There are some foundational "rules" concerning marriage. Unfortunately, in our "modern" times many people want strong lasting relationships but want to rewrite the rules. So I've decided to list some fundamental truths a.k.a rules of a healthy kingdom marriage.
Rule #1 Understand that from the very beginning, prior to the entrance of sin, God made male AND female in HIS likeness and image and gave them both dominion over everything in the Earth except each other. So both people in the union are representations of our God. Gen. 1:26-28 (AMP) “God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let THEM have complete authority [dominion] over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man [mankind] in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them and said to them , Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.
Rule #2 Understand that after Christ's redemptive work on the cross God restored ALL believers to a place of Adam and Eve (pre-sin state). Gal. 3:28 (AMP) “There is [ now no distinction in regard to salvation ] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [ no one can claim a spiritual superiority ]. In the home the husband is the head/ authority.
Rule# 3 Understand that as believers and leaders we yield to God in ALL things and then to one another in fear and reverence to God. Eph. 3:21 (AMP) “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”
Rule# 4 Understand that as believers seeking to be like Christ, our greatest example, we must listen to His instruction and seek to be imitators of it. Mark 10:43b-45 (AMP) “...whoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, And whoever wishes to be most important and first in rank among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to have service rendered to Him, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Rule# 5 Understand that as believers we have 2 chief instructions that should govern our lives (words and actions). Christ's instruction. Matt. 22:37b-40 (AMP) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor [all others] as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Seek to “out do” each other in love and service to the union.
Rule# 6 Understand that as believers we should be continually reminded of God's grace and mercy extended to us and therefore we should generously extend it to others. Titus 3:1-9* (AMP) “Remind people to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work, To slander or abuse or speak evil of NO ONE (including spouses), to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified [unearned] courtesy toward everybody. For we also were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate and disobedient, deluded and misled; [we too were once] slaves to all sorts of cravings and pleasures, wasting our days in malice and jealousy and envy, hateful (hated, detestable) and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior to man [as man] appeared, He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Which He poured out [so] richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. [And He did it in order] that we might be justified by His grace (by His favor, wholly undeserved), [that we might be acknowledged and counted as conformed to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action], and that we might become heirs of eternal life according to [our] hope. This message is most trustworthy, and concerning these things I want you to insist steadfastly, so that those who have believed in (trusted in, relied on) God may be careful to apply themselves to honorable occupations and to doing good, for such things are [not only] excellent and right [in themselves], but [they are] good and profitable for the people. But avoid stupid and foolish controversies and genealogies and dissensions and wrangling about the Law, for they are unprofitable and futile.” Do these things and work it (whatever it is) out, and it (your marriage) will always work (remain intact). Rule# 7 Understand that most importantly LOVE should govern our lives. God IS love and we are made in HIS likeness and image so we should be manifesting love to all those who encounter our lives. 1Cor. 13:1-8 (AMP) “If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory , but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].”
All of the above may seem very general but if we do these 7 basic rules we position ourselves to flow from the heart of our Father, the lover of our souls. This is our greatest example! We must remember that, as a couple, you are both in the family of God, but most importantly you are on the same team. So work together, fight for each other and not with each other. When you do fight, repent quickly one to another not counting the wrong you may feel has been done against you, cover one another's sin [shortcomings/ failures] with love (1Peter 4:8; Prov. 10:12). As you strive for greatness, seek to “out serve / out do” each other’s gestures of kindness and love (the greatest is servant of all).
There are some specific gender roles contained in the scriptures. Study them and work as a team to be the best at your role. It is to the team’s advantage that you hone in on the strengths of each other and use them to have a happy healthy home and marriage. If a woman enjoys working in the yard it should not be mandated that the husband cut the grass. If a man enjoys cooking he should not be condemned from the kitchen. Do what is pleasing and brings joy and contentment to one another. Now for the gender specific scriptures:
1 Corinthians 11:3 (AMP) “But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head (ranking authority) of a woman is her husband , and the Head of Christ is God [Father].
Genesis 2:18 (AMP) “Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper ( wife : suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
Colossians 3:18-19 (AMP) “ Wives, be subject to your husbands [subordinate and adapt yourselves to them], as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them .
1Peter 3:1-9 (AMP) “In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion (or fussing) but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]. Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God. For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them]. It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you] . In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor and power) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.] Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble). Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God—that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].
Ephesians 5:21-31 (AMP) “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Wives, be subject ( be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord . For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her , So that He might sanctify her , having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies . He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it , as Christ does the church, Because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
1Corinthians 7:3-5 (AMP) “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, sexual pleasure, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights]. Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations (sex), lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.
Titus 2:2-6 (AMP) “Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible, self-controlled, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ]. Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). In a similar way, urge the younger men to be self-restrained and to behave prudently [taking life seriously]. Last but not least:
Proverbs 31:12 (AMP) “She comforts, encourages, and does him (her husband) only good as long as there is life within her.”
If you are a Christian believer then the word of God is your guide, the final authority in your life, NOT your opinions or secular standards. With the help of the Lord marriage can be a beautiful enjoyable institution with both husband and wife reaping the benefits of the God ordained union.