Husband And Wife
As A Team
You should read Ephesians 5:23-33 before reading this lesson. That text serves as the text for the subject. Many of us consider ourselves most blessed to have been privileged to have the husband/wife team demonstrated before us by our parents. Many of us enjoy this teamship in our own marriages. For this we are grateful beyond expression. It seems that everybody ought to know that the husband and wife are to function as a team.
But it is also obvious, due to the havoc and breakdown found in many marriages, that a lot of people have not learned this fundamental truth. If more were aware of it and worked accordingly, there would not be the destruction of homes so rampant in our society today.
We are discussing an attitude and a matter of the heart. We are also focusing attention on a relationship. We can say that we are studying an attitude of heart that should be demonstrated in a specific relationship.
What is a team? The word is not used in the Bible with reference to marriage even though the concept is there as we shall discover. A team consists of people working together, yoked together, coupled, linked and cooperating for the common good. Webster defines the word and uses marriage to illustrate the meaning.
The word “yoke” can be understood in terms of a burden or an unbearable load as Paul used it in Second Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Or It can be understood to refer to a beautiful and intimate relationship of favor as Jesus used it in His invitation found in Matthew 11:28-20. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Being yoked in marriage requires agreement. Amos stated the great principle in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Teamwork demands consideration, communication, consultation, cooperation, companionship, and in marriage there must be the inclusion of Christ. Without these essentials the team simply cannot and will not function as its Originator intended.
It was God’s original and present purpose that the husband and wife function as a team, not separately, but as a complement to each other. Genesis 2:18, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." God did not say that it is wrong to be unmarried. But as it is stated in Proverbs 18:22, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” Marriage is a blessing given to mankind by God. If we could summarize marriage with one word, we would choose the word “companionship.” This is what God intends in marriage.
Several Biblical Phrases Show Teamship
Let us now read Genesis 2:20-25 where there are several phrases that show the teamwork we are considering. “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
This teaching concerning marriage was repeated by Jesus Christ when He gave His will concerning marriage (Matthew 19:1-9). His will is as God planned and designed it from the beginning. All men everywhere are accountable to God through the teaching of Christ in this matter as in all others (John 12:48).
Composition of the Team
Notice the team composed of a husband and wife, not merely a man and a woman, nor a man and women, nor a woman and men, nor a man and man, nor woman and woman. Many have perverted this relationship, such as homosexuals, lesbians, adulterers, fornicators, etc. Of such Paul said that God had given them up to dishonor, vile affections and called them reprobate (Romans 1:24,26,28). While we have pity and concern for those who pervert themselves in any fashion, nobody can claim to be loyal to the doctrine of Christ and pronounce such things as anything other than sin which damns the soul.
Teamwork of husband and wife is seen in the phrase, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Understand the context. All the other creatures God had created had passed before Adam and none of them were suitable to be his companion. Nor was it expected that they would be. So God made a special creation for man that was suitable. The phrase, “this is now,” literally means, “this turn.” The other creatures had their turn, so to speak, and were found unsuitable. Now it was the woman’s turn, the special creation, and she was created suitable as man’s companion.
Teamship is seen in the phrase, “one flesh,” There is a difference in flesh. All flesh is not the same flesh because there is one flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes and another of birds (First Corinthians 15:39). We might add here that this passage, alongside many others, drives a spike through the heart of any attempt to harmonize the Bible with organic evolution, atheistic, theistic, agnostic or whatever. But the point as it relates to our theme is that God made man and woman of the same kind. They were two distinct personalities blended into one satisfying unit for the physical and part of the spiritual needs of both. It is as stated in Proverbs thirty-one, “He trusts her... He praises her... She will do him good.” (Verses 11,12,28).
The word “man” is sometimes used in the Bible to refer to the male of the human family. Sometimes it refers to the whole human family, male and female. The man is the male man, and the woman is the female man. They were not Deity, nor animals, but humanity of the same kind and of one flesh.
The Closest Relationship
This teamship is closer than the tie between parent and child. They were to leave and cleave one to the other. Prime allegiance belongs to each other above even the close tie of parent and child. If parents want to give a great gift to their children that will be of enduring strength for them throughout the life of the child, give them parents who truly love each other before all else this world offers. We are to love our mates first before everything except God. The beautiful truth is that when we love God first we will love our mate above everything else.
Husbands and wives are interdependent on each other. “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man. in the Lord. For as the woman is of man, even so is man also by the woman; but all things of God” (First Corinthians 11:8,9,11,12).
We hear much criticism today against the very institution of marriage. Some complain that in marriage you lose your individuality. We can never completely lose our individuality. We shall stand as individuals before God in the judgment (Second Corinthians 5:10). But in any human relationship, including marriage, there is the sacrifice of some individuality. Why just attack marriage and not all other human associations? This is because many want the physical privileges in marriage without the duties in marriage.
In marriage each is an individual with distinctive roles for which each is especially made to fulfill. We should assist each other in fulfilling these God-given roles in life. Neither is the master of himself or herself, but each seeks the highest good of the unit. This is what “agape” or love embodies and involves.
What it Requires
Teamwork in marriage requires compatibility, companionship, nearness, personal involvement, cooperation, but also Christ. We need to understand that any disposition of marriage that omits God cannot be what marriage is intended to be. There are three involved in marriage, not just a man and a woman. There must be the inclusion of the Designer, Originator and Giver of marriage, who is God. Many problems arise because people fail to understand and accept this. Many problems could be solved, even avoided, if all would respect this fact of truth. False doctrines arise because some have failed to respect both the individual and collective duties each has toward God. Marriage is not merely a social relationship, economic arrangement, or just a legal contract. It is a holy, sacred, God-given relationship. Without God in marriage it is lacking in a basic fundamental ingredient.
This attitude of teamwork must manifest itself in a number of areas. Husbands and wives are like a lock and key, or two blades of scissors. They cannot and do not function properly by themselves.
There is teamwork in the conjugal or sexual relationship. Paul wrote, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (First Corinthians 7:2). This “added language” of love, the expression of love, the satisfaction of pure and holy emotions and desires within marriage is reserved for the members of the team. Outside of marriage it is an abominable transgression against God, society, one’s mate, self and family.
There should be teamwork in the rearing of children. Genesis 1:28 tells us that God blessed THEM and said to THEM to be fruitful and replenish the earth. Both have a duty, not only in bringing the child into the world, but also in the upbringing, training and care of the child. This includes setting goals, priorities, discipline and provision. The child is not my child or your child, but “our child.”
There should be oneness in handling the finances of the home. This is a source of problems among many. Some talk about “her money and his money.” This is foolish. You may not agree, but you need to consider this point more seriously. Money problems have caused much strife in marriages. An understanding that in marriage it is no longer “me, my, mine,” nor “you and yours,” but it becomes “we, us, ours” in everything.
Teamwork demands loyalty to one another. This would eliminate many problems. Nobody from outside the marriage can intrude into a marriage where husband and wife are loyal to each other. This includes having and showing respect for each other’s feelings, refusing to embarrass and destroy the other.
Teamwork in marriage means you are together for life, in good times, bad times, sharing joys, sorrows, loads, burdens, in sickness or health, adversity or prosperity, not pulling apart, not pulling against, but pulling with each other. It is a case of “me and you against the world.”
The words of Ruth state the idea. “The Lord do so to me and more also If ought but death part thee and me.” Jesus said, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
A Basic Point
Teamwork in marriage means being united in THE FAITH. It is not enough to be united in a faith, but THE FAITH. Both ought to be Christians as the Bible teaches. Unless both are in Christ there is no standard by which to measure, no rule for making decisions, no guide for life, no basis for solutions to differences. Let us teach our young to marry “in the Lord.” So many who have ignored this teaching have lived to regret it and more are lost to the cause of Christ than remain faithful in a religiously divided home. The best team is one composed of a Christian husband and a Christian wife. It is difficult enough at times to resist the devil when you are standing together. How much more difficult when you are divided in the most important matter of life, your relationship to God. Like machinery, it is not the revolutions that wear out the machine, it is the friction. When both are Christians you have the oil that will keep down friction.
We need to teach our young, as many of us have been taught, that the primary goal in marriage is to help each other get to heaven. This is a statement of Peter, “...dwell with them... as heirs together of the grace of life” (First Peter 3:7). Recognize that you both are precious souls, precious to each other and precious to God.
Every team must have a leader. In God’s plan the husband is the leader of the home. This does not please everyone. But it pleases all who love God (Ephesians 5:23).
There are alternatives to teamwork. What are these alternatives? There is frustration, estrangement, heartbreak, betrayal, harsh words, bitterness, regret, agony, broken homes, scarred children, ruined lives, separations, loneliness, hatred, handicapped youth, lost souls. Unless the God-designed team functions as God has designed it, Satan will run in some substitutes that will destroy everyone involved.
Value of Experience
While watching a sporting event and playoff games I heard one commentator say, “Have you noticed how that most of the time the teams with experience are the ones that make the playoffs.” He was simply observing how experience makes the team more effective. This is true in sports. It is also true in marriage. You learn to think alike, work smoothly, understand each other, grow together, where one stands, two stand, and you never walk alone.
We speak of newlyweds and how they seem so well suited for each other. Bless their hearts, they may well be. But they are not near as well suited as they shall become as they go through life together.
God’s team consists of a husband and wife, living together, loving God and each other, in the oneness of marriage, and in Christ.
1. What does the Bible use to teach the relationship between Christ and the church?
2. What is a yoke? Is it good or bad?
3. How would you define a team?
4. What Biblical phrases in Genesis 2 show teamship?
5. What are the requirements for a good team?
6. In what areas must there be teamwork in marriage?
7. Who is to be the leader of the team?
8. Discuss the value of experience in having a good team.
9. What is the proper composition of the marriage team?
10. Marital relationship is even closer than what other very close relationship?