To Love, Honor, and Cherish
About the Guest
Submission and Headship - two words that set many a Christian soul on edge. According to Crawford and Karen Loritts, that's unfortunate, because when men and women accurately grasp and honestly embrace these Biblical truths, the result brings great glory to God and great peace to their relationship.
According to Crawford and Karen Loritts, when men and women grasp and embrace the Biblical truths of submission and headship, the result brings glory to God and peace to their relationship.
Bob: Perseverance in marriage is something that Crawford Loritts says he learned at an early age. He had some great role models when it came to sticking with it, even during tough times.
Crawford: My mother and father didn’t do everything right, but my dad didn’t view the word “obligation” as a profane word. He taught me that it is important to live your life by your promises; and that when things get heated, and hot, and heavy, and you don’t like something, that is not reason to go!
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, April 9th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about the importance of keeping your promises in marriage. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. There are some guys that I know—that if they were going to be in Memphis, two hours from here, and were going to be speaking in Memphis—I would see if I could clear my schedule and drive over to Memphis to hear them speak.
Dennis: You’d be driving fast if you got there in two hours. I know where the Pyramid is, and we need to talk about your speed; [Laughter] but I agree with you.
Bob: I’m just saying—some guys that I’d go, “It’s worth it to go hear them speak.” And one of those guys is our mutual friend, Dr. Crawford Loritts, who—I am excited is going to be joining us, along with his wife, Karen, at our upcoming “I Still Do”™ marriage events that are going to be taking place on Saturday, August 2nd, in Chicago, at the Allstate Arena; Saturday, August 23rd, in Portland, Oregon, at the Moda Center; and on Saturday, October 4th, at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.
These are one-day rallies for marriage. Along with Crawford and Karen Loritts, Al Mohler is going to be joining us / David Nasser is going to be with us. We’ve got Ron Deal, and Shaunti Feldhahn, and a concert from Andrew Peterson. You and Barbara are going to be at these events.
Dennis: That’s right.
Bob: This is a chance for people to come together and say: “Marriage is important. Our marriage is important; and we need to learn, we need to grow, and we need some help.”
Dennis: We do. Both Crawford and Karen, by the way, are going to be speaking at the event. I’ll tell you what—I wish our listeners could get to know Karen Loritts as well as Barbara and I do because her life is a great story of redemption. What God did in her life—growing up in the inner city of Philadelphia, and how He redeemed that life, and has now used her as a pastor’s wife is really quite remarkable.
Those who get the chance to make the trip to “I Still Do” are going to receive a lot of hope, based upon what they hear from Karen.
Bob: I don’t think you have seen this yet; but if you go to IStillDo.com—it’s a website we have put up that has all the information about “I Still Do”—there is a spot on the website where we have Crawford and Karen’s wedding pictures. Have you seen them?
Dennis: I have not.
Bob: We have pictures from your wedding, as well.
Dennis: That’s frightening!
Bob: We have pictures from my wedding.
Dennis: That’s triple frightening.
Bob: And we have pictures of Al Mohler and his wife, Mary, and their wedding. We’re asking our listeners to scan in and post their pictures, right alongside of them. In fact, we’re doing some judging here. We’re looking to see if we can give some prizes away to some of the worst tuxedos, and the worst hairstyles, and things like that.
Dennis: These are people who actually come to “I Still Do.”We’re going to give away some prizes at the event.
Bob: We are. If you can’t come to “I Still Do,” you can still put your wedding picture up there; but you’re right. We’re going to be doing some special prizes for folks, and we do hope that everybody who will come to “I Still Do”will put their wedding picture up. There is also a place on the website where you can share your honeymoon horror story or your wedding day disaster story. We’ve heard some great ones! [Laughter]
Dennis: I’ll bet.
Bob: We’re also putting together the ultimate wedding playlist. So, we’d like to know: “What was your song?”—maybe the first song you danced to at the wedding or the song that was kind of your song, back when you were dating—so that we’ve got this playlist of great romantic songs. We want “I Still Do”to be a one-day event for couples that equips them; but we expect it to be a fun day, as well.
Dennis: It is. It’s going to have a lot of components to it. We’re going to have a digital component, and folks doing projects on their smart phones and iPads, throughout the day. Really, it’s going to be a lot of fun, Bob. It’s not just head knowledge.
It’s going to be a lot of practical takeaways that couples are going to be able to hear / utilize, right on the spot—turn to their spouse, even in the midst of an arena filled with 14 / 15 / 18 thousand people—and leave that event with a game plan to experience the power of the promise they made on their wedding day.
Bob: We’re going to give our listeners an opportunity to hear a little of what they’re going to hear at “I Still Do”. As we mentioned, Crawford and Karen Loritts are going to be joining us. They’re going to talk about what a wife needs her husband to be, and what a husband needs his wife to be—and how we can encourage, and bless, and edify, and strengthen our marriage, as we serve one another in marriage.
Crawford Loritts is the Senior Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. They’ve been married since 1971. They have four adult children, and—
Dennis: —not enough grandkids.
Bob: [Laughter] Well, nobody—nobody can get to where you guys are!
Here are Crawford and Karen Loritts, talking about how we honor one another in our marriage relationship.
Crawford: On May 22nd, 1971, we said “I do.” I’ll never forget that day because, outside of the church, there was a reception line. Karen’s relatives / her cousins were coming through the line. One of her relatives—I overheard her say this—Karen and I had repeated our vows. In what Karen said, she had committed and vowed to submit to me. One of her relatives said these words—she said, “She must be out of her mind to submit to some man!”
Well, you know, a few years ago, we would chuckle at that; but that’s pretty common today in our culture. One of the problems that we’re seeing today, in society, is that there is mass confusion about who we are, as people, and what roles are in marriage.
You see, God’s goal for your marriage and for my marriage is unity. Well, unity is enhanced when a husband and wife know who they are and what their God-given assignment is. Well, I’m going to ask Karen, the joy of my life, to come and talk about the wife’s assignment in unity, and harmony, and direction in the family.
Karen: Let me share with you four things that submission can be defined, as you look in the book of Ephesians. I want to look at submission and respect in a few—very few minutes. First of all, submission means that you are yielded to the will of God. I yielded my life to the Lord when I came to know Him as my personal Savior. Submission means that my will is surrendered to the will of God. God is a sovereign God, and He doesn’t play any games! I had to believe that God wasn’t playing any games in my life.
The second thing is—is that I had to be committed that God knew what He was doing!—that He designated the husband, Crawford, to be my head. And He designated me to come alongside and be his helper—suitable for him, just like a lock and a key. I completed Crawford, and he completed me.
Third thing about submission is that I was to have strength, under the control of the Holy Spirit. Now: “There’s no way, in this world, that in your flesh, Karen, that you can love this man. There’s no way, in the flesh, Karen, that you can submit to him, unless it comes through the power of having a life totally surrendered to the will of God.” And I had to do that—time, and time, and time again.
And the last thing about submission is—I had to become an aggressive follower. I had to come and decide: “Lord, I surrender everything to You. I give myself to You.” Many times, I had to go into my prayer closet, with tears streaming down my eyes, and said “Lord, I failed You again. This gifted man that You’ve given to me—my refusal to love him.”
I’m really racking him—from the living room all the way to the bedroom. I want to control what he does to the TV, with that remote control. I want to control him in the kitchen—what he eats—and I want to control, in the bedroom, when we have fellowship and when we don’t have fellowship. You know what I mean? [Laughter] I was a control freak until God said, “Karen, trust Me!”
“Can I trust You?” And I had to come back to God. If God can save me—if He can take a poor girl from the streets of Philadelphia and save her for all of eternity—He can save my marriage. The only thing He needed to have was a vessel that was yielded to Him. So, submission is something that we do. It has nothing to do with worth and value—but just task and function. I was clueless; but when I yielded myself to the will of God—when I decided that His Word was for all of eternity, and I had to embrace everything in Scripture—
—and that I can trust myself to God and to Crawford—the submission has become lesser and lesser of an issue in our life.
And the second word is respect—that respect—I always thought, in my family, that you had to earn the right to be respected; but that’s not true. Respect is something that you give because it’s the right thing to do. God loves all of us; and God loves us, even in our failures. I needed to treat Crawford with love, honor, and grace. He’s God’s best for me. Sometimes, I would think that he was God’s nightmare in my life. That wasn’t real. God is not playing games. And so, I had to respect. Respect means that I have to be an encourager for him. I’m his best cheerleader, and I’m his listener. I really had to work those things out, as we’ve had children.
Our oldest son, Bryan—years ago, when he was in elementary school—sometimes, moms and their boys—we are bonded together. I would stand, sometimes, up for Bryan when his dad wanted to really correct him on some of his behavior that he was really misbehaving in some areas. I would stand and try to rescue my son out of his dad’s hands. We do that sometimes; don’t we, moms? I wasn’t respecting my husband. I was dishonoring him, and I was showing to my husband the model that wasn’t right. And God had to nail me again: “Karen, are you respecting your husband?” And I had to release that and give that over to Him. It’s hard.
But he needs to hear from us the praises. Ladies, it’s okay to tell him that he’s still a good kisser. It’s okay to tell him all the great things that he’s doing. I think, out of all the days that they go to work and come home—30 days a month—there is one thing that the man needs to hear from you that he is doing right.
Be a good listener. Be a cheerleader. In our culture today—unfortunately, there are women—[at] their jobs, even in our churches and our neighborhoods—that are willing and ready to be your husband’s cheerleader and listener. I wasn’t willing to give that over to them.
So, submission and respect are two of the greatest things. Proverbs, Chapter 18, says, “He who finds a good wife obtains favor from the Lord.” I wanted to have the favor of God rest upon my soul because He has done so much for me: “Is He a trustworthy God? Can He love that man?” Submission and respect are the least that we can give to have a godly home. God bless you. [Applause]
Crawford: In Ephesians, Chapter 5, we often ring the changes on this text. So often—please forgive me—but lazy preachers and lazy Bible teachers keep smacking women upside the head with this whole respect and submit issue.
But it doesn’t take a theologian to realize that the greater pressure and the greater burden in this text rests upon the shoulders of the man. In fact, succinctly said, there’s only one crystal-clear assignment that a man has in marriage—one assignment. That one assignment is simply this—verse 25 says, “Husbands”—it’s almost as if Paul reaches out and grabs men by the lapels: “Alright, I’ve told them to submit. That’s fine; but come here, fellows,”—“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church,”—“Love that woman as Christ loved the church.”
Parenthetically, this is the essence of all biblical leadership, by the way. Leadership in the Bible is never, ever—ever spoken of, primarily, as a position. The position is given for the opportunity to serve in greater dimensions and greater ways. You’re not the head of the house because you have “Mr.” in front of your name and you happen to be a male species. To be the head of our household means that: “I embrace the God-given responsibility to love that woman that God has given me as Christ has loved the church.”
Here, in the passage, that love is broken out into two broad categories or is expressed in two ways. Number one, we are to love her sacrificially: “Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” And then he goes on to delineate this self-sacrificial love by making three propositional statements.
Number one, you’re to give yourself to making her great. Look at the words in verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church …” and notice the verb “…and gave Himself …” double preposition “…up for her.” The whole purpose is to make the church great. Just before Jesus ascended, He said, “Greater things than these shall you do because I go to the Father,”—“I want to make you great.”
The greatest compliment that could ever be given to me, as the head of my household, is that my wife is excelling, that Karen is fulfilled, that she is great, that she is flourishing, that she is becoming all that God wants her to be. My role is a translator of vision to reality. You’ve got to give up yourself if you’re going to love her like Christ loved the church. You see, it takes a greater person to make someone else great.
The second propositional statement is that you’re to give yourself exclusively to her. Look at verse 26: “That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word.” For the sake of time, let me just zero in on the word “sanctify.” That word literally means to set apart. In other words, the word-picture here is simply this—Paul says Jesus has relationship with one bride, and that’s His church.
Thirdly, give yourself to accomplishing God’s purposes for your marriage. Verse 27 says, “…that he might”—purpose—“present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.” Theologically, here, gentlemen, we participate in the sanctifying process of our wives.
You cannot control your wife and fulfill your role. Your wife is not your child. She’s your mate. She’s your partner. She’s your sister in Christ, and she must be your number one disciple. She is your primary ministry. You invest in her spiritual growth. You want the will of God to be accomplished in that marriage—not your desires, not your hopes, not your dreams, not what you want—but you want what God wants for that marriage.
You don’t want to beat her up with the Bible, but you want to position her to grow in her walk and relationship with the Savior. Gentlemen, you are the priests of your family. You’re the senior pastor in your home. Your wife may have been a believer longer than you; but step up to the plate, guys.
Don’t always have her reading the Scripture. You read the Scripture. You pray with her every day. You take the initiative to let her see God’s activity in your heart and life and that your ultimate desire is—not for her to do what you want done—but for her to be all that God wants to do. You stand up, you step up, and you show up. You keep moving.
Bob: Well, again, today we’ve been listening to Dr. Crawford Loritts and his wife, Karen, challenging husbands and wives to be in the game, be intentional, [and] be purposeful. That’s a big part of the message that couples need to hear today.
Dennis: It is. It’s like a dance. You have to have one who knows how to properly lead and love—that’s the husband’s responsibility—and a wife who knows how to lean in to the husband as he does lead her. Bob, I don’t know of any of us—no matter whether you’ve been married one year or four decades—that doesn’t need a marital tune-up from time to time and be challenged to really consider how to do it more effectively—and to love your wife more wholeheartedly.
Bob: And of course, one of the things that I love about Crawford and Karen Loritts is that they believe that what we need in our marriage, more than anything else, is to understand God’s Word, and to have a relationship with Christ that directs our lives. What folks are going to hear from Crawford and Karen—if our listeners can come and be with us at “I Still Do” in Chicago, on August 2nd; in Portland, on August 23rd; and in Washington, DC, on October 4th—they’re going to hear—not some tips and tricks on how to have a happier marriage—
—they’re going to hear some solid, biblical hope and help for their marriage.
Dennis: And they’re going to hear from a couple who are modeling it because they’ve done it for over four decades. Crawford and Karen are arguably one of the key voices for marriage and family in our country today. We need to be giving them a platform so they can speak into all of our lives.
Bob, I just think this is going to be a great day for every couple. I don’t care if you just got married or if you’ve been married a long time. It’s a great way for you to strengthen your own marriage, have a whole lot of fun, while at the same time standing up and saying: “You know what? By coming to this event, we say we are voting for God’s design for marriage.”
Bob: Along with Crawford and Karen Loritts, we’re going to be hearing from Dr. Al Mohler, the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
David Nasser is going to be joining us. You and Barbara are going to be speaking. We have Ron Deal coming to talk about blended families. Shaunti Feldhahn is going to be with us—Andrew Peterson—doing a lunchtime concert. It’s going to be a great day.
Tickets are now on sale. I should mention, here, that there are special rates for groups because a lot of folks are going to be coming with church groups. A lot of people are going to be bringing busloads of people from 50 miles / 100 miles away—coming in for this one-day event in Chicago, in Portland, and in Washington, DC. There are special group rates, and there is also reserved seating available. So, if you want the best seats, now is the best time to sign up and be right up-front for “I Still Do”when it comes to Chicago, August 2nd, at the Allstate Arena; when it comes to Portland, on Saturday, August 23rd, at the Moda Center; when it comes to Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 4th.
Tickets are on sale at IStillDo.com. All the information you need is available there—IStillDo.com. If you have any questions, call 1-800-FL-TODAY; but let me encourage you to go to the website because we also have wedding pictures of Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Crawford and Karen Loritts. We’re asking listeners to put wedding pictures up there, as well. We’d love to have you scan in your wedding pictures and put them up there.
Go to IStillDo.com for more information about our upcoming events: Saturday, August 2nd, in Chicago; Saturday, August 23rd, at the Moda Center in Portland; Saturday, October 4th, at the Verizon Arena in downtown Washington, DC, for “I Still Do.”
Now, let me quickly say, “Thank you,” to the listeners to FamilyLife Today,who go above and beyond, as listeners. We have a special group of people—some of you listen regularly and, each month, you send a donation in to help support this ministry—help make things like “I Still Do”possible—help make this daily radio program possible.
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And we hope you can join us back tomorrow when we’re going to hear from
Dr. Al Mohler about why it’s so important for us to be passing on a legacy of spiritual vitality to the next generation. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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