What Spouses Should Expect – Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

grace God devil Son
What Spouses Should Expect

[The union of husband and wife] is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:32

Counselors sometimes suggest that a sure way to avoid disappointment is to avoid expectations. Married couples are sometimes told if they expect nothing from a spouse, they will not be disappointed if they receive nothing.

Often, we confuse expectations with rights, especially in marriage—“It is my right to be loved and understood by my spouse.” Demanding rights can be problematic. But are expectations in marriage wrong? When we follow Paul’s lead, comparing marriage to Christ and His Church, it would seem not (Ephesians 5:22-33). Do we as the Bride of Christ have expectations of Christ? Yes, and He is always faithful. Does Christ have expectations of us, His Bride—expectations of love, loyalty, obedience, service, and more? Yes. And while we sometimes disappoint Him, expectations remain.

Spouses can have expectations of one another to parallel those of Christ and His Church with this addition: being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another as Christ is toward us (Ephesians 4:32).

A Single Thought: Married or single, we should expect kindness and consideration from one another as the Bride of Christ.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 5:22-23

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free… —Galatians 5:1

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand— “Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

An intellectual conception of God may be found in a bad vicious character. The knowledge and vision of God is dependent entirely on a pure heart. Character determines the revelation of God to the individual. The pure in heart see God. Biblical Ethics, 125 R


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