Dig deeper into the message during the sermon, in your personal Bible study, or with your family or Community Group in application-driven discussion.
In Genesis 2:24-25 we learn of our second promise, the Promise of Pursuit. Here, God is saying that husbands are not only to make their wives their top priority, but they are to consciously pursue them. In fact, both husbands and wives are to do all that they can do to maintain a close, intimate, one-flesh relationship with one another. Every strong marriage has three components: commitment, friendship, and romance. It is a covenant commitment that provides security, as well as the motivation to work things out. But strong marriages tend to have two other relational dimensions: friendship and romance. Almost every marriage begins with these components, but if they’re not constantly cultivated, they can begin to wither and die. What does it look like to pursue one’s wife or husband?
Husbands: 1. Pursue your wife with your conversation. One of the most important ways your wife feels connected with you on a daily basis is through conversation. If you don’t pursue conversation with one another, you will become strangers. And that is not God’s plan for marriage. 2. Pursue your wife with your thoughtfulness. For example: Take care of the kids in the evenings. It will give her a needed break, and will help you connect with your children. Do a household chore that she would typically do. 3. Pursue your wife with your affection. Tell her you love her often. Hold her hand in public. Be gentle and tender with her. 4. Pursue your wife with your protection. Defend her before others. Demand that your children honor and obey her.
Wives: 1. Pursue your husband with your admiration. There is something about the male ego, the way that men are wired, that makes them long to be respected and admired—especially by their wives. When you convey to your husband that you don’t respect him, he dies inside. 2. Pursue your husband with your reassurance. The truth is your husband is not always as confident on the inside as he might convey on the outside. He needs you to believe in him. God has designed women to help their husbands become all that they can be. It is amazing what a man can accomplish with the reassurance and help of a supportive wife. 3. Pursue your husband with your help. In fact, this is one of your most important roles as a wife. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” So ladies, as a wife, you are to come alongside your husband to help him in whatever way you can. It is your most important role as a married woman. It is more important than what you do in the community. It is more important than what you do at church. 4. Pursue your husband with your passion. This is a powerful and important area of our lives. Marriage is the one legitimate place where our God-given sexual needs can be met. And when we withhold this area from our spouses, we are inviting trouble into our marriage.
First of all, rejection by our mate in this area strikes at the very core of our being. It is devastating. Second, when our physical needs aren’t met in our marriages, we become much more vulnerable to the temptation of having an affair. This doesn’t in any way justify having an affair—but it does make it more likely. We become more tempt-able (see 1 Corinthians 7:4-5). The truth is, when you get married, you assume some God-given responsibilities and obligations to one another. You no longer have sole authority over your body. That is what the Bible teaches, and it reflects great wisdom.
Having a great marriage is really not all that complicated. Determine to follow God’s blueprint for marriage. Affirm and live out the promises we talk about in this series. Even if your spouse won’t, you can determine to be obedient to what God calls you to do. That may just be the leverage God uses to change your spouse’s heart.
Won’t you determine to live out the Promise of Pursuit this week?
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- On a date this week, ask your spouse: “Of the ways Doug said we can pursue each other, which one would be most meaningful or helpful to you?”
- Ladies—pursue your husband with admiration, reassurance, help and passion.
- Men—pursue your wife with conversation, thoughtfulness, affection and protection.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)