S: Malachi 2:13-16 Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
Unlike the prevailing cultural norms of the day that devalue women, St. Peter points out that women are equal partners in God's gift of new life. (Older translations, e.g. the KJV, say put it as “heirs together of the grace of life”. The prevailing cultural norms of the day allowed men to lord it over their wives, and sometimes treat them as property.
A: Most of us do not regard our spouses as our property anymore, but many of us persist in our selfish ways. I struggle daily to consider Juliane's needs and feelings. I would prefer to just sit in front of the computer and look at Facebook, read my science fiction, etc. but Juliane wants to spend time with me and talk. As a typical man, I find it very hard to talk without a topic, especially in the area of feelings. But I have to discipline myself to do so anyway, because my wife needs it.
In a similar manner, Juliane does many things for me that she might not prefer to do, because it makes me happy. In our mutual giving to each other, and putting each other's needs before our own, we end up becoming more conformed to Christ, and also have a more fulfilling life. A life of selfishness only is gratifying on the short-term. In the long-term, it makes for a shallow and miserable existence without the blessing of God.
Neither of us do this perfectly. In fact, I know that I fall short virtually every day. Time and again we have to ask each other for forgiveness. We're still on the journey of being brought into conformity with Christ. But that shouldn't stop us from aiming in that direction.
P: Father, thank You for the gift of my wife, with whom I am becoming one flesh. Forgive me where I fall short of Your standards, and thank You for forgiveness. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)