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“In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” — Ephesians 5:28 (NET)
“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” — Colossians 3:19 (ESV)
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE AND HIS WIFE KAREN, the U.S. Second Lady, have modeled grace and Christian faith while serving their country at the highest levels of political power.
As a man who lives his life by biblical values, including the value of loving and honoring his wife, the Vice President does not meet with women without his wife being present.
That practice, called “the Billy Graham rule,” is followed by other Christian men. The Christian pastor and author Max Lucado often references that rule for his own life.
The famed evangelist, Rev. Franklin Graham, has encouraged the faithful to pray for our leaders and that the Lord will raise up Bible-believing Christians to serve at all levels of government, from the White House to the most local water district and school board. We also are called to pray for their staff aides to be faithful to the Lord’s teaching.
By all human measures, the Pence family serves as a national reminder of what that call looks like. As believers, we can be very proud of their service.
BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH, we should not be surprised that the Pence family comes under attack, both for serving the Lord and for serving each other in honoring their marriage. (We’ll look at the attacks against them for serving the Lord in another post; this post focuses on their Christian marriage.)
Today, between one-third and one-half of all new marriages will end in divorce, depending on the information source one finds, and those figures do not include the couples whose marriages remain legally binding while the spirit of love and cooperation has diminished.
One law-based source placed the average age of divorce as between 25 and 34, with the majority of divorces occurring within the first seven years of marriage.
Here’s what one former Pence staff aide, a woman, said of working with Pence when he was a congressman: “This is by no means a partisan issue. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent or couldn’t care less, if you choose to prioritize your marriage and esteem your family while faithfully carrying out public service, you should be praised.”
THE BIBLE, GOD’S HOLY WORD, is very clear about marriage and the man’s role in this institution: men are to love and honor their wives. (Ephesians 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7)
Yes, the Bible also says women are to honor and respect their husbands and submit to their authority but only as their husbands obey God’s command to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1).
That means the husbands are supposed to follow Jesus Christ, and then they can lead their wives spiritually. When husbands do that, their wives can submit to them, as to the Lord.
The key is that husbands go first, then their wives can respond in safety and flourish as women, protected and honored.
GOD WANTS MEN to love their wives. That message permeates the Bible from the moment God created woman and presented her to Adam to be a “suitable helper” (or ezer kenegdo) through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles in the New Testament.
The Bible says, “Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her” — Genesis 24:67 (NASB).
Evangelist Billy Graham said in his article on marriage and the home:
“I do not see how your home can be truly and deeply happy unless Christ is the center of your home. If you are having difficulties and irritations and problems in your home, bring them to Christ.” (Billy Graham, “A Christ-Centered Home,” Decision, Sept. 2018, pp. 34-37).
The apostle Peter, in reminding us that men are to live with their wives “in an understanding way, showing honor” emphasizes that husbands must treat their wives as *spiritual equals* while recognizing they are *physically and emotionally vulnerable* “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 ESV, emph mine)
“So that your prayers may not be hindered.” Those are God’s words spoken through the apostle Peter and addressed to every married man. God holds husbands to account for the way they treat their wives. He promises He will not hear their prayers if they mistreat their wives.
GOD HAS PLACED A GREAT BURDEN on husbands to be the spiritual leaders, providers, and protectors of their families. He also has given husbands the strength and guidance of Jesus Christ to help them shoulder that load.
Those men who try to manage without the leadership and encouragement that only God’s Holy Spirit can provide are bound to fail. Even those who routinely call on the Lord will struggle. We are human, and this life is pre-glory.
When we see elevated to high status a God-fearing man and woman who are committed to serving the Lord first, then each other second, and then to attend to their families, friends, and the wider community third, we ought to thank God for His grace and mercy and show our respect for the couple.
We are not to worship the couple nor place them on a pedestal — that is idolatry, but we are to respect them and thank God for them.
As a result, we can see them as models for our lives. As the apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (GW):
“Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”
Our Heavenly Father, You have been so graciously good to us, creating us, loving us, and calling us as Your own, even sending Your Son to pay our sin debt. Lord, in my role as a husband, would You help me love and honor my wife, whom You gave me, knowing that she is equal spiritually in Your eyes, Father, but emotionally and physically vulnerable, needing my loving protection. Lord, help me lead her spiritually, as I submit my will to the leadership of Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord! In His name. AMEN
Questions for Personal Meditation and Small Group Discussion:
- Can you see that God has created man and woman to be spiritual equals but gifted them differently so they would complement one another in marriage, becoming one flesh? Can you see that God has assigned men to lead their wives and families spiritually, as well as protect them and provide for them?
- How seriously do you take God’s statement through Peter that He will not listen to an unfaithful husband’s prayers? Can you see that if God is not listening to your prayers (or your husband’s prayers), the fault lies with the husband’s lack of faithfulness, both to his wife and to the Lord?
- Can you see the great importance God places on godly, biblically sound marriage that He would raise up a Christian husband and wife to global significance? Can you see the devil’s attempts to discredit God’s perfect design through personal attacks against the Vice President and Second Lady?
Would you like us at LoveAndGrace to pray for you? If so, please indicate in the Comment field. God bless!