Fit For Marriage
Step 2B of getting “Fit For Marriage”


The Key to Everything

C. Russell Yates, Director

In Ephesians chapter 5, a man is instructed to love his wife, and a woman is told to submit to her husband. How are we to receive this? Is “love-and-submit” merely a suggestion or an idea given for the purpose of marital adornment?

No, love-and-submit was established by the Lord for the sake of family unity.

It is the key to relationship—it is The Key to Everything.

A hierarchy is offensive to most people. But the idea is the Lord's, and the wise man does not try to improve on God. Divine Order is spelled out as follows:

But I would have you know,
that the head of every man is Christ; and
the head of the woman is the man; and
the head of Christ is God.1 Corinthians 11:3, emphasis added

The Episcopal Prayer Book published in 1934 contains a wedding service that reflects the above authority structure. The man would pledge to love his wife, and the woman would agree to obey her husband. Unfortunately that distinction has been lost. The revised Episcopal Prayer Book, published in 1969, dropped the word “obey” from the wedding vows spoken by the woman.

Since 1934 there has been a significant loss in marital understanding among Christians. Changing the Marriage Service in 1969 merely documented and “legitimized” that loss in understanding. As in Martin Luther's day a great truth has been overlooked to the point of oblivion. The Lord has given me two passages in Genesis, one in Proverbs, and one in Ephesians.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.Genesis 1:27, emphasis added

If man is created in the image of God—and he is; if man appears as both male and female—and he does; if men and women are different—and they are; then we must draw a most significant conclusion: It takes both male and female to reflect a complete image of God. But the world is full of males and females, and we still don't see an accurate image of God. The next passage offers some insight.

There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.Proverbs 30:18-19

These three—the way of the eagle, the serpent, and the ship are too wonderful, but the fourth I know not. The way of a man with a woman is beyond understanding because it is rooted in the very nature of God. That's why Paul, in Ephesians 5:32, calls marriage a great mystery. Now back to Genesis:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.Genesis 2:24

Here's the Lord's grand design and purpose. The man and the woman are to come together spiritually and physically so the two of them become one. This happens under precise and limited interactive conditions:

  1. The man accepts the biblical standard—he is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church;
  2. The woman accepts the biblical requirement—she is to submit to her husband as the church obeys its Lord; and
  3. They have physical relations. When these three requirements have been met—even if he doesn't love perfectly or she doesn't submit exactly—the two of them become one, and they reflect an accurate and complete image of God himself. Whenever he loves, she submits, and they have relations, it happens. They become one, and then reflect the image of God.

A good marriage happens every time two people deliberately—or even accidentally—choose to marry and live together according to the Order God established at Creation. As I said, the way of a man with a woman is rooted in the very nature of God himself, but the fullness of the expression requires the obedience of both the man and the woman.

So what are the implications? If this were the norm in Christian marriage, the church could preach the Gospel in truth and with power. The sinner could merely look at the biblically married couple, and he would see God. The words of this couple would then testify to the reality of their personal miracle. The testimony of a local assembly so married would be irresistible.

But alas, biblical marriage is the exception, rather than the practice, and for that reason the church is impotent. Despite our superior privilege, the 21st Century Church is no better prepared for the Second Coming of Christ than the Israelites were prepared for His First Coming—our marriages and our children prove it.

If we'll take the necessary steps to begin reflecting the image of God in our marriages, four things will happen:

  1. We'll get our families in order,
  2. We'll start to preach the Gospel,
  3. We'll begin to exert a positive, beneficial, and corrective influence on the society around us, and
  4. We'll be ready for the Second Coming.

As an act of worship we should restore obey, submit, or surrender to the wedding vows. Then we should take those vows seriously. It's the key to marital success—it's the key to rearing wholesome children—it's the key to an eternal relationship with our Creator—it's The Key to Everything.

If you are following the 4 four steps to enrollment, click on Enrollment; which is Step 3 of getting “Fit For Marriage.

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To participate in the Fit For Marriage program will take some time. But it will change your life—you'll never be the same again!