When I came out to Nova Scotia to visit my mom, I came with a hurting heart full of despair. My marriage was failing and I was quite literally prepared (in thought) to leave my husband and let him deal with the problems we faced at home. I went to the local beach and took my Bible and notebook and determined to spend some much needed time with God. It was there that I had an encounter with God like no other time in my life. God met me where I was at and when He heard my prayer for answers regarding my marriage, He responded. He spoke gently but firmly to my hard heart that what I needed to do was go home and submit to my husband. As some may well imagine, I didn't receive these words with grace. In fact, I had myself a bit of temper tantrum, complaining about the fact that it wasn't I that needed to change, but it was him! I thoroughly believed that I had done all to be a model wife in our marriage. Slowly but surely, God began to soothe my aching heart and He gently showed me the truth. I came to God with the motive to get Him to change my husband but He showed me the opposite was needed. When I softened at His touch, I cried. I did not want to continue disobeying and disappointing God. I came to seek Him and I discovered that He was there for me. I believe God listens to the hearts of genuine seekers. My prayer ~"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." Psalm 63:1 God's response ~ "I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me." Proverbs 8:17
Even though we are both professing Christians, I can safely say that I rarely let God into my marriage. God existed in my life but He was very distant and untouchable. We were regular church attenders but we failed understanding real Christian living. I desired to have a close relationship with God, but struggled with many issues that prevented that. I lacked trust in God and trust in people, especially my husband. I do not, in any way, wish to discredit my husband as I share our experiences. I only purpose to journal my responses to difficult circumstances and record my steps to victory and healing. By God's unfailing grace, it is my goal to have the marriage God promised me should I choose to allow Him in and follow His ways. God is the Author of marriage, so it stands to reason that He knows how to make a marriage work. "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:22-24
Marriage is like a ship sailing on an ocean, where smooth seas can be violently assaulted with high winds, cloudy skies and deep waves from time to time. The main positions filled on every ship include Captains, First Mates and Second Mates. The captain or master is the ship's highest responsible officer, acting on behalf of the ship's owner. The Chief Officer or First mate is the head of the deck department on a merchant vessel, second-in-command after the ship's Master. The Chief mate's primary responsibilities are the vessel's cargo operations, its stability, and supervising the deck crew. The mate is responsible for the safety and security of the ship, as well as the welfare of the crew on board. The Second officer or Second mate is a qualified watch stander, directing the bridge team and navigating the ship. The Second mate is the 3rd most experienced deck department officer after the Captain/Master and Chief mate. The Second mate's primary duty is navigational, which includes updating charts and publications, keeping them current, making passage plans, and all aspects of ship navigation. The Second mate's other duties may include directing line handlers, cargo watches, directing anchor detail and training and instructing crew members.
We can easily draw a parallel of these ship positions to the intended roles of a Godly marriage. God is the owner of the ship or marriage. The Captain should be Jesus our Master. The First Mate is the husband and the Second Mate is the wife. The crew members are the children. Everyone knows plainly that there is only one Captain and First Mate and all the others serve under their direction. The very same logic can be applied to marriage. Too many doing the same job creates chaos. Each member of the team is needed and important. Look again at the duties. I had a blast paralleling those as well.
1. First Mate is head ~ Husbands are head.
2. First Mates are responsible to the Captain and report to him ~ the Husband is responsible before God to carry out his duties.
3. The First Mate is responsible for the safety and security of all the crew onboard ~ The Husband is responsible to provide security for his wife and family.
4. Second Mate is Second in Command and is responsible to the First Mate ~ Wives are submitted to their husbands allowing him to lead.
5. Second Mates navigate, do chart work, instruct the crew members, watch over other affairs of the ship ~ Wives are in charge when the husband is away and she serves to help the Husband. She is the keeper of the home, she presides over activity calendars and chore charts and makes sure the children are educated.
God's order of authority can be found in other organizations throughout our world. Marriage is no different.