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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jimmy Evans » Jimmy Evans - God's Perfect Plan for Marriage

Jimmy Evans - God's Perfect Plan for Marriage

Jimmy Evans - God's Perfect Plan for Marriage
TOPICS: Marriage

Good morning. Good morning. It is wonderful to be here. As always, it's truly an honor to be here. And how many of you came to the conference this weekend? Anybody? Oh yeah. Did you all have a good time? We had 12,000 people at the conference this weekend, 6,000 couples, which is amazing. Isn't that wonderful? And let me tell you, no one does as good a job on marriage conferences as the Church of the Highlands. Your people are just the most wonderful, kind, hospitable people. Our people at XO came here, some of them did, and they absolutely loved being here and the way they were treated.

Pastor Chris and I have been friends for about 30 years, I think. I met him many years ago. We are just very close, dear friends. There's no one on Earth I respect more than Pastor Chris Hodges. He is just such a great man, truly a great man. He's very humble. When I met him, one of the things that I just, you know, appreciated so much about him is he's a man of integrity. He's so humble. He's so kind. He's so generous. He's just a wonderful man. He's been such an incredible friend to me. But I also want to say that I met him before he planted, he and Tammy planted, Church of the Highlands here.

What an incredible church Church of the Highlands is. I mean it's just you guys, and I know you know you have a great church, but I'm just saying, and I am a part of the family here, but coming from the outside perspective, sometimes you forget you guys are a major influence on the church in America and around the world. The Church of the Highlands has changed the church in America and the church around the world to a great extent. And what I'm praying that once you guys take over Alabama, would you come to Texas? We really need you in Texas. We really do. So it's truly an honor to be here. And I do want to preach on marriage this morning.

This message is called "God's Perfect Plan for Marriage," and I want you to know that God has a perfect plan for marriage for you. Now, you know, I know some of you here are single and you want to be married. Some of you maybe are single and maybe you've been beat up. Maybe you came out of a home where your parents didn't have such a good marriage. Maybe you've been married before and you've been scarred by marriage. Maybe you're in a tough situation right now related to marriage. My wife and I almost divorced after three years of marriage. Our marriage is a miracle. We literally, it was a miracle that our marriage survived, and that's where our marriage ministry comes from. But what I want you to know is whether you're single, divorced, married, God made you for marriage. God saw Adam by himself. He said, "That's not good," and so he made marriage.

So there's some people, a small percentage of people, who are called to be single. They're very special people. They're not a subculture. They're a superculture, like Jesus, like the apostle Paul. But the vast majority of people are called to be married, and we're better off if we're married. And so in 1930, 83% of adult Americans were married. Today, only 49.5% of adult Americans are married. So marriage is under attack. Like everything else that God created, marriage is under attack. But what I want you to know is marriage works 100% of the time when you do it God's way.

Let me say it another way. You have a 100% chance of success in marriage when you do it God's way. You don't have a 50% chance. You don't have a 90% chance. You have a 100% chance, and God's way is not hard. And I wanna tell you about God's perfect plan for marriage. God has an absolutely brilliant plan for marriage. It's in Ephesians chapter 5, and we're gonna begin reading in verse 21 in Ephesians chapter 5 with an incomplete sentence, but it's a very important, it's a full verse. But it's an incomplete sentence, but it's a very important incomplete sentence.

This is verse 21, Ephesians 5: "...submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ as the head of the church, and he himself is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. 'For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and they too shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband".

Let me go back and say there was an incomplete sentence that we began with. It says, "...submitting to one another in the fear of God". The way that this is constructed, Paul says this: "...submitting to one another in the fear of God," wives, here's how to do that. Husbands, here's how to do that. And so, I believe that men and women are created totally equal. And so, we have different roles, but we're created equal. And what the apostle Paul is saying here is "be submitted to one another in the fear of God. Wives, you do your part. Husbands, you do your part". Listen, my wife and I have been married 50 years. We celebrate our 51st anniversary in May. Let me tell you something. We never talk about who the boss in our marriage is. Jesus Christ is the boss of our marriage. We operate as equals under the authority of Jesus Christ, and that's the reason that God made it that way.

Let me say, this is the most revelatory text on Earth concerning marriage. What we just read there is the greatest revelation of marriage on the planet Earth. Now, let me say, even though that's true, a lot of Christians really struggle with Ephesians chapter 5. And so, in 40 plus years of being a marriage counselor, I've never read that to anyone who liked it. I've never read that and a couple said, "You know, Pastor Jimmy, that just really blessed us". See, here's what's interesting. We like what it says about our spouse. We just don't like what it says about us. The wives love when it talks about a sacrificial husband laying his life down for her, women like, and men love that submission part. If a husband doesn't know one other Scripture in the Bible, we know that one.

Let me tell you, the Bible says you're supposed to submit to me, woman. And we fear being the first one to do it. You know, we want our spouse to go first, and we use our spouse's behavior as an excuse not to do this. Women say something like, "Well, I would respect my husband as the Lord if he acted anything remotely like Jesus, but God has put me in that man's life to keep him humble". Men say, "If I show her any weakness, I'll be doing housework all night while she's sipping herbal tea in the bathtub. I gotta stay strong here".

So, the problem is there's no Plan B. Nothing else works. Look in the world right now. Nothing else works. Trust me. I tried it for the first three years of marriage, and we were on the brink of divorce. This is the only thing that works. And listen. It's a win-win proposition. Everyone wins when you do this. This is the perfect plan for marriage, and it will work for you if you're single, if you're divorced and wanting to get married, if you're married. This will work for you, I promise. God made you for marriage, and he made this for you as an instruction manual on how to succeed 100% of the time in marriage. So let me talk about why these roles are brilliant and why this is God's perfect plan for marriage.

Number one: The roles in Ephesians 5 make us attractive to our spouse and cause them to open their hearts to us. Okay. So, this is number one reason it's so perfect. Now, you can't be intimate when you're guarded. Intimacy means inner closeness. It means being close on the inside. And so, intimacy occurs when we open our hearts to each other. Intimacy never occurs when we feel threatened by each other. And so, what happens when you do Ephesians 5, it causes you to open your hearts to each other so that you can enjoy the intimacy that God wants you to enjoy. So I'm going to read a Scripture here from 1 Peter chapter 3. He's addressing wives here. There's a Scripture I'm going to read, but he also addresses husbands.

And before I read what he says to the wives, let me just read real quickly what he says to husbands. Peter says, "Husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor to her as to a weaker vessel as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers may not be hindered". And so, the apostle Peter here is saying "live with your wives with understanding". It says "treat her as a weaker vessel". I don't believe that women are weaker. I think women are incredible, what they can do. I think God made women a little bit physically weaker so they wouldn't take over the universe. But he's saying, "Be careful how you treat her". Listen, he says, "You treat her as a fellow heir of the grace of life," in other words, as an equal, or your prayers will be hindered.

And what that means is God takes seriously the way we treat our wives, and he wants us to treat them carefully. So I'm saying that to say I'm not singling out the ladies, and Peter's not singling out the ladies. He's talking to both men and women. 1 Peter 3:1: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Do not let your ornament be merely outward, arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be in the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good or not afraid with any terror".

Now, the word "submissive" here just means "respectful". We're equals. Men and women are equals. And so the number one need of a man is respect. That's our mega need. We're very sensitive in our egos, and we need respect. And so, the Bible tells women to respect their husbands. And it makes you attractive. What it's saying here is you can change your husband without a word as he just observes you being respectful. Okay. Respect is so powerful to a man, we'll change our behavior for it. We won't change our behavior for criticism, but we'll change our behavior for respect. This is the greatest motivation in a man's life is respect and honor. So what it's saying here is don't just be pretty on the outside. You ladies are gorgeous. Don't just be pretty on the outside. Be pretty on the inside with the incorruptible quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

So, you know, a lot of women would say, "Well, Jimmy, I've got a very strong personality. I just don't have that little mousy kind of a personality for your gentle and quiet wife". Well, "gentle and quiet" is not the spirit of a mousy woman. It's the spirit of a woman who believes that her God is big enough to change her husband. Now, you're your husband's equal. You can say anything you want to to your husband. You're his total equal. So when you you go to your husband. You have a complaint. Say whatever you want to to your husband. Say it respectfully, and then get in your prayer closet and seek Jesus on him.

See Jesus, if you're speaking the truth, the Holy Spirit's the Spirit of truth, he's on your side. He'll change your husband from the inside. That's how my wife changed me. And so, I was a horrible husband, and she started, she went to a Bible study, and they were teaching women how to pray for their husbands. That's what changed our marriage. She couldn't change me by fighting with me or criticizing me. She changed me by praying for me and treating me better than I deserved. And so, this is something that for women to understand. Respect makes you attractive. When you respect your husband, when you respect your husband, he'll drop his guard and open his heart to you, and he'll want to be with you more. And so this is something, it's a win-win deal. Marriage is a win-win deal. So let me talk about men just a minute, because it's getting tense in here.

And so, number one need of a woman is security. Number one need of a man is respect, but women need respect. But the number one need of a woman is security. Nothing makes a woman feel more secure than a selfless, sacrificial man. Women want a sacrificial, selfless, sensitive husband who is in tune with her and will take care of her sacrificially. Nothing makes a woman feel more insecure than a selfish, detached man. And so the Bible tells men to lay your lives down for her. Nourish and cherish her. Sacrifice for her. Okay. And so, that's what it says. So, the question is: does sacrificial love, does that make a man more attractive to a woman? Well, they did a couple of studies here. One of the studies that they did, a survey of women, and they asked women: when is your husband most attractive to you? And this has been replicated in different places. This one was the University of Washington.

When is your husband most attractive to you? Number one response, or among always in the top responses: my husband is most attractive to me when he's doing housework. When is your husband most attractive to you? When he's doing housework. Okay, then they studied the effects of male sweat on women. And they took, this is a University of Pennsylvania, different universities have done this. They took male sweat, and they put it on the upper lip of women. And they wired the women up so that they could physiologically measure how they responded to male sweat. Now, the women are grossed out. So they didn't tell the women it was sweat. They told the women it was a household product they were testing, and when they found out it was male sweat, some researchers died. And we appreciate their sacrifice. So, they put the male sweat on women, and they wired them up. And what they found, in every single case, that women were under the influence of male sweat. They relaxed. They were happy. And they felt romantic.

So let's review. So, they asked women: when is your husband most attractive to you? When he's doing housework. And then they put them under the influence of male sweat. Very, very positive influence. So here's the interpretation of this to all the husbands here. You're just a clean house away from the night of your dreams. Do some housework. Walk by. Let her smell you. Go back and do some more. This is true. It's true. Isn't it amazing? Isn't it amazing? A lot of times, we'll read things like Ephesians 5, and you say, "Well, that's just religious, and I don't like that". No, that's the key to your spouse's heart. When women respect their husbands, when men sacrificially love their wives, it makes us both attractive to each other. Marriage is a win-win deal when you do it God's way. There are no losers.

Okay, number two reason why God's plan of Ephesians 5 is perfect. The roles in Ephesians 5 release the potential in our spouse, in both of us. They release the potential. So we both achieve our potential in marriage and in life when we both do what God says. Again, Genesis 2:18, God said, "It's not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper comparable to him". Well, is it true that it's not good for man to be alone? By the way, if we could reach our potential without marriage, God wouldn't have created it. I know in the world that we live in today, people are jaded and cynical, and a lot of people don't believe the Bible. They say, "Oh, you don't need marriage". Can I tell you something? You need marriage. Unless you're one of those few people that are called to be single, marriage is what you need.

Let me give you an example of this. A 48-year-old married man has a 90% chance of reaching the age of 65. A 48-year-old single man has a 60% chance of reaching the age of 65. See, as men, we're a lot better off with women around us. Women make you take your vitamins. Don't eat that. No, you're not going to eat that. They're always taking care of you and all that kind of stuff. Well, it makes you live longer. I mean, you don't like it when it's happening, but we live longer. They don't let you drive as fast. They don't let you do dangerous stuff. And so, there's a liberal feminist named Linda Waite. She's a sociologist at the University of Chicago. And she did a broad study, a longitudinal study, across America of many thousands of women, wondering, as a liberal feminist, how does marriage affect women?

And she found out, after her study, she wrote a book called "The Case for Marriage". And she found that women are dramatically better off married than cohabiting or single or any other state of life. God made you for marriage and marriage for you, and it will bless you. I don't care what society says. I care what God says, and God's telling us the truth. And I know that some of us have been beat up by marriage, but understand, we've been beat up by marriage because we're doing it wrong. When you do it God's way, it's a win-win deal. So let me talk about God's role for men just a minute. Remember, what I'm saying here is the roles in Ephesians 5 cause both of us to reach our full potential.

So it tells men, in Ephesians 5:29, to nourish and cherish your wife, as Jesus does the church. Nourish and cherish, interesting, those are farming works. By the way, the word "husband" is a farming word. And so, "nourish" means "to feed to maturity," and "cherish" means "to keep warm". It means to keep it from freezing and damage coming to it. So, nourish and cherish your wife. And so the greatest gift that God has ever given me is my wife, Karen. She's also my greatest stewardship. And one day, when I get to heaven, I'm going to have to give an account for Karen to God of what I did. And by the way, I came out of generations of chauvinism. The men in my family were male chauvinists.

And when I grew up, you know, and my dad was, but my granddad was the closest influence in my life, and my granddad never did anything for himself. My grandmother waited on him hand and foot. My granddad, when he, like, got ran out of coffee, he would just thump his coffee cup and my grandmother would jump up and get him more coffee. And I looked at that growing up, and I thought two things. I thought, A, that's of the Lord, and B, I want one of those. And I married Karen, and one day, my tea glass was running low and I reached over and thumped my tea glass. She said, "You better be killing a fly there, pal". She never trained well. She never trained well. It just was a real disappointment to me, so, I was a male chauvinist pig for the first three years of our marriage. I honestly believed it's all about me. She's just along for the ride with Mr. Wonderful. It's all about me.

And when God changed me, when I changed, what I realized is one day I'm going to have to stand before God and give an account for Karen. What did you do with the most precious gift I gave you in life? Let me just say early in our marriage, I would just have to say I beat her down. I used her, and I took her for granted. I did not nourish her. I did not cherish her. And by the way, here's what nourish and cherish means. By the way, the reason a lot of women don't like marriage in our society is because marriage has beaten them down historically. It's just the truth. Well, nourish and cherish. Nourish means you feed your wife with all the words and affirmation and love she needs.

So that whatever God created her in her mother's womb to accomplish, she accomplishes it. If that's as stay at home mom, if it's a teacher, if it's a worship leader, if it's a rocket scientist, whatever God created her in her mother's womb to accomplish, you sacrificially love her until she becomes that. And if you don't get yours, she gets hers first. And you nourish her, and you protect her until she's become all that God has called her to be. And so when I married Karen, she had the lowest self-esteem of any person I've ever met. She's gorgeous. She didn't think she was. She thought she was ugly and thought that God hated her. She was horribly verbally abused growing up every single day of her life. And I married Karen, and she was just a beaten down woman. And I'll say this.

Today, my wife is a lioness of God, most confident woman you've ever met in your life. Jesus gets the credit, but I've been his little helper in the process. And God has used me as his assistant to nourish and cherish her. And if I stand before Jesus today, here's what I would say: "Karen Evans has become every single thing that you created her to become, and I helped". But every man will stand before Jesus. My job, as a husband, my first job is being a husband to Karen. And my job is to sacrificially love that woman and make sure she's protected and nurtured. A good husband is a good greenhouse. A greenhouse creates a stable environment of nurture. I'm going to protect you. You'll never be exposed to elements that will damage you, and I'm going to make sure that you're nurtured so that you can flourish. A good husband is a good greenhouse. A woman, let me talk about women for just a minute. And it says God's role for women, Ephesians 5:22: "Submit to your husband, as to the Lord". It's an attitude of respect.

Ephesians 5:33: "Respect your husband". Proverbs 31 is an interesting verse. It's a chapter about the excellent wife. In Proverbs 31, it says the excellent wife, her husband is an elder in the gates of the city, but it attributes it to her. What it's saying is the excellent wife, her husband is this man of honor, and she produced that. Her behavior toward her husband produced this man of honor. It talks about Sarah. It says Sarah, the Scripture we read earlier, Peter talked about Sarah. Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. Sarah literally called Abraham "lord". I told Karen one day, I said, "Karen, you don't need to be calling me lord. I'm a very humble man". Just something like "oh great one" is fine with me. "I'm very humble. I don't need all that".

By the way, did you know that Abraham, so Abraham lied twice about Sarah being his sister. You know why Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister? Listen to this. Sarah was so hot that every time they went to a new country, the king tried to take her as his wife. That's what you call hot. I mean, she would cross the city limits, they're like, "Go get her". And so, Abraham knew when they went to a new country that the king was going to be interested in his wife. He said, "Say that you're my sister. Don't get me in trouble. They'll kill me". And what I'm trying to say is Sarah didn't have a perfect husband. She called him lord. Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. So, a good wife is a good cheerleader. As men, respect is our biggest need. We want a cheerleader.

And so, I don't know about women's sports, but in men's sports, we like cheerleaders a lot. And here's what we like about cheerleaders. They just praise everything. They're just set on happy. They're just happy. You know. They dress up cute, and they look happy, you know. And the other thing is they know how to say negative things in a positive way, and we like that. And so the football team's getting killed, and the cheerleaders are over on the sideline. And here's what they're saying: "Defense, defense, defense. Hold that line. Hold that line". Here's what they're not saying: "You bunch of losers! Would you tackle somebody? My grandmother could have caught that guy on her walker". No, we don't like that. We like cheerleaders. A man will slide down a mountain of razor blades to land in a lake of lemon juice to hear one idiot say, "You're the man". We'll go do it again. We don't need security. We need respect.

So here's what I'm trying to say. Marriage, when you fulfill your role in marriage, women are nurtured and cherished, and they become in an atmosphere of security and sacrifice, but men become in an atmosphere of praise. Everything that a man's gonna become. Criticism is our kryptonite, but praise is our reward. Praise is what motivates us. And so, it's just a win-win deal. That's why God created the roles is for us to release the potential. Number three reason the roles in Ephesians 5 are perfect. The roles in Ephesians 5 disable our sin natures and keep them from destroying our marriages. The roles disarm our sin nature. We have a sin nature. We all know that we're fallen. And our sin nature, according to Galatians 5, is jealousy, envy, division, outburst of anger, all those kinds of bad things that destroy our marriage.

So for our marriage to work, we've got to crucify our sin nature. Ephesians 5 is what does that, the roles do. By the way, when I read Ephesians 5 and something in you kind of rises up that doesn't like it, that's your sin nature, and until your sin nature is crucified, you're not going to have the marriage that you want to have and the roles do this. Let me talk about the different roles in Ephesians 5 because our sin natures are different. Let me go back to the Garden of Eden. So, God created Adam first. Genesis 2 tells us. In Genesis 1, we have an overview of creation, and Adam and Eve are created, but the detail of creation is in Genesis 2. And we're told that Adam was created first. And all the animals came before him, and he named them, but there wasn't a helper found suitable for him. And so God created Eve.

And by the way, God commanded Adam to tell Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so, they were there together in the Garden of Eden. God lived with them in the Garden of Eden. And so they're standing there one day, and the devil slithers up and begins to tempt Eve. Okay. Now, we know they're together because Eve ate the fruit and handed it to Adam. And so, the devil slithers up, and he is now accusing God, telling her that God's a liar and that God's a bully. You have to admit, the devil's pretty good at what he does. He convinced two perfect people in a paradise that the person who put them there was trying to put them down. They were perfect in a paradise. They never had a bad day. They never had a bad daddy. They never had anything, and he convinced them that they were being abused.

And so he comes up and begins to accuse God and to tempt Eve, and so Eve ate the fruit. But here's how Eve ate the fruit. Eve ate the fruit, but she never talked to Adam, and she never talked to God. Her husband's standing next to her, and what Eve did not say is, "Well, that's interesting. Let me run that by my husband, and let me run that by God because he's about to show up". We know he's about to show up because they ate the fruit and he showed up. Let me run that by my husband. Let me run that by God, and I'll get back with you. Well, she would have not eaten the fruit, but she ate the fruit by herself. Women's sin nature is relational independence, and what Ephesians 5 says is, "As you wouldn't make a decision without Jesus, you don't make a decision without your husband. You talk to your husband, and you make sure that he's okay with it before you do it". Okay.

So, that's what it said. So, that's her sin nature. So, Adam had a different sin nature. So, his wife is standing right here. She's close to him. She's standing right here, and she's talking to this creeping thing that crept up. Well what's the importance about that? In Genesis 1, God commanded Adam, "Take dominion over every creeping thing that creeps on the Earth". You realize in Genesis 1, God was giving Adam a heads up to how the devil was gonna attack him? In order for you to take dominion over the Earth, you've gotta deal with this creeping thing that's gonna creep up. So, Eve is sitting right here, talking to this serpent, the devil, right here, and how does Adam respond? Men, relational passivity, we check out. Women become independent, and we check out.

And so, that's why Ephesians 5 says twice as much to men as it does to women. God is saying, "Let me tell you something, bud. You love your wife sacrificially. You nourish and cherish her as you would your own body," and it gives much more detail to the men than it does to the women. So when women respect Ephesians 5, it crucifies their relational independence. When men respect it, it crucifies our passivity. But without that, we're not gonna have the kind of marriage, let me say this another way. God wants to love your spouse through you. I don't know if you realize that or not. You're the physical vessel through which God wants to love your spouse, and he can't love your spouse through your sin nature. He can only love your spouse through his Word in Ephesians 5. He wants to love your wife. You can't be passive and do that. He wants you to love your husband. You can't be independent and do that.

And so, you are the physical vessel where he wants to do that. Ephesians 5 closes the door on the devil and crucifies our sin nature. One more thing. The standards in Ephesians 5 sensitize us to be able to understand and meet our spouse's most important need. If you say, "You know something, Lord, I'm going to be that person, that husband, that wife, in Ephesians 5," you will automatically meet your spouse's most important need. It's respect for a man, and it's security for a woman. Let me talk about how we hear for just a minute. So, for years in our marriage, I was checked out. Karen was trying to tell me what was wrong. I just didn't hear, and when I communicated to Karen, I communicated horribly to her.

So, women hear through ears of security. Men hear through ears of respect. If you don't speak security to your wife, she can't hear. You're communicating the wrong thing. If you don't communicate respect to your husband, he can't hear. So, if you say, "Jesus, I am committed to being a godly husband according to Ephesians 5, a godly wife according to Ephesians 5", when a man is speaking security to his wife, regardless of what the conversation is about, here's what she needs to hear: "I love you, and there's nothing I won't do for you. I will sacrificially, to my hurt, I will sacrificially love you for the rest of my life, and I will meet all of your needs. You don't have to say anything twice, and you never have to nag or beg. You say it one time, it's done. I'm yours. My heart is turned toward you. You're the most important thing in my life".

That's what she wants to hear. And when she hears that, when you're communicating, whatever the conversation is, whenever you're communicating security to her, you're meeting her most important need, and she gets comforted. And she opens her heart, and that's where intimacy and goodwill come from. When you're communicating to your husband, here's what he needs to hear: "You're a good man. I believe in you. I'm glad I chose you. I believe in who you are and in God's plan for your life, and you're going to make it. You've got what it takes". When a man hears those words, it meets our most important need. Whatever the conversation is, we need that tone in the conversation. And both of us then are comforted, and both of us come to the point now where all of our most important needs are met. We become attractive to each other. We both achieve our destiny. Our sin nature is crucified, and we meet each other's most important needs. It's perfect.

The roles in Ephesians 5 are perfect. Let me say this. I know some of you are here, and you may have a marriage to where you feel like you're the only one trying. You know, Jimmy, I'm willing to do this, but my spouse is not willing to. I heard a saying one time, and it's "the best person does the right thing first". And the way to change your marriage is to change yourself. So Karen went to a Bible study. I was just horrible husband. Horrible husband. We were Christians, and we went to church. I was a terrible husband. She went to a Bible study, and the Bible study teacher was teaching the women how to pray for their husbands. Well, Karen didn't pray for me at that point. We fought a lot. And so she went to this Bible study, and she believed the teaching. And she told the Lord: "I want you to change Jimmy. I'm just going to pray. And I want you to change me".

Well, so she came home that day from that Bible study, and what I noticed was she wasn't fighting anymore. And you know, the equilibrium of our home changed because I was still the same idiot, but she just wasn't engaging me. And she wasn't responding... I remember one day I was just being a total idiot, and I was sitting in the living room watching football and completely ignoring her. And she walked in and put, she had lunch on a little tray. And she put it on my lap and kissed me on the cheek, and she walked off. And I thought, "Well, don't do that. Fight me like a man". You know. "That's not fair". And I started feeling bad, and I thought I'm not a good husband.

See, before, when she was fighting with me, I always thought I'm Mr. Wonderful and she's the problem. But when she started praying for me and started treating me better than I deserved, that's when my heart began to change, and that's what changed our marriage. The best person does the right thing first. And so, rather than using your spouse's behavior as an excuse or your spouse as an excuse, just say, "God, I'm committed". I can tell you this. If you're a husband, regardless of how many mistakes you've made, you tell your wife: "I love you, and I'll give my life for you. And for the rest of my life, I'm gonna be a Christ-like husband. I'm gonna nurture and cherish you until you become all God wants you to be. I'm not gonna hold you down. I'm not gonna dominate you. I'm not gonna ignore you. I'm turning my heart to you. And I wanna be a good husband".

It'll work. You tell your husband: "I love you, honey, and I'm going to respect you and honor you as I would Jesus". It'll work. God's ways are perfect. God's ways are perfect. Marriage doesn't work for society because they've rejected God. They've rejected the Bible. But I can tell you, as a very immature, ignorant young man, I got married at 19 years old. At 22 years old is when God changed our marriage. And the reason that God uses me, it's a very important reason. There's a reason why God uses me, and that is if I can do it, anybody can do it. If I can succeed in marriage, any human being can succeed in marriage. If it were not for the grace of Jesus saving our marriage, I'd be divorced multiple times if I would still be alive. And I'm saying to you there's hope for marriage. I'm saying to you, if you're single today, don't listen to all the voices telling you marriage doesn't work and it's not for you.

God is telling you this morning marriage is for you. And you have a 100% chance of success. If you've been married and you feel scarred and cynical about it, forgive anybody that's done you wrong. You know, ask God to forgive you of anything you've done wrong, but say, listen to this, don't give up on marriage. You need marriage to achieve your full potential and to have the kind of life that God wants you to have. Marriage is from God, and he created it for us. If you're married right now, and maybe you're having a tough time in marriage, put your feet down, commit, and commit to doing it God's way. I was failing in marriage because I did everything wrong. And I can tell you, when we began to do marriage God's way, it transformed our lives. It transformed our family. I want you to bow your heads with me if you would.

Lord, we just come to you today, and many of us have suffered because of a bad marriage, maybe our parents's, maybe our own bad marriage or whatever. And Lord, we just pray that you'll heal our hearts. I pray for every hopeless person listening to my voice right now that hope would be rekindled in their hearts. Maybe they've decided they'll never get married. Maybe they've decided that they'll never get married again. I pray that you'll rekindle that hope within them and that you'll bring them the person that you've chosen for them, and they will have a flourishing life in a flourishing marriage. And I pray for every person listening to my voice right now that is married. I pray that you'll bless them. I pray that you'll give them strength and hope and grace, that you'll heal them from anything that has been said to them or done to them that hurt them. And I'm praying, Lord, this morning. Holy Spirit, you're the Spirit of truth. In the way that only you can do it, I pray that you would impress on our hearts today the role in Ephesians 5 that you've called us to and that you would give us grace to do it. Forgive us for all the things we've done wrong. Thank you that you're such a gracious and forgiving God. And fill us with your Holy Spirit today, and give us the grace to change and become the person you want us to be. In Jesus's name. Amen.

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