By David J. Riggs

   A. God ordained marriage for the good of humanity. Gen. 2:18,
      1. God wants husband and wife to be happy in the marriage
         relationship. Eccl. 9:9
      2. God hates divorce. Mal. 2:14-16
   B. Thus, God wants marriage to be for life. He wants it to endure.
      He wants it to be pleasant.
      1. It behooves all who want to please God to work hard at
         maintaining their marriages.
   C. God has given specific instructions in His Word on the proper
      behavior of husbands and wives.
      1. Following those instructions assures us of a good
         relationship here, and it also assures us of our eternal
   D. Let's consider various passages on love and apply them to the
      marriage relationship. See Chart #1 below.

I. "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Matt. 22:39
   A. Rom. 13:8-9
      1. Thus, every command that deals with our relationship with
         other people can be summed up in - "Love thy neighbor as
      2. See Chart #2 below on the word "neighbor."
         a. My married companion meets all of these requirements.
            Is there anyone in this whole world that's a closer
            neighbor than a wife or husband?
      3. The command says, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
         a. Eph. 5:28-33
         b. Thus, love thy wife as thyself. Vs. 28
         c. Love your wife as you love your own flesh. Vs. 29
         d. In reality, the two become one flesh. Vs. 31
         e. Vs. 33 - He repeats - "as himself."
            (1) There are times when we don't like ourselves. 
                Perhaps when we get up in the morning, or when
                we have done something wrong, but we get over
            (2) There are times when we don't like our mates -
                when they have done something wrong - but we
                can get over it.
      4. Titus 2:4 - Wives love your husbands.
         a. Even when there are times when they are not very
            lovable, we need to do our part in following God's
         b. God did not say, "You love your spouse, when they
            love you."
         c. We must always do our part, even when we are not
            loved and appreciated.

II. "Let brotherly love continue."  Heb. 13:1; 1 Pet. 1:22
   A. When a man is a Christian and a woman is a Christian, and they
      are married, they have a special relationship.
      1. Have you ever thought of this before? When both are
         Christians, they have double responsibility to love each    
   B. Let's look at passages on brotherly love.
      1. Rom. 12:9 - Husband and wife should have a love that is
         genuine and real.
      2. Rom. 12:10 - If that brother is also your husband, it has
         double application.
      3. Col. 3:12-14 - Love is at the top of the list. Find out what
         love is and practice it.
      4. Eph. 4:1-3 - We repeat: all of the basic principles which
         apply to our relation to one another as brethren, apply in  
         our marriages.
      5. Eph. 4:31-5:2 - Not walking in bitterness and hate, but in
         love, even as Christ loved us.
      6. 1 John 3:18 - Don't just love in speech. Some don't even do
         that. They don't say, "I love you" or similar expressions.
         a. We need to tell our brethren once in a while, "I love
            you," "I appreciate you," "you've been an
            encouragement," or "you're doing a good work."
         b. If that sister is our wife, or that brother is our       
            husband, we need to express our appreciation even more   
         c. To extremes:
            (1) Someone wrote a complaint to the "Dear Abby"
                column: "In our community, there is a husband
                and wife who begin early every morning screaming
                to each other, 'Honey, I love you' and wake up the
                whole neighborhood."
            (2) The wife asks, "Honey do you love me?" The
                husband replies, "I told you once that I loved you,
                and if I ever change my mind, I will let you know."
         d. Love is not in word or speech only, but in deed and
            truth. It is not enough just to say it. Words are cheap.
            We need to show it.
      7. John 13:34-35 - How many Christians have proved
         otherwise, that they are not the Lord's disciples, by their 
         bad marriages?
         a. The greatest tragedy in a bad marriage is what it does to
            the children.
         b. It's hard enough to rear up faithful children in good
            godly homes. However, when there is no love, the
            probability of those children remaining faithful
            Christians when they are older becomes almost
            absolutely zero.

III. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." Rom. 13:10
   A. Prov. 31:10-12
      1. We do not do harm to our companions, but good. We do not
         hurt them emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually, or in
         any other way.
   B. The following "Sweetheart Secrets" are copied from a church
      bulletin. Author Unknown.
      1. Compliments - Everyone likes to be complimented. Just a
         comment such as, "You look especially nice in that
         dress/suit" builds love.
      2. Little remembrances - The husband goes to the store and
         sees something that his wife would like, and he buys it for
         her. One rose doesn't cost much, and can be appreciated as
         much as a dozen.
      3. Little surprises - the wife picks up the phone and is       
         delighted when her husband says, "Just thought we could meet
         for lunch."
      4. Little notes - We wrote letters when we were courting. Why
         can we do it now?
      5. Little phone calls - This is one of the easiest ways to do
         something nice for your sweetheart. Just a quick, "I'm
         thinking of you," or "I love you, honey" makes the day go
      6. Anticipating a need and meeting it - When husband has
         worked long hours, he does not need to come home to a
         long list of things the wife wants him to do.
      7. Withholding criticism - Sometimes it is what we don't say,
         that expresses our love. It is not wise to "add insult to   
         injury" by severely criticizing the one who is already      
         hurting. We add to this list: "Forgiveness" - "He who covers
         a transgression seeks love..." Prov. 17:9; 1 Pet. 4:8
   C. What happens when you do good to others. Rom. 12:17-21
      1. You may have heard about the woman in Alabama who sued
         her husband for divorce. She told the judge she had nagged
         and nagged the man, but couldn't get him to do right. The
         judge asked the woman if she had tried the Bible principle
         where it says to "heap coals of fire on his head." The woman
         answered, "No, but I don't think it will work. I've already
         tried boiling water, and that didn't do any good." 

IV. "Love your enemy." Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:27
   A. Someone might say, "What has this got to do with, "Love in
      1. We've all seen situations where marriage partners have
         become enemies.
      2. It should not be that way, but sometimes it happens.
         a. Efforts should be made that we do not become enemies.
            Peace needs to be offered; a truce needs to be drawn.
            (1) "The best way to get rid of enemies is to make
                friends out of them."
      3. What should you do when someday you realize that the
         person next to you is your worst enemy, or when you see
         that you are constantly at war with each other?
         a. "Love your enemies."
            (1) This goes against our natural inclination. We are
                inclined to hate our enemies, but God wants us to
                love them.
      4. Luke 6:27-28 - Sometimes our mates do that - hate us,
         spitefully use us.
         a. But when they do, we do the opposite to them. This
            makes us like God. Matt. 5:44-48
            (1) God is good to His enemies. He sends the sun and
                rain on them, in spite of their rebellion toward

   A. God designed marriage for our good.
      1. Anything worthwhile takes effort.
      2. Let's work hard at making our marriages what they ought to
      3. This is for our good. It makes for a better life here.  It  
         builds toward our eternal welfare.
   B. Have you obeyed the gospel in order to become a child of God?
      1. Hear - John 6:44-45; Believe - Heb. 11:6; Repent - Acts
         17:30; Confess - Rom. 10:9; Be baptized to put on Christ -
         Gal. 3:26-27
      2. Have you confessed your faith in Christ, repented, and been
         baptized for the remission of your sins?
   C. If you are a Christian who has fallen into sin, why not repent 
      and return to God?
      1. Repent and Pray. 1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22

Chart #1
Love In Marriage

"Love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matt. 22:39)

"Let brotherly love continue." (Heb. 13:1)

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." (Rom. 13:10)

"Love your enemy." (Matt. 5:43-48)

Chart #2
1. Geitoµn, lit., one living in the same land, denotes a neighbor,
always plural in the N.T., Luke 14:12; 15:6, 9; John 9:8.

2. Perioikos, an adjective, lit., dwelling around (peri, around,
oikos, a dwelling), is used as a noun in Luke 1:58, "neighbors."

3. Pleµsion, the neuter of the adjective pleµsios (from pelas, near),
is used as an adverb accompanied by the article, lit., 'the (one)
near;' hence, one's neighbor..."