you have questions, call us—1-800-FL-TODAY. We can make your reservation over the phone or we can answer any questions you have. Again, the number is 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear from Voddie Baucham, and his wife Bridget, and from Voddie’s daughter, Jasmine, who just got married about six months ago—she and her husband Philip Holmes. All four of these folks are going to share about the process that led from Jasmine being a single young woman to a married young woman and how her mom and dad were involved in that process. I hope you can tune in for tomorrow’s program.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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