Message Follow Up | Part 3: Who Changed the Rules of Marriage/Divorce?

By Matt Dawson

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series.  This past weekend we discussed the ideals for Marriage that God gives us – interlaced with some instruction to the husband and to the wife about what that looks like.

But the primary verse is still at the beginning:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

Not only is this a “different way” to understand our roles in our relationships, but it is completely counter cultural.  The RULES Systems set up for marriage are all driven by the outcomes of what we get out of it.  If the sex is good (and often) and the home is peaceful, and the wife doesn’t nag too much, and the husband finds ways to keep things romantic – we’ve got a GOOD marriage.

But then . . . the romance stops.

The nagging increases, the home is chaotic, and the sex . . . ”what sex?”  The marriage is BAD.  We’re ON THE ROCKS . . . things at home are NOT GOOD.  We lose our happiness and that is just NOT what God wants for us.  Maybe… just maybe – I didn’t marry the “right one.”

Paul says to us . . . God’s ideal – submit to one another out of reverse for Christ.  This is a Godly Submission, not a door mat kind of “whatever you say” submission.  It’s a thoughtful, intentional, strength-filled choice to submit to one another.

Here are the words that will CHANGE EVERYTHING in your marriage.

Ready?  Here you go:

“You first.”

That’s it.  It’s just 2 words.  The simplest of phrases, but behind those words is amazing power to take your marriage from being focused on the outcomes of what you get out of it – to the fullness of life God intended for you to enjoy with your spouse.

When working as it should be, it’s almost a game.  Where one is pouring out their love and says “you first sweetie” and the other out of respect and choice saying back “no, you first honey.”  Let’s do what you want to do today.  Let’s take the time now to do that thing that’s been on your list.  Let’s go watch that together tonight, I know you want to see it.

In our communication, in our finances, in our hobbies and down time, in the bedroom – there is NOTHING more powerful than GODLY MUTUAL SUBMISSION by saying these simple words.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Well, I might say that to him… But HE’S NEVER GOING TO SAY THAT TO ME – so why should I?”  I understand, it’s completely counter cultural to think that to get the marriage outcomes we want, it starts FIRST by sacrificing what we want for the sake of our spouse.  However, that’s the way God made us.

Nothing motivates me more to want to love and express that love to my wife, then when she says to me in all the areas in our lives “you first sweetie.”  It makes me want to give her everything she wants.  It is the deepest expression of respect she can offer, and in turn something within me wants to LOVE HER MORE and find MORE WAYS to show it!

I’m not saying that when we are not walking closely with Christ, that we won’t take advantage of our spouse when they say “you first” to us.  Sure, it happens . . . it happens to all of us.  But that is not an excuse to not continue to put into practice Godly Submission.  Nothing will move a man or woman’s heart more than to hear those words repeatedly . . . YOU FIRST.

That’s your challenge for the week.  Take as many opportunities as you have, create as many opportunities as you can, and get into the habit of repeating these 2 words to your spouse THIS WEEK.

“You First.”

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