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Marriage – Wisdom for Faithfulness
Proverbs – Week 3
I had the privilege of teaching through some of the themes in Proverbs this summer. Over a course of seven weeks, I will summarize what I learned and post it here on Life Letter Cafe. For additional posts, check out my Life Letter Cafe author page. In true Proverbs fashion, I want to keep each of these points short, punchy, and powerful. If you hang with me for the entire seven weeks, you will notice that each of these posts are alliterative, and they employ an inclusio (opening phrase repeated at the end). These are just two of the many literary devices that Proverbs utilizes to make its wisdom memorable. This week’s truth? Wisdom for faithfulness in marriage.
The Truth in Proverbs for Marriage:
The bulk of the wisdom that Proverbs provides for marriages centers around faithfulness. We are to recognize marriage as a good gift, a supreme blessing, and a beautiful mystery (Proverbs 18:22; 30:18-19, 21-23; and 31). As such, we are to do our best to get along with and love one another (Proverbs 15:17, 19:13, 21:9, 21:19, 25:24, 27:15-16). If you can accomplish these two things, you will have a fulfilling and Christ-honoring marriage. But, if you have been married for any length of time, you know that these two things are not nearly as easy as they sound. Practicing them leads to faithfulness, and faithfulness entails that the “marriage be held in honor” and “the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). In addition to getting along with and loving your spouse, Proverbs provides the following practical takeaways to help with the practice of faithfulness:
- For men – don’t seek sexual fulfillment outside of marriage (Proverbs 5:15-22)
- For women – develop trust with your husbands (Proverbs 31:11)
Once faithfulness is lost, it is extremely hard (if not impossible) to regain. Thus this should be the supreme focus in our marriages. Faithfulness in both the small things and the big.
Finding Christ in Proverbs
Faithfulness is tricky, because it can be lost over many months and years of baby steps towards compromise, or in one night of foolishness. Christ alone demonstrated perfect faithfulness to His heavenly father, and therefore can provide insight for faithfulness in every other area of life. And He does not sugarcoat the difficulty of faithfulness in marriage. It is actually so difficult that His disciples suggest that, if that is the standard for marriage, it is better not to marry (Matthew 19:3-10). Jesus’ response? “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given . . . let the one who is able to receive this, receive it” (Matthew 19:11-12).
How is your marriage? Are you in love with one another and living in peace, or have you drifted into just being roommates?
How can you focus on increasing faithfulness in your marriage?
Has faithfulness eroded? There is hope in Christ who makes all things new and can redeem the faithfulness!
For a more thorough treatment of these issues, please see chapters 4-7 of my book The Relational God:
A more detailed investigation and outline of each of these themes in Proverbs can be found on my blog:
For additional posts, check out my Life Letter Cafe author page.