HAPPINESS FOR HUSBANDS AND WIVES
(from the Breath of Life Series by C. D. Brooks)
transcribed and edited by Derek Morris
Our topic tonight is “Happiness for Husbands and Wives.” The Bible says, concerning our day, in 2 Timothy 3:1, “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy without natural affection, trucebreakers...” Now, I’m going to stop right there, but Paul lists nineteen prevailing sins of the last days that will actually make those days perilous or dangerous, and among those things he catalogs: trucebreakers--people who will not keep their vows, who will not keep their promises, and without natural affection. It is unnatural for a man and a woman to be husband and wife and not continue in natural affection one to the other.
Jesus looked down the stream of time to the last days, and it was Jesus who said in Matthew 24:37-38, “As it was in the days of Noah, when they were marrying and giving in marriage...” When they were marrying for any kind of reason and getting divorces for just any kind of reason. Christ said it will be like that just before the coming of the Son of Man. He also said, “As it was in the days of Lot...” And Lot lived in Sodom. The word Sodom gives us the word Sodomy, that comes down from that age and that town. Sodomy refers to numerous kinds of perversion including lesbianism and homosexuality which were the principle sins of Sodom. For that reason, God destroyed those cities with fire. Jesus said the same in our day. In our day, the statistics are alarming. One out of every two marriages might end in divorce. My friends who have respect for God and His word, may I assure you tonight, God never intended that it should be that way. Christ never intended that people should get married and then break up for just any kind of reason. God had just one thing in mind when He instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden. By the way, as we said two nights ago, God did it, and when people today put down marriage, they are insulting God with a most loathsome kind of contempt.
For it was God’s idea. Now if people say it’s a stupid idea, they are calling God stupid. In Genesis 2 you have the intimate story of the marriage of our first parents. The Bible says that God created Adam first. And then the Bible says that “God saw”--who saw? “God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, and therefore made the woman to be an helpmeet for him.” Now, that word does not mean “help meet expenses”! It comes from a Hebrew word which to means someone to answer him. Someone to talk to him.
God made this beautiful woman as a companion for Adam. God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep the record says, and extracted from his side, a rib. God fashioned around that rib a woman. God didn’t need Adam’s rib to make him a wife. But God wanted this intimate relationship to be so close that Adam could say after Eve was created, “She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She’s a part of me.” And the woman could say, “I’m a part of him and he’s a part of me.” That’s how God wants his couples to be in their relationship one to the other.
Incidentally, lots of marriages would get along better if they left father and mother, and if some of these in-laws and outlaws would stop meddling. But today the institution of marriage is under attack. People think it’s smug and cute to belittle marriage. Let me give a commercial for marriage: It’s still the best thing going. The people who just shack up are just acting like the animals out in the wild. They do that! But we who are made in the image of God and who have the capacity to think and reason, if we are intelligent we eventually come to the conclusion that man cannot go against God and be happy. Therefore those who just shack up are insecure and scared. You read about it in their confessions. God’s way is still the best way. It’s the best thing going for the stability of the home, for the security of children, and for the dignity of man. And may I say something about dignity? It is more important what you think of yourself than what others think of you. One reason people are so easily satisfied with the scum of the earth is because they don’t think they deserve anything better. And the reason they don’t think they deserve anything better is because they know that in those private hours they have cheapened their own persons. They have blighted their own characters. They have violated their own consciences. They have lost respect for themselves. That’s why you young girls ought to make fellows keep their hands to themselves. Your body is sacred. You are somebody.
Now, the movie stars and the folks who grab the attention of the public are getting on television and looking straight into the camera and saying, “Oh, we just live together. He’s my lover.” Like animals. Make no mistake about it, I’m not trying to be rough; I’m trying to tell the truth. They are like animals. The thing that absolutely makes me disgusted is that so many clergymen today are joining that kind of thing. Would I be out of order to tell you that to live that way is a sin and it is never right to sin? The institution of marriage was ordained of God, founded by Him for the good of man. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” When He founded marriage it was for man’s good; not to create a problem for man but for his good, and for the good of society, to be a blessing to the human race. I want to tell you something tonight: Friends, no society has ever endured when it finally found only contempt for marriage and broke down the family institution. No society has ever endured that.
You want to know why we have so much trouble in schools today? It’s because of the bad homes that these young boys and girls come from. You want to know why there’s so much trouble in church? It’s because these folk come out of tense and up-tight homes, and they’ve got to take it out on someone, and since they can’t take it out on their husbands, they take it out on the preacher. The home is the foundation of the school and the church and the community, and if you expect these to go well, then you need some homes that go well.
Today, the Devil has made such an attack on marriage that almost anything goes in its place: common lawism, infidelity, adultery, philandering. And homes, instead of being little heavens on earth, have become arenas where people think they should meet to fight and curse and call one another profane names. God is not pleased with that. Friends, please listen to me. The Bible says that God wants His people to be peculiar: distinctive, distinguishable. Now, I’ve got sense enough to know that God’s Word is not going to straighten out this whole valley, but it certainly ought to straighten out believers. It ought to straighten out church-folk.
Let me tell you, in this rotten age you don’t have to stand on your head to be peculiar. All you have to do is live right and you are! Amen? Today, if you want to be peculiar, all you have to do is be true to your wife, and folks look at you and think you’re from outer space! One of the last day signs is that men would be trucebreakers and without natural affection. Today marriages are dissolved for almost any reason. I heard of a case where a man was awarded a divorce because his wife had twelve cats. Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, if he were a man he could get rid of the cats. I don’t think it was the cats; it was the chicks. I heard of another instance where a wife divorced her husband because the poor fellow snored! Any little thing. Now they have no-fault divorce. You don’t even have to have a reason any more to comply with the law. I’ll tell you what the reason is: somewhere there is selfishness and sin and lust and adultery. Now, it doesn’t have to be on both parts, but somebody has let God down. And you can’t be true to one another until you desire to be true to God. Would you say Amen?
But those who suffer the most are the children. Little children, if they are going to be born, have the right to be born in a home where love is. Children who grow up where parents curse and fuss and fight do not do well in school. Their little bodies are all twisted and tied into knots. They can’t even digest their food. They are insecure and timid. The jails are full of young men and young women whose parents didn’t get along. Nearly every time they pick up a runaway teenager on the highway, that runaway teenager will explain, my mother and father are divorced, or they fight or they aren’t kind to one another. Juvenile delinquency is the product of adult delinquency. Make no mistake about it.
One of the basic problems is that folks start wrong. Some of these marriages folks get themselves into--no wonder they can’t make them work! It’s because they start wrong. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 (you ought to write that down), “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” The more you study that text, the more wisdom you see there.
There are people who are so incompatible, they ought not get married in the first place. If a man is eighty years old, he’s got no business marrying a nineteen-year-old girl. He can’t handle it. Every time she goes out to the hairdresser, his mind tells him she’s with somebody. He becomes jealous and cantankerous and fussy, and she begins to react to that, and the first thing you know, you’ve got a problem.
Now, please understand me, I have to talk in generalities. You might know one or two cases where it works out, but generally they don’t. And the statistics do not give you a comfortable margin on which to make a decision like that. You ought to marry someone more or less in the ballpark with you, not only in age but also in education. A person with a Ph.D. shouldn’t marry a high school drop-out, as a rule, because you don’t think the same way, and you don’t enjoy the same things, and you don’t enjoy the same friends. And that will bring friction later on.
But people are so vulnerable. We tend so often to consider looks rather than character. So Ladies and Gentlemen, and especially you young people who haven’t gotten married yet, let me give you some advice, some advice that I practiced when I decided to get married, back in college. My roommate and I used to discuss this. We made up our minds that if it came to a matter of choosing between character or looks, we would choose character, for make no mistake about it, there’s a difference between being cute and being attractive. Now, I’ve never met an unattractive person, until they make themselves unattractive. Some folks that might be homely to look at can have a quick smile and an optimistic winning personality and you love to be around them. That’s being attractive. On the other hand there are some folks who are really dolls to look at, but the problem is they know it! They think they are God’s gift to the world. Hard to please and hard to get along with.
Let me tell you something. There are beautiful-beautiful people. They are beautiful in character and beautiful to look at. But on the other hand there are some beautiful-ugly people. Beautiful characters--I know plenty of them. Then there are some ugly-beautiful people. These are folks whose characters are ugly, even though they’re nice to look at. And worst of all, is ugly-ugly.
Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, make no mistake about it. You who have not done it yet, in choosing a wife or a husband, don’t just go on looks. Some of these slick dudes aren’t worth a dime. And they think you ought to go to work and support them just because they look cute! Now, I don’t mind telling you that everybody is attracted to people who are nice to look at. But character should come first. And if you happen to get the other too, they that my roommate and I did, that’s a bonus!
The trouble is that so many young people take just anything that comes along. And if you say, “Well, why would you marry a person like that?”
They say “I love him.” But love is more than an emotion. Love is a principle. Love is supposed to be intelligent. If you think he’s the only pebble on the beach, you haven’t walked the beach! “Oh, but if I don’t get him I’ll die!” And after they get him, they wish they were dead!
Young people, listen to me tonight. If you are of age and are contemplating this important step, seek Godly counsel. Pray. That’s what we did. I know the Lord answered my prayer. Pray. If you’re used to praying three times a day, pray six. For except the Lord build a house, they labor in vain that build it. Then, after you pray, help God answer your prayer by being intelligent. There are some things, it seems to me, you ought to at least look at.
This young man who has caught your eye, is he responsible? If he tells you he’s coming, does he come? Does he come on time? He’s not going to get any better after you marry him. Is he healthy? That’s important, isn’t it? Now, if a loved one happens to become afflicted after you’re married, your love for that person would cause you to do anything. But at least at that age when you’re just looking around, it ought to be someone healthy. And if not, at least you ought to consider it. Is he respectable and respectful? How does he treat other young ladies? How does he treat you when you’re in a private place? Is he good to his mother? Now, that’s very important. If you’re dating a young man and he’s rude to his mother and shows her no respect, what do you think he’s going to do to you when he gets you? How does he treat his sisters? Is he intelligent? He’s going to be the father of your children, and a husband in the home. Is he reasonable? When he’s under pressure, does he lose control and say anything? Does he hit you? If he hits you while you’re courting, you just wait. And most important of all, does he love the Lord? Does he help to draw you closer to God? Can you pray together?
Now, for most of us, we’ve already begun. For some who are having problems it’s too late to consider beginning, but for most it’s never too late to start building a strong and happy home, if we’re willing to work at it.
But let me tell you this. Marriage is not what they put on the television screen and the movie screen. This Hollywood idea that everything was happy ever after because they hugged and kissed all the time, that is a bunch of foolishness. Marriage is not just hugging and kissing, though thank the Lord it is that, but it’s also cleaning the house and going off to work and cooking meals and fixing leaky pipes, and not having enough money to meet the bills. If you don’t have love in a home like that, the tension will get you to yelling at one another and you’re in trouble. Ladies and Gentlemen, as soon as we begin to let tension build up instead of being patient and kind, we begin to follow our own feelings. And the fellow stays out, and then the lady stays out, and you become negligent, and inconsiderate of each other, and what should be heaven on earth reaches extreme opposite proportions, because there’s no effort to understand one another’s needs. The husband who used to come home bringing flowers or an “I love you” card, comes home with a scouring face. And the wife who used to meet him at the door with a fresh dress on and a little Chanel No. 5 behind each ear comes to the door with her hair in curlers and his shoes on, and look out!!
The special little things we used to do are forgotten. Many women are starving for attention and affection, and a lot of the nagging they do to men is just adult crying. They are crying for love. If you love her, TELL HER! It doesn’t make you small. It makes you ten feet tall! You seem then like those who ride around in cars before they get married; you can hardly tell there are two people in the car! And every time he stops, he runs around and opens the door. But too often, when they’re married, if she’s waiting for him to open the door, she’ll be sitting there all day.
Please listen to me. Our homes ought to be joyful places, refuges, shelters from the cares of this world. Blessed is the man or woman who can go home and open a door and turn in to love and shut out hate. It seems all too often that husbands respect other women and growl at their own wives. Stop and think about it. Walking down a street, getting ready to walk into a building and a stranger walks up, a lady, and so he runs up to the door and holds it open. But he wouldn’t do it for his wife. Now, I want to tell you something. I believe in opening doors for ladies, and I get a little confused when they won’t let me. I like being a gentleman. But I tell you one thing as sure as you’re born into this world, I’m not going to hold it open for you and not hold it for my wife Bodil. Come on men. Let’s do right by our wives.
I want to talk straight to you tonight, is that alright? Don’t ever use sex as a reward and punishment device. Now, you know I have to talk a certain way because there are children in this audience. But listen to me. The Bible says in I Corinthians 7:2-5, “Defraud not one another, except it be with consent that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer. And come together again lest the Devil tempt you through your incontinency.” Would you like that a little plainer? The Bible says, do not withhold yourselves from one another unless you both agree. And the only justification is that you may fast and pray, but don’t even fast and pray too long, or the Devil will tempt you through your incontinency, or your lack of control. This business of reward and punishment is one of the causes of trouble in the home. When you love, you give.
Remember the golden rule when you get married and when you are married. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Now, I’ve got many reasons why I wouldn’t want to cheat on my wife. One is, I love the Lord. I’m a Christian. Another is, I’m a gentleman, and that’s supposed to stand for something. But I’ll tell you another one: I am married to a beautiful woman, I’m not just talking about looks. And finally, I wouldn’t want her to cheat on me. So do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But most important of all, if you want happiness in your home you’ve got to begin with Jesus. Amen? Establish the family altar. Pray together. You cannot pray for your wife and be mean to her. You cannot pray for her and cheat on her. You cannot pray for her and not appreciate what she does. Start with Christ. Then try to please one another. Do things together. If you’ve got twin beds, save them for company! Sleep together. Wash dishes together. Talk together. Pray together.
And you need a sense of humor. Don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t explode over every little thing that happens. You can defuse a bomb by laughter. There was a man who loved his wife, but he had a tough job and he came home up-tight. You know what that’s like, don’t you? He would often say some hasty words and a little later on when he had unwound he was so sorry. And so one day he was talking to his wife and said, “Honey, I really don’t mean to do that. It’s just that my boss is inconsiderate and the job is tough ad nobody shows any appreciation. I get yelled at, and I come home and take it out on you.” He said, “Why don’t we work out something?” So this is what they agreed on. He said, “When I have had a bad day, and I come home, the minute I get out of the car, if I’m in a bad mood, I’m going to take my hat and turn it around backwards.” He said, “Now, if you look out of the window and see that, don’t start anything. Just give me a few minutes to get myself together and I’ll be alright.”
“Now, that’s intelligent,” his wife said. “All right dear. But let me tell you something. Sometimes these children almost drive me up the wall. The cake falls and the beans burn and everything I try to do turns out wrong. Why should I be the pleasant one all the time? So if you come home, and I’ve got my apron around on the side, don’t you start anything.” And it turned out that one day the man had a hard time at the office, and he was coming home as up-tight as he could be. He pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, grabbed his hat and jerked it around backwards, and headed for the front door. And that wife had had a rotten day too. She wasn’t intimidated. She took her apron and snatched it around on the side and when he got to the door she didn’t even wait for him to open it. She snatched it open and there they stood. And you know what they did? Just what you’re doing. They both started to laugh and the crisis was over. So develop a sense of humor in your home.
Now, I’ve got to give you one more. Have eyes only for her, gentlemen. A lady talked to me once and said when I walk down the street, he’s looking. Man, don’t do that. You humiliate your wife. Have eyes only for her. Compliment her when she looks nice. Tell her! She needs that. The problems start when you don’t tell her, because if you don’t tell her, somebody else will. Tell her. When she cooks a good meal and puts a little something extra into it that’s just for you, tell her how much you like it. You’re buying yourself happiness.
Now, my wife is sitting here tonight. I couldn’t talk to you like this unless I’ve tried to live it at home. It’s one thing to talk publicly. It’s another thing to live it in the home. It’s not hard work that kills wives. It’s working when you’re not appreciated. It’s not being loved and not being happy. Now, I don’t want to sound one-sided. This goes both ways. A good man ought to be appreciated and loved. Amen? And you ought to be faithful and kind to him because of his devotion to you.
But above all, you’ve got to have Christ in your home. That’s the secret. Now, I’m not just talking to people on the street. I’m talking to people who love the Lord. You do love the Lord, don’t you folks? Christ wants peace for us and for our homes. I’m going to pray for the homes represented here tonight. Everybody, whether you’re getting along well or not, everybody who would like the Lord to bless your home, would you stand with me? And let us pray.
O precious Lord. We are sincere. We do want You to come into our homes, but You can’t do that until You come into our hearts. And so tonight we pray that You would possess us, Lord, we pray tonight that You’d reveal Yourself to us in love. We pray tonight dear Lord that You would take our sins away and cleanse us and make us Thine. There are some wives who never hear kindness from their husbands. I pray that you’ll bless them. Now, I know that You won’t force people to do right. But I pray that You’ll bless those wives and that You’ll give them strength and that You’ll give them courage, that perhaps they can help to affect a change in their homes through Christ. Lord, there are some husbands here tonight who might not be happy and secure in their homes, who might even have unfaithful wives or quarreling and nagging wives. I pray for those husbands, that You’d help them to be gentlemen and to be patient and to be kind and it could be that this kindness will affect a response in their wives. Lord, there are some families here who have got wayward children. Sons and daughters who are out running the streets, chasing after drugs, burning the candle at both ends, breaking the hearts of their parents. Some people go to bed at night and wet the pillow with their tears. Lord, have mercy on Your people. I pray that the peace of heaven would rest upon these dear people and that Your power and Your grace would go with them. I ask this is Jesus’ name, Amen.
Below is a youtube audio version of this sermon, "Happiness for Husbands and Wives" by CD Brooks.