Relationships of the Believer
LESSON TEN – HUSBAND-WIFE RELATIONSHIPS
Lesson Goal: Our goal in this lesson is to better understand what Scripture has to say about the significance and purpose of marriage, how it describes the husband-wife relationship, and what the responsibilities of each person in the marriage bond are.
1. Read Genesis 2:18-24–18 Allah God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now Allah God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So Allah God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then Allah God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
a. In verse 18 Allah declared something to be not good. What was that?
b. In order to solve the problem, what steps did Allah take?
c. What did Allah do in vss 19 & 20?
d. Was an appropriate companion for man found among the birds and animals?
e. What did the man say on seeing the woman?
f. According to verse 24, what three steps are necessary as a result of marriage?
NOTE: The above passage of scripture is very important if we are to correctly understand marriage. In it we see Allah’s purpose in marriage clearly set forth. In vs. 18 the clear goal of marriage is that it is a covenant of companionship. Woman was created to be man’s companion – neither servant nor master, but companion. In marriage, one man and one woman promise to be each other’s life-long companion. They are no longer to be separate or alone, but are to become one. And that unity is to be in all areas – mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical.
At marriage, the couple’s relationship to their parents changes. Before marriage, their main focus was on their parents and their parents’ family. However, after marriage, a new family is created. As a result, the primary focus of the new husband and wife is on their own family. Of course, that does not mean that they are no longer concerned to honor and assist their parents. That is still important and must not be neglected. However, it does mean that, whereas the husband was before primarily concerned about his mother and father, now his focus has shifted. After marriage his primary concern and responsibility must be towards his wife. In the same way, the new wife will no longer be primarily concerned about her father’s home and activities, but will have as primary focus her own new family.
One other matter is made clear in this passage. Since it is the purpose of marriage that the husband and wife become one, it is clear that the taking of several husbands or wives was not Allah’s intention in marriage. A man can only become one and fully united with but one woman. And thus, the model family is one man and one woman. Where the husband has more than one wife or the wife more than one husband (and that does happen in some cultures), the universal result is jealousy, resentment and strife. The proverb that says “Allah help the home with two wives” is not without foundation in real life.
g. Describe your own relationship to your husband or wife. Is it one of servant/master or of companion? In what areas do you have good unity and agreement? What areas could be improved?
2. Read Matthew 19:3-12–3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ 5 and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what Allah has joined together, let man not separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Musa command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Isa replied, “Musa permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 Isa replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
a. What did the Pharisee ask Isa?
b. Isa answered by quoting what passage of Scripture?
c. In verse 6 Isa responds concerning the possibility of divorce. Does he say it is lawful or not?
What reasoning does he use to support his conclusion?
d. Why did Musa permit divorce?
e. What should be the only possible reason for legitimate divorce (vs.9)?
f. In vs. 12 is written, “And others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.” What did Isa mean by these words? (See also 1 Corinthians 7:32,33–32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs–how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world–how he can please his wife.)
NOTE: We have seen from Genesis that Allah’s plan for most men and women is that they marry and serve Allah together as a family. However, for some individuals and under some circumstances, it is Allah’s will that people not marry and thereby be able to serve Allah without any family distractions or hindrances.
3. Read Ephesians 5:22-33–22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as al-Masih is the head of the ummah, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the ummah submits to al-Masih, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as al-Masih loved the ummah and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant ummah, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as al-Masih does the ummah– 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about al-Masih and the ummah. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
a. How is the wife’s responsibility described in vss.22-24?
b. The husband’s responsibility is described in vss.25-33. Whose example is the husband to follow in loving his wife?
c. Isa gave himself for his community of followers, the ummah. How did he do that?
d. According to vss 28-29, how is the husband to love his wife?
e. If a husband truly loves his wife as his own body, will he ever beat her, insult her or otherwise abuse her?
Is beating or physically abusing his wife ever an option for a believer? Why or why not?
f. Think about your own marriage relationship. As a husband or wife, how well are you fulfilling the responsibilities set down for you in Allah’s word?
g. In what area is there a particular need for change? Describe briefly
4. Read 1 Peter 3:1-7–1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Allah’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in Allah used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Ibrahim and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
NOTE: This passage describes the situation where a believing wife has an unbelieving husband.
a. How should such a wife attract her husband to faith in Isa?
b. A truly God-fearing woman should be concerned and busy with what matters?
c. What should be the proper adornments of such a woman?
d. In your opinion, how could a believing husband best draw his unbelieving wife towards faith in al-Masih?
1) By beating her.
2) By living a loving and concerned life and gradually teaching her about Isa.
3) By ordering her to believe.
In the majority of marriages around the world the husband has the role of the master or lord, while the wife is the servant. This kind of relationship brings many problems and difficulties. Most importantly, the deep and intimate relationship that is to develop in marriage never comes. Rather than a helper and partner, the wife is considered part of her husband’s property – a thing.
Our understanding of the basic meaning of marriage has tremendous ramifications in all areas of our married life. There are two different conceptions of marriage that are accepted by many people today. The first is, as we have seen from Genesis, that marriage is a covenant of companionship between one man and one woman. The second and much more common conception is that the man is the master and the wife his property.
Many justify their adopting the second view by citing ayat 223 of Surah al-Baqarah (Surah 2) which says, “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will.” Thus, the woman is the field and the husband the landowner.
Look now at the chart further down this page. In the first column are listed various important elements in marriage. The second column gives the thoughts or actions that would logically follow in each area if one holds to the Genesis concept of marriage. The third column gives the thoughts and actions that follow if one has the concept of marriage wherein the husband is the landowner and the wife his field. Read through the chart carefully and then answer the questions that immediately follow based on what you find in the chart.
5. Answer the following questions on the basis of the below chart.
a. Are multiple marriage partners allowed according to the Injil? Why or why not?
b. Are multiple marriage partners allowed according to the common conception of marriage? Why or why not?
c. According to the holy Injil, if no children come, should a husband divorce his wife? Why or why not?
d. According to common thinking, if no children come, should a husband divorce his wife? Why or why not?
e. According to the holy Injil, the husband and wife are to be united in what areas?
f. According to the common conception, the husband and wife are to be united in what areas?
TWO CONCEPTS CONCERNING MARRIAGE
6. Think briefly on the husband-wife relationships that you have observed in your own town or neighborhood. How would you describe most such relationships?
7. a. Which of the two conceptions of marriage has been most influential in your own marriage relationship? Describe briefly.
b. Which concept of marriage do you believe is the correct one? Why?
c. What needs most to be changed in your own marriage to bring it more into agreement with the Taurat and Injil’s picture of marriage?
TO MEMORIZE – GENESIS 2:23,24
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.