Selfish ungodly persons everywhere enter into all kinds of relationships with a desire of serving their ownselves, and gratifying their own flesh without knowing or caring what is required of them. Their desire is for the honour, profit, or pleasure their relationship will provide them but not for what God and man requires or expects from them. [Gen 2:18, Prov 18:22] Their mind is concerned only with what they shall have and not for what they shall be and do.1
They know what they want others to do for them, but do not care what their duty is to do for others. This is the way it is with too many husbands and wives.
We should be very concerned to know what the duties of our relationships are. And how we can please God in our relationships. Study and do your part, and God will certainly do his.
Direct. I. The first duty of husbands is to love their wives (and wives their husbands). Eph 5.25,28,29,33. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies; he that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.Let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself." See Gen 2.24.
Some directions for maintaining love are as follows:
Direct. II. Husbands and wives must live together. 1 Cor 7:25
Direct III. Abhor not only adultery itself, but all that leads to unchasteness and the violation of your marriagecovenant. [Mat 5.31,32; 19:9; John 8,45, of adultery; Heb 13.4; Prov 22.14; Hos 4.23; Prov 2.17; 1 Cor 6.15,19; Mal. 2.15; Prov 6.32,35; Deu 23.2; Lev 21.9; 18:28; Num 25.9; Jer 5.79]
Direct. IV. Husband and wife must delight in the love and company, and lives of each other. When husband and wife take pleasure in each other, it unites them in duty, it helps them with ease to do their work, and bear their burdens; and is a major part of the comfort of marriage. [Prov 5.18,19]
Direct. V. It is your solemn duty to live in quietness and peace. To avoid every occasion of fierce anger and discord.
[I. Directions showing the great necessity of avoiding dissension.]
[II. Directions for avoiding dissensions.]
Direct. VI. One of the most important duties of a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband is to carefully, skillfully, and diligently help each other in the knowledge and worship, and obedience of God that they might be saved and grow in their Christian Life.
Therefore without a moment's hesitation determine to live together as heirs of heaven, and to be a helper to one other's souls. To assist you in this holy pursuit I will give you these following directions, which if you will faithfully practice, may make you to be special blessings to each other.
Direct. I. Before you can help to save each other's souls you must be sure of your own. You must have a deep and living understanding of the great eternal matters of which you are required to speak to others about. If you have no compassion for your own soul and will sell it for a moment of ease and pleasure, surely then you have no compassion for your spouse's soul.29
Direct. II. Take every opportunity which your nearness provides to be speaking seriously to each other about the matters of God, and your salvation.30 Discussing those things of this world no more than required. And then talk together of the state and duty of your souls towards God, and of your hopes of heaven, as those that take these for their greatest business. And don't speak lightly, or unreverently, or in a rude and disputing manner; but with gravity and sobriety, as those that are discussing the most important things in the whole world. [Mark 8:36]
Direct. III. When either husband or wife is speaking seriously about holy things, let the other be careful to cherish, and not to extinguish the conversation.31
Direct IV. Watch over the hearts and lives of one another, judging the condition of each other's souls, and the strength or weakness of each others sins and graces, and the failings of each others lives, so that you may be able to apply to one another the most suitable help.32
Direct. V. Do not flatter one another from a foolish love.33 Neither meanly critise one another. Do all in true, Godly love. Some are so blinded to the faults of husband, wife or child that they do not see the sin and wickedness in them. They are deluded concerning their eternal souls. This is the same as it is with self loving sinners and their own souls, willfully deceiving themselves to their damnation. This flattering of yourselves or others, is but the devil's charm to keep you from effectual repentance and salvation. On the other hand, some cannot speak to one another of their faults, without such bitterness, or contempt, which will cause them to refuse the medicine that could save them. If the everyday warnings you make to strangers must all be offered in love, much more between the husband and wife.
Direct. VI. Keep up your love to one another, do not grow distant. For if you do, you will despise each other's counsels and reproofs.
Direct. VII. Do not discourage your spouse from instructing you by refusing to receive and learn from their corrections.34
Direct. VIII. Help each other by reading together the most convicting, cutting, lifegiving books. The ones most spiritual. Do not waste your time on light, weak, milktoast ministries and books. Make friendships together with the holiest persons. This is not neglecting your duty to one another, but that all the helps working together may be the more effectual.35
Direct. IX. Don't Conceal the state of your souls, nor hide your faults from one another. You are as one flesh, and should have one heart: and as it is dangerous for a man to be ignorant of his own soul so it is very hurtful to husband or wife to be ignorant of one another, in those areas where they have need of help.36
Direct X. Avoid as much as possible different opinions in religion.
Direct. XI. If different religious understandings come between you, be sure that you manage it with holiness, humility, love, and peace, and not with carnality, pride, uncharitableness, or contention.
Direct. XII. Do not either blindly indulge each others faults nor be too critical of each other's state, allowing Satan to alienate your affections from one another.
Direct. XIII. If you are married to one that is an ungodly person, yet keep up all the love which is due for the relation's sake.37
Direct XIV. Join together in frequent and fervent prayer. Prayer forces the mind into sobriety, and moves the heart with the presence and majesty of God. Pray also for each other when you are in secret, that God may do that work which you most desire, upon each other's hearts.
Direct. XV. Lastly, Help each other by an exemplary life. Be yourself, what you desire your husband or wife should be; excel in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and diligence, and selfdenial, and patience.38
Direct. VII. Another important duty in marriage is, to help in the health and comfort of each other's bodies. Not to pamper each other's flesh, or cherish the vices of pride, or sloth, or gluttony, or the sensual pleasures in each other; but to increase the health and vigor of the body, making it fit for the service of the soul and God.
Direct. VIII. Another duty of husbands and wives is, to be helpful to each other in their worldly business and estates. Not for worldly ends, nor with a worldly mind; but in obedience to God, who will have them labour, as well as pray, for their daily bread, and has determined that in the sweat of their brows they shall eat their bread; and that six days they shall labor and do all that they have to do; and that he that will not work must not eat.41
Direct IX. Also you must be careful to guard the honour of one another. You must not divulge, but conceal, the failings of each other; The reputation of each other must be as dear to you as your own. It is a sinful and unfaithful practice of many, both husbands and wives, who among their friends are discussing the faults of each other, which they are required in tenderness to cover up. MANY peevish persons will aggravate all the faults of their spouse behind their backs.42
Direct X. IT is your marriage duty to assist one another in the education of your children.43
Direct XI. It is your marriage duty to assist each other in charity.44
Direct XII. LASTLY, it is a great DUTY of husbands and wives, to help and comfort one other in preparing for a safe and happy death.45
1< Luk 6:31-32; 1 Cor 10:24; Gal 6:2; Phil 2:4; 2 Tim 3:2; Jam 2:15; 1 Joh 3:17; Gen 4:9; 1 Sam 25:3-11; Esth 6:6; Isa 56:11; Joh 6:26
2 Pro 18:22; Pro 19:13-14
3 Pro 18:13
4 Mat 5:32; Mat 19:9; 1 Cor 7:39; Col 3:19; Gen 2:24
5 Mat 19:5; Mar 10:7
6 1 Cor 13:7; Phil 2:3
7 Psa 103:14; 1 Cor 13:7
8 Pro 10:12
9 Rom 12:21; 1 Pet 3:9
10 Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1 The 2:12; Pro 11:30; 1 Tim 4:16; Jam 5:19-20; 1 Pet 3:12
11 Pro 19:13
12 Mat 5:23; 1 Sam 15:22
13 Mat 12:25; Mar 3:25; Luk 11:17
14 Jam 1:13; 1 Cor 7:5; Job 2:9
15 Lev 19:8; Psa 133:1; Pro 15:17; Rom 12:10; Rom 14:19; Rom 15:1; 1 Cor 13:47
16 Luk 9:23; Psa 101:5; Prov 16:5; Prov 21:4; Prov 28:25; Mat 23:12; 1 Pet 5:6
17 Psa 10:4; Hos 7:10; Prov 13:10; Prov 28:25
18 Jer 17:9; Rom 7:24; 1 Joh 1:8
19 Eph 4:26; Eph 4:32; Jam 1:19
20 Eph 4:2; 1 Cor 13:4
21 Ecc 9:9; Rom 7:2
22 Gen 2:24
23 Gal 5:15; Jam 3:5,6,8
24 Pro 15:18; Mat 5:9; Psa 85:8
25 Eph 4:32; Jam 5:16
26 2Cor 2:4; 2Cor 12:15; 1The 2:8
27 Gen 2:18 1 The 5:11; Eph 4:16; Heb 12:15; 1 Cor 7:5; Col 2:19; Gen 35:2; Gen 35:4; Lev 19:17; Num 16:27; Num 16:32
29 Gen 2:18; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 6:3; Gen 25:29; Gen 25:34
30 Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:24
31 Pro 27:6; Pro 15:12; Pro 15:31; Pro 15:32
32 Heb 10:24
33 Eph 4:15; Eph 4:26-5:9
34 Pro 29:1
35 Eph 4:11-16
36 Jam 5:16; Eph 5:27-32
37 1 Cor 7:13-14
38 1 Pe 3:1; Joh 13:15; 1 Tim 4:12; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 The 1:6; 2 The 3:7-9; Tit 2:6; Jam 3:17; 2 Pe 1:58
39 39 1 Cor 6:19; Deu 21:20; Pro 23:21; Pro 19:15; Pro 6:9; Pro 10:4;2 Th 3:10 Pro 19:24; Pro 20:13; Pro 23:21; Pro 24:33; Isa 56:10; 1 Tim 5:13
40 Eph 5:29, Job 19:17
41 Pro 31; Tit 2:5; 1 Ti 5:14; 1 Ti 5:8; Ex 20:9,11; Ge 3:19; 1 Th 3:10-12
42 Jam 4:11; Pro 17:9; 1 Pet 4:8
43 Gen 18:19; Gen 35:2; Jos 24:14; 1 Tim 5:14; Prov 31:1
44 Heb 13:2; Gen 18:6; Rom 12:13; 2 Cor 9:6; Luk 16:9; 1 Tim 3:2; 1 Tim 5:10; Pro 11:20; Pro 11:28; Neh 8:1; Pro 19:17; Job 29:13; Acts 20:35
45 Deu 32:29; Psa 39:4; Psa 90:12; Rom 14:8; Heb 13:14; 1 Pe 1:17; Psa 3:5; Psa 37:37; Psa 49:15; Psa 73:24; Psa 116:15; Pro 14:32; Ecc 7:1; Luk 16:22; Luk 23:43; 1 Cor 15:51-57; 2 Cor 5:1; 2 Cor 5:4; 2 Cor 5:8; Phi 1:20-23; 1 The 5:9; 2 Pe 1:11; 2 Pe 1:14; Rev 14:13; Psa 23:4