I want to ask you a question. How many of you men have an ideal wife? Raise your hand. Look at that. Isn't that awesome. How many of you have a perfect marriage? A lot less hands. So if your marriage is not ideal and your wife is ideal then who's problem is it? Who's at fault here.
A home heating system is love. That's what heats your home up, is love. Real genuine love. I could ask how many of you love your wife. Well you would all raise your hand again, but there are tricks to a good marriage. There are secrets and a good furnace does not burn the house down. It just keeps it warm. I have been in some homes where it was really hot. They were arguing. In fact I went to visit a home one time and I stood outside the door and I could hear yelling and screaming. It wasn't the cats. It was the husband and the wife. They were just going at it. I thought, I'm just trying to make the pastoral call here, so I knocked on the door and everything got peaceful and quiet. They came to the door. Hello, (sweetly) come in. You know, sometimes we treat strangers better than we treat ourselves. Arguments are hot words of strife and they soon ignite a big fire, and it gets out of control. You get a lot of problems out of an argument. The heat produced by rubbing two different ideas together is an argument. That's what it is. In fact an argument is a collision in which two trains of thought are derailed. The secret of a good marriage is love. You unselfishly love your spouse, and you unselfishly experience the love of Jesus. That combination, you've got an ideal marriage. That's what an ideal marriage is.
John 15 has the words of Jesus. He has to command us to do this which tells me that this is not natural to love each other, otherwise He wouldn't have to command it. John 15:12 says this is my command that you love one another as I have loved you. Of course He loved us so much that He died on the cross for us so that's fantastic.
I am standing up here preaching a sermon on marriage and how to have an ideal home. What qualifies me to do that? The only thing that qualifies me to do that is I've been married 45 years so I know a little bit about marriage. I'm not like a single person telling you guys how to have a good marriage. Number two, most of the mistakes I'm going to be mentioning here, I have already made so I do have experience, so I want you to know that.
There were two little four-year old boys. They were out there talking on the front steps and one little boy said where is your daddy? I never see your daddy. The other little boy said well my daddy doesn't live here. He just sleeps here. To me that is not a home. That's a house. A home is where you live. A home is where you grow. A home is where you share your love.
I would like to give some advice. I have some advice for men and I have some advice for ladies. And of course we'll start with the ladies. We should do that.
Number one. Make your home peaceful, you ladies. Make it a peaceful place. Proverbs 17:1 says it is better to have a dry crust with peace and quiet than to have a house full of feasting with strife. It's better to have an old heel of a piece of bread than it is to live where there isn't peace. So you ladies, don't nag. Just smile. I was giving counseling to a couple one time and I thought you know, they would have a happy home, I think, if she would just get some duct tape and put it over her mouth and paint a picture of a smile on. Beautiful woman. Just not good. Smile. Hum. Make your words uplifting. Focus on the positive. Be cheerful around your family. Be a joy to live with.
Number two. Peaise your husband. You may say well I don't have anything to praise him about. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Ephesians 4:29 says when you talk do not say harmful things. Don't. But say what he needs. Words that will help him become stronger. You ladies can help your husband to become what he ought to become by how you speak and how you act, so praise him. Thank him for the good things that he does. Admire him. Respect the value, the good that you see. Brag on him in public and then he'll have to keep doing those things. Thank him for the nice things that he does. Maybe 80 to 90% of the things that he does are lousy, but praise him for the good things that he does.
Number three. Don't control him. He doesn't want to be controlled anymore than you want to be controlled. Don't try to control your husband. You can't control him any way. You can only change one person, so concentrate on the person you can change and that is you. Concentrate on changing yourself. Become what you want him to be. Work on your character and if you try to rule him, actually what will happen, you will ruin him. And you will ruin your marriage. I know of a wife, not mine, who thought that it was her job to control her husband and so she ruled the amount of money that he could spend. The amount of money that he had and what he was allowed to spend it on. She controlled his television. You watch to many sports. I'm turning this off. She checked up on his schedule. He was right there underneath her thumb the whole time. We all want to be a little bit free. Nobody likes to be a slave. I felt sorry for that poor man. We don't want to do that. We want to give each other freedom.
Number four. Forgive him when he does wrong. Forgive your husband, and he is going to do wrong. He's a human being and we human beings are not always going to behave properly. Keep in mind that you're not perfect either. Even though your husband thinks you're ideal. You're not perfect so give up your desire for a perfect marriage. You'll probably never have it, but concentrate and focus on a growing marriage. Grow your marriage. You can do that. One step at a time. It takes a wise and patient wife to bring out the best in her husband, and God will help you to do that.
Number five. Finally, the last one. Do things together. Try not to live as two cell mates in a dormitory, one of you in one end of the dorm and one in the other. Blend your lives together, sharing spiritual joys, fun activities. Pray together, worship together, sit there with your arm around each other. God never intended us to live as aliens. To live alone. Genesis 2:18. God said that is not good for the man to be alone. I don't really think it's good for a woman to be alone either. We need companionship. Praise the Lord for that.
I don't think that we have to all be married. I think that some people could be single but they say that celibacy does have some limited pleasures. I don't know. I think we need friends. We need each other. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 I found this. Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion but woe to him who is alone when he falls. That's tough. Hard.
Science confirms this truth. Did you know that Americans who live alone die at a much higher rate. Divorced men in the under 65 age group have a considerably higher mortality rate than married men of the same age. The death rate is twice as high. For lung cancer. For stroke. 300% higher for high blood pressure. Social relationships apparently lengthen the life that you can have. They lengthen the joy that you can have. Come over to Titus 2:4 & 5. This is sort of like for women. Learn to love your own husbands. Love your children. Be self-controlled. Be pure. Be busy at home. Be kindhearted. Be willing to adapt to your own husband. Be a good advertisement for the Christian faith. That's kind of cool. Good advice for women.
Now let's go to advice for husbands. Now you husbands can start taking notes. The first thing I want to say before I start listing the five things that I have for you men is that wives are very complicated. I'm not sure I completely understand how to give you the best advice. In fact if you read First Peter 3 you can understand why I can't understand. It takes a lot of understanding to be a good husband so listen to First Peter 3:7. In the same way you husbands must give honor to your wives and treat her with understanding. You've got to work hard to understand her is what the Bible is trying to say as you live together. She may be weaker than you are but she is your equal partner. She's your equal. I think too many men think that the wife is not equal. She doesn't get paid as much as I do. I will tell you that a lot of women now are getting paid more than a lot of men. She's your equal partner and God's gift of the new life. If you do not treat her as you should your prayers will not be heard, the Bible says. The New King James says dwell with them with understanding. You've got to understand your wives. They're very complicated. Some men have the idea that when God created Adam that God was walking through the Garden of Eden and he noticed all the socks all over the place so he created woman to get the socks gathered back up. I know that you men don't leave your socks laying around. Actually a good wife is not a sock or dirty laundry gatherer. She is a gatherer of the joys that you bring to her heart. Make sure that you have a good relationship with your wife. You men have a fine but complicated treasure in your wife so pray for a lot of understanding. Here's my advice in five points.
Number one. Love your life. Ephesians 5:25 tells us that. It says husbands love your wives. Why do we have to be told to do this? Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her and then verse 28. Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies because he who loves his wife loves himself. Love your wife. Not just on Valentine's Day. Not just on her birthday or anniversary. Love your wives.
Number two. Remember that little things are big thing. Just don't forget that. It may be little to you but it's a jumbo giant to her. How can you figure out what the little things are that are big to her? Well just think about yesterday. If you did something very small and very insignificant, and it upset her to the point of a monstrous volcanic explosion, it wasn't a little thing. It was one of those big things that you didn't even know was a big thing. So get out your little book and write it down in there. That's a big thing. Don't do that again. It was a big thing. Never forget that one. This could be a birthday. It could be the socks laying all over the place. It could be anything. An anniversary. Not noticing something. Pay attention. Pay attention to her feelings.
Number three. Listen to your wife. Listen. James 1:19. My dear brothers. This is not addressed to women. My dear brothers, it says. This is men, take note of this, the Bible says. Everyone should be quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to become angry. Brothers. That's men. That's husbands. Must be good listeners and we aren't. We're not. That's why the Bible singles us out here. Man operate on facts. You say it is 74° in this bedroom and therefore the window should be wide open tonight. Or you think it's going to be frosty in the morning. The window should not be open tonight and so you get into an argument. Wives operate on a combination of facts and feelings. Men operate on facts. She wants to talk about the window but the window is not really what she wants to talk about. She wants to talk about how she feels about your controlling of her by the window. So listen to what she says even though it's now past time for you to be asleep. Stay awake, because if you shut your eyes at that moment you are turning your back on your wife. If you go to sleep while she is talking to you, it's not a little thing. It's a big thing. Get out your book. Write that one down. That's important. Listen to what she is saying. Not to the facts but to the feelings that she is trying to express to you. Try to understand how she feels about the situation, what you are doing. Listen.
Number four. Never criticize your wife. You know why? Because if you do she will never forget it. She will never forget what you said. Remember, you told me that I was… Proverbs 13:13 he who guards his lips guards his life but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. So guard your words. You husbands should stop putting down your wife. I've heard too many men say, well you want to talk with my wife. Well the old battle ax, she's here. Let me go get her. The war Department. Don't do that. Don't ever, ever put down your wife. Don't belittle your wife. It will destroy her, especially if it's done on a regular basis. Don't do that. What you want to do is praise the positive. Accentuate the good. Take note of it. Say, you know I really like the way that you did that.
One of my grandkids did something the other day that I've been waiting for them to do a long time. It was something good and it finally happened. And I said you no I really appreciate that. That is so cool. Keep your mouth shut on the negative. Accentuate the positive. Proverbs 16:24. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb making people happy and healthy. Pleasant words. If you can't say a pleasant word, be quiet, and if it's very quiet in your home, then you might have a problem.
I told you to not criticize, but I will tell you number five. Communicate. Talk. Malachi 3:16. It says then those who feared the Lord talked with each other. If you're a Christian you ought to talk with your wife. Talk. Communicate. My dear wife and I have a special place where we talk. We love our back porch. We sit there and we can't see any other houses from that point. We just see trees and nature and a garden out there growing and we sit there and just talk. It's so neat. Sometimes we'll be there for an hour just communicating. It is so wonderful. I love it. She'll say can we go to the back porch. Yes! I really love that. Talk with each other and say things from your heart. I've noticed that in life there are two kinds of people who don't say much. Those who are quiet and those who talk a lot. Talking is not like you listening to television and you're the listener and the other one is the talker. Communication is where you're interchanging ideas.
A mature looking lady had an appointment with a marriage counselor. She said I'd like to divorce my husband. The counselor said well do you have any grounds? She said well we've got almost an acre. The puzzled counselor said you don't understand. I want to know, do you and your husband have a grudge. She said we actually have a carport. We would like to have a garage. The counselor shook his head and said ma'am, why do you want to divorce your husband? She said, we can't communicate. My husband can't carry on an intelligent conversation.
Communicate. Communicate with each other. Go to the back porch. Get in the hot tub. Do something together. Talk. If you have to, turn off the World Series. If it's that serious. She says you're always in there watching baseball. You care more about the Giants than you do me. Go to the back porch. Sit down. Look at each other. Focus on each other. Be honest with each other, and bit by bit, lovers who are friends can open themselves up and not hide anything from each other. It's special. It is so special.
Jesus said in John 15:15. I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. Everything that Jesus got from His Father He made known to His disciples. He talked to them. He shared everything with them. Good husbands and good wives can share everything. So open your hearts to each other. You don't want deadly silence between the two of you. Just share your life together and get down to the feeling level of how you feel about things. Enjoy pillow talk before going to sleep.
I want you guys to have a great marriage. I want you to have happiness, and that's what Jesus wants for all of us, is to have a happy home. Happy homes are achievable. That's the ideal. That's what we strive for and you can achieve that. You really can't. So don't give up. Don't quit. Jesus specializes in resurrections. You may say well my marriage is dead. He can resurrect it. So try. Try hard. If you do have a marriage please do your best and if both of you will work hard, you can achieve happiness. May God bless us as we live our lives together and may He be in our homes now and always.
Hymn of Praise: #20, O Praise Ye the Lord Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-25 Hymn of Response: #655, Happy the Home Sermon Notes: Sermon notes available as PDF
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 11/30/10