Participants: Willie Oliver, Elaine Oliver
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000064
00:30 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:32 I'm Willie Oliver, Director of Family Ministries
00:34 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:37 I'm Elaine Oliver, Willie's partner in ministry
00:39 and a Marriage and Family Consultant
00:41 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:44 We're delighted you can join us today.
00:47 God's plan for marriage is that it be joyful,
00:51 warm, compassionate, and organized.
00:55 Today we want to speak with you on a topic we've titled
00:59 "Leadership in Marriage. "
01:02 The truth of the matter is, Willie, is that many marriages
01:04 are not experiencing this joy, the compassion, the warmth
01:08 that you spoke about.
01:10 And I think a lot of the issues that many couples are
01:13 dealing with is, perhaps, unmet expectations,
01:16 confusion as to our roles in marriage.
01:20 And perhaps we're not doing it God's way.
01:24 And God is very clear in the Bible about His plan
01:27 for marriage and our roles in marriage.
01:31 In the book of Proverbs 17:22, the word of God says:
01:45 A joyful heart...
01:46 It is obvious that God wants us to be joyful.
01:50 As His people, He wants us to be happy, He wants us to be joyful,
01:54 He wants us to rejoice.
01:56 Because when people are joyful, they're happy.
01:59 And when they're happy, they're healthy.
02:01 And when they're healthy, they project an image of God
02:04 that God wants represented to the world.
02:08 Well, let's take a look then at what this plan is,
02:12 and what exactly is God talking about, and what are these roles
02:15 that are going to help us experience this joy in marriage.
02:19 What does it look like?
02:21 So Ellen White has this to say in The Adventist Home
02:24 about leadership in marriage.
03:08 So, Ellen White here is talking about roles
03:11 and what is the role of the father and the mother.
03:14 Specifically in this passage, she's speaking about
03:16 the role of the father.
03:18 And one of the highlights of this text, of this passage
03:23 is that it says, "The husband and father is the
03:26 head of the home. "
03:28 Well what does that mean?
03:29 What does it mean to be the head of the home?
03:32 Does it mean to be boss?
03:34 Does it mean to call the shots?
03:36 Does it mean to have the last word?
03:38 Exactly what does it mean?
03:40 Well, it also says when we look at the passage that
03:46 the wife is expecting to have love and sympathy
03:49 from her husband.
03:51 Love and sympathy.
03:52 And help with raising the children.
03:56 So, sometimes in our society, in different cultures
04:01 around the world, there are notions that are mores
04:06 of that particular society.
04:08 And in many cultures around the world as we've traveled,
04:11 we see that children are relegated to women.
04:17 And women are the ones who have the oversight
04:20 of what happens to the children.
04:21 And yet, we see here that the servant of God is saying
04:25 that fathers should help their wives to raise the children.
04:29 Why? The children need the influence of a man.
04:33 God intended it that way and He made it so.
04:36 What's really interesting is that she goes on to say,
04:39 even though she's saying that fathers should help
04:42 in the training of their children, she makes it clear
04:45 that fathers are equally responsible
04:48 for the training of the children.
04:50 So it's not just the mom's responsibility, and we know
04:53 just by virtue of biology that often times the initial training
04:59 of the children falls on the mom.
05:01 Perhaps because as moms, sometimes we take that
05:06 leadership role in the rearing of our children.
05:09 But this is saying, this passage is saying that fathers, too,
05:14 are to have a part.
05:15 So I think that's really good for women and mom's
05:19 to understand as well, that we need to be sure that we allow
05:24 fathers to be involved in the training of our children.
05:28 I like to underscore as we continue, the whole notion of
05:32 the husband providing love and sympathy for his wife.
05:36 And the reason I think this is important is because
05:39 many times in marriage, relationships are rough.
05:42 You know, they're a little crude.
05:44 And instead of providing the kind of support that
05:47 their wives need, men think that all they need to do is
05:50 go to work, make some money, and give money to their wives to
05:55 pay bills, and watch TV and have a cool drink and that's
05:58 all they need to do.
06:00 But it's very clear, it's very clear according to this
06:03 directive from the spirit of prophecy that God expects
06:07 for men to bring love and sympathy.
06:11 By that it means that we are paying attention
06:13 to what's happening to our spouse,
06:15 that we care about what's happening to our spouse.
06:18 That we are compassionate and that we're supportive
06:21 in all the aspects of our family life.
06:24 So in essence then, being the head of the home is not so much
06:29 talking about bossing around, about domineering.
06:33 It's not about who's in charge, per se, but it's about
06:38 fathers and husbands understanding that they are
06:41 to be controlled by the love of God, that they are to fear God.
06:45 That they are suppose to understand God, first of all,
06:50 and convey that love to their wives, to their children.
06:54 Well, what's very important to underscore is that if fathers
06:58 are going to be the kinds of leaders that they need to be
07:01 in their homes, in their families,
07:03 that they need to know God for themselves.
07:05 That if they're going to expose their kids to certain influences
07:08 they need to know how injurious those influences might be
07:12 and choose the right influences to share with their children.
07:15 Because they do have some responsibility here.
07:19 I see this whole notion of what we're talking about today,
07:22 not so much as husbands being in charge,
07:25 as much as husbands giving leadership.
07:27 God calls men to be leaders in their homes,
07:30 to be priests in their homes, to offer guidance,
07:34 to offer love, to offer affection, to offer support.
07:37 And it's much more than just saying, "The buck stops here
07:41 and what I say is what goes. "
07:43 But reflecting the image of God.
07:47 You know, I've heard so many women say that
07:52 they're disappointed that their husbands are not the leaders
07:55 of the home, because they're not leading out in family worship.
07:59 And when we look at this passage we see that it's so much deeper.
08:04 When we read what the word of God has to say in Ephesians 5
08:08 it's so much deeper than just leading out in family worship.
08:12 And I think that we need to be clear about that.
08:15 That it's about loving and nurturing and providing warmth.
08:19 More than just, "Ok, I'm going to call the songs and worship
08:24 or I'm going to call for worship. "
08:25 Also, as we look at this whole issue of leadership,
08:30 we have to talk about the subject of submission.
08:34 And that's a pretty difficult word in contemporary times.
08:38 It's very hard, especially for women to handle
08:41 this word "submission".
08:42 Let's see what the word of God has to say in Ephesians 5:22-24.
09:09 So, we're talking about wives being able to submit to their
09:13 husbands as to the Lord.
09:14 And as I've said earlier, this is a pretty difficult word.
09:17 And I think that if we really study and understand God
09:22 and how egalitarian He is...
09:25 That's a big word, Elaine.
09:26 It is, He's fair.
09:28 You know, when He talks about wives submitting
09:32 to their husbands, He's also talking to husbands and
09:35 saying that husbands should love their wives
09:37 as Christ loved the church.
09:39 So this is a pretty heavy thing that He's asking husbands to do.
09:45 What did Christ do?
09:46 Christ laid down His life for the church.
09:48 What I like is the fact that husbands are head
09:52 of the home or head of the wife as Christ is head of the church.
09:56 So we do have a model as husbands, as men,
09:59 that if we're going to, in fact, take our roles in leadership
10:02 in the family seriously, what we're doing
10:05 is that we're being Christ like, we're being like the Lord.
10:07 Absolutely, so then it makes it a little easier than for
10:12 a wife, for me, to submit to my husband
10:17 if my husband is Christ like.
10:20 And we're submitting to our husbands as we
10:23 submit to the Lord.
10:25 Ellen White has another passage that is found in
10:29 The Adventist Home and page 116, and it says:
11:22 So entire submission here, Elaine, it's saying
11:23 that should be made only to Jesus Christ.
11:25 That while God is asking women to submit to their husbands,
11:28 entire complete submission is only to God.
11:32 Because He is the only one who's holy.
11:33 And because we, as husbands, are imperfect.
11:36 We have to be very careful that the submission is in the context
11:40 of the husband being in Christ.
11:42 And understanding that God is not asking us wives
11:48 to merge their individuality into their husbands.
11:51 And husbands should not expect that of their wives.
11:54 So as we talk about submitting, then this submission
11:58 is really to God.
12:01 And if our husbands are God like,
12:04 then we have a better understanding
12:06 of what submission is.
12:07 Yea, I think it's a mistake to think about the whole issue of
12:11 submission as blind devotion.
12:14 As whole-hearted devotion, blindly suspending all of her
12:20 reasoning resources.
12:24 That women are to submit to their husbands only as their
12:28 husbands are clear, are devoted to the teachings of Christ
12:33 and of being like Christ.
12:36 Because if you're not like Christ, well no women
12:39 should be submitted to you.
12:40 Well, I think as the text illuminates, as we look at
12:46 what the text is saying, and as we talk more about
12:49 what the spirit of prophecy is saying, it makes it clear
12:53 that the submission that God is talking about is very different
12:58 than the way we perceive submission in secular terms.
13:03 Indeed, and in fact, this submission ought to be in
13:07 the context of a relationship, of a loving relationship,
13:11 of a supportive relationship, of one where's their mutual
13:14 caring and mutual forbearance.
13:15 One where they truly want to give honor and glory to God.
13:20 And so, as we look at this topic,
13:22 and we're going to be talking some more about it.
13:24 But right now, we're going to go to break.
13:26 So stick around, stay with us and we will be right back.
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14:14 Welcome back to our topic on leadership in marriage.
14:17 We've been having a pretty interesting discussion
14:21 on leadership, on submission.
14:24 And we wanted to go a little further into what the
14:27 spirit of prophecy has to say.
14:29 In Adventist Home, Ellen White says this.
15:17 So what I'm seeing in this passage is that when men require
15:21 complete subjection, submission, subjection of their wives to
15:26 themselves, that they're doing so contrary to what
15:29 scripture is requiring.
15:31 When it's speaking about submission, full submission
15:35 in everything, that everything is as to the Lord.
15:39 One of the things that we need to be mindful of
15:42 as men, as human beings, is that because we're human
15:47 we are not perfect.
15:48 And because we're not perfect, there is a tendency
15:51 to go overboard, to over step our boundaries,
15:56 and to try to annex something that belongs only to God.
16:01 The truth of the matter is, we are under
16:04 the sovereignty of God.
16:06 We are under the rulership of God, both of us
16:08 as husbands and wives.
16:10 When God brings us together, He brings us as one.
16:13 He wants us to be one, one in spirit,
16:16 one in direction, one in purpose,
16:18 leading our family to the heavenly kingdom.
16:21 Not only that, God wants for us in our families to
16:25 reflect His image and to lead people to Him
16:29 because of the love and the joy that we have with one another.
16:33 So to have an individual, your spouse, your wife,
16:37 to be subject to you in everything,
16:39 it sounds a little harsh.
16:41 And basically what the servant of the Lord is saying
16:45 is that this is not exactly what God is saying.
16:47 What He's saying is, He's giving us a model of unity.
16:51 He's giving us a model of understanding
16:54 how the leadership is to be done.
16:56 It's a leadership, it's not rulership.
16:59 It's leadership.
17:00 It's not being boss, it's being a leader.
17:03 Well, and she uses some pretty strong words where she says
17:06 when we interpret it in that way, when we interpret it
17:09 that it means to hold someone subject to you,
17:12 when you interpret it in a way that it is rulership,
17:15 that it is bossing, we're actually doing violence
17:18 to the marriage institution.
17:20 Those are some pretty strong words.
17:22 And I think that she was just so way ahead of her time
17:26 when she wrote these words such a long time ago,
17:30 and they're so relevant to us today in our relationships.
17:34 One of the things that I think that we need to be very
17:36 careful of is that we don't allow our traditions
17:39 and our cultural mores to transcend the word of God.
17:45 Because so often we say, "Well, that's the way it's been done
17:48 in our culture. "
17:49 Well, what is God's culture?
17:51 That's what I like, you know.
17:53 We travel around the world and we do workshops
17:56 in different places and, invariably, someone will ask,
17:59 "Well, how do you do it in America?"
18:00 And our response usually is, "Well, how we do it in America
18:03 is not the most important thing. "
18:05 Because lots of people do it in different ways in America
18:08 and it's not going so well in most places.
18:11 What we want to do is what the word of God says.
18:13 We want to live our lives in marriage, in relationships,
18:17 based on God's word.
18:18 And so as we look at God's word, as we allow it to lead us,
18:22 as we allow it to inform our negotiating of marital roles
18:29 in that relationship, we have to go beyond just what we learned
18:33 in our culture's growing up.
18:35 In most cultures around the world, and we have a tendency
18:38 of highlighting certain cultures and saying
18:41 that men rule with an iron fist, well in almost every culture
18:44 in the world, men tend to just over step their boundaries
18:48 and just think that they're more than what
18:50 God has asked them to do.
18:51 It is important that if we're going to be people of God,
18:54 that we do it God's way.
18:56 What God is saying is that we should love one another.
18:58 We should have sympathy for each other.
19:00 We should build each other up.
19:03 So if I love my wife as I love myself, it means that I
19:08 would never take a hammer and hit my fingers
19:11 or hurt myself.
19:12 Because it hurts.
19:14 So when you hurt, I hurt.
19:16 And what I want to be sure of is that whatever I say,
19:20 whatever I do, is not going to cause you any harm.
19:23 But it's going to affirm you, it's going to let you know
19:28 that I care about you, it's going to let you know
19:30 and communicate to you that we are one,
19:33 that we are an "us", that we belong to each other
19:37 and want to give honor and glory to God.
19:40 So if I were to broaden the definition of submission then,
19:43 we're broadening it to say that we, as husbands and wives,
19:48 are to love and respect our spouses.
19:54 And if we are looking out for the best interest of the other,
19:58 then we will experience the joy in marriage
20:01 that God intends for us to experience.
20:03 And there won't be as much confusion as to our roles
20:07 in marriage because once we're living under God's way,
20:12 then it becomes a little bit more clear how we decipher
20:16 the simple things as to who's going to
20:18 change the baby's diaper, who's going to take out the garbage.
20:22 You know, those actually become trivial when we get a clearer
20:26 understanding of what God is saying about leadership,
20:29 about headship, about submission in the Bible.
20:32 I think that it's very important that we get to the place
20:36 where we learn to operationalize the text, the biblical text.
20:40 How do we live our lives each day under
20:42 the shadow of the text or under the light
20:45 of the text, if you will?
20:46 Many times in many cultures, we feel that women
20:51 have to take care of the inside and the men
20:54 take care of the outside.
20:55 And it all depends on who has more talent.
20:57 While it's important that we, and we believe strongly
21:02 that whoever eats needs to know how to cook.
21:04 You know, if you know how to eat you should know how to cook.
21:07 If you wear clothes, you should know how to wash them and
21:10 how to iron them.
21:11 And mind you, we may alternate depending on who has the time.
21:17 I remember in our early marriage, whoever got home first
21:22 at the end of the day would make dinner.
21:25 And it wasn't a big deal for us.
21:27 I mean, I loved you, I wanted to make sure we had a good meal
21:30 and if I was there before you got there, I made the meal.
21:33 And if you were there before I got there, you made the meal.
21:36 and we both enjoyed what we had to offer to our relationship.
21:40 So when we look at marriage as a unit, as a whole,
21:43 we recognize that what we're trying to do is to build
21:46 something together.
21:48 When we are building together and we are one,
21:50 it's not about preeminence.
21:52 It's about giving leadership and finding joy and happiness
21:57 and warmth and support and affirmation.
22:00 Because those virtues, those values help us to be
22:05 what God wants us to be.
22:07 And we need to do away with the power plays
22:11 because it's not about jockeying for power.
22:13 It's about empowering one another.
22:15 If we want to have great marriages, then we need to look
22:19 at ways in which we can empower one another.
22:22 So again, you know, you used cooking as an example.
22:25 There are many homes where wives love to cook.
22:29 Actually, we have friends where the husband loves to cook
22:32 and he does all the cooking.
22:34 So depending on what your gifts are, don't be afraid
22:38 to bring that gift to the table because there's some societal
22:43 notion that says, "If I do the cooking, I'm a weak man. "
22:47 Or, "If I do the cooking, I'm a disempowered woman. "
22:51 We need to put aside the secular notions, these worldly notions,
22:57 not allow them to infiltrate our marriages.
23:00 Because God is very clear, and God's plan if for us to have
23:05 great marriages.
23:06 God's plan is for us to have unity in our marriages.
23:09 And so what matters here then is that everything that we do in
23:13 marriage, be to build each other up so that we have the
23:17 kind of family that can represent Jesus Christ.
23:20 After all, that's what God wants.
23:21 And whether we cook or clean, whether we work and whoever
23:26 gets a job in these days with the economy being what it is.
23:29 Whoever can hang on to a job is what we are going to need
23:33 because we're going to have to pay rent, we're going to
23:35 have to pay mortgage, we're going to buy food, and
23:38 get these kids to church school.
23:40 Well, there's so much wonderful counsel in The Adventist Home.
23:45 Ellen White has more to say on this topic.
24:38 So what God is saying then is that if the husband is not
24:41 following the ways of the Lord, he certainly, most certainly,
24:46 is not as Christ is to the church.
24:50 And has no right to give that kind of direction because
24:54 to give direction, he must be directed by the spirit of God.
24:58 Correct, and just to further illuminate that, if husbands are
25:04 thinking that they are suppose to be in control of their wives
25:08 and they are not submitting to God, then of course, they
25:13 would have a misunderstanding of what the text is saying.
25:17 So what the text is saying is that, or the passage,
25:20 is that men need to be subject to God.
25:22 They need to be intimate with God.
25:25 They need to be under the rulership of God
25:28 so that they can give the kind of leadership
25:31 God expects of them in the family.
25:34 If I'm not under the rulership of God, if I've not accepted the
25:37 spirit of God in my own life and I'm not living that out each day
25:41 that's going to be pretty difficult.
25:43 So, I think it's clear that what God intends for us
25:48 as husbands and wives, and specifically we're speaking here
25:51 about husbands, and you know, she goes on to talk about
25:55 husbands should not be rough or egotistical or harsh
25:59 in the home.
26:00 I think that we should also add to that, that wives also
26:07 need to learn how to be kind and loving and gentle
26:12 and respectful of their husbands.
26:13 Again, we talk about that mutuality in the relationship.
26:17 Because we started out by saying that God wants us to
26:21 experience joy and warmth and compassion
26:25 in the marriage relationship.
26:27 Because when we have joy in the marriage, again, and there's
26:31 warmth and there's compassion, there is joy and there's a way
26:34 to give honor and glory to God and reflect the image of God
26:38 to the world, which we've been called to do
26:40 as Christian families.
26:41 Well, here's another text, 1 Peter 3:7.
27:03 This is pretty awesome you know, and it's kind of scary too.
27:06 And basically it's saying, if you don't treat your wife right,
27:08 God's not going to listen to you.
27:10 If you don't do what God expects of a Godly man to do
27:14 in your family, God's not going to listen to you.
27:16 I don't know about you, but I certainly want God,
27:19 I want God to listen to me and I want to know that when
27:21 I take my petitions to Him, that He's going to answer my prayer.
27:26 You know, this is hard stuff.
27:28 But there's a promise of success.
27:30 Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ
27:35 who give me strength. "
27:37 If we trust God, we read His word,
27:39 we're under His rulership, our families will be just fine.
27:43 God bless you.