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What does it mean to have a joyous marriage? Does it mean that husband and wife never argue? Is it that compromise is never a thought because both parties are always holding their tongues and just living with something they hate? What does a joyous marriage look like? Is it constant smiles, sunshine, and butterfly kisses? Is a joyous marriage a synonym of a happy, uneventful, uncontroversial marriage? Is a joyous marriage one in which both parties are satisfied and content with their lot? Well, what does God say on the matter on a joyous marriage? Well, through the hand of St. Paul God says, "22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Ephesians 5:22-33). A joyous marriage is not one that is self-centered, but rather a sacrificial relationship in which the Husband loves his wife and the wife respects her husband. A joyous marriage is one that finds its fulfillment and satisfaction not in the opinions of the world or the pleasures of the flesh, but rather in a mutual reception of Holy Absolution.
A joyous marriage is not something a husband and wife can create, but rather is a gift that only Jesus can give. He gives joy and love to a marriage in His Word of Holy Absolution. For the greatest gift a husband can give to his wife, and vice versa, is the gift of forgiveness. Everyday a husband should cover his wife in the righteousness of Christ, and everyday a wife should stain all her husbands thoughts, words, and deeds with the blood of Jesus. A marriage that is founded on forgiveness is a truly joyous marriage because there are no grudges, no upper hands, no compromises, no arguments that end with going to bed in anger. Forgiveness is what a joyous marriage looks like. The union between man and wife is one that is daily attacked by the devil, ridiculed by the world, and burdened by sin. Marriage, then, is not something sinful man and woman can sustain, but rather a union that only Jesus can keep together. Man and wife must despair of any other joy and happiness except that which is found in the wounds of Jesus. When this is the couples happiness and joy, then the marriage is a strong bond that grows in delight daily. May God grant to every marriage joy in the words of absolution that drowns all sin and sorrow and leaves a happy union where Husbands love their wives and wives respect their husbands.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. You are mine forever," Amen.