Biblical Marriage – Session Seven (Teaching Outline)

Biblical Marriage

Session Seven

Relationship: Change, Christ-like Spiritual Growth

Ephesians 5:21-33 


In our last session we learned the role of grace in Biblical marriage. As a house can not stand without a proper foundation, marriage must rest on grace or else be subject to the whims of selfishness becoming unstable in all its ways. By grace we are empowered to forgive sin and forbear strangeness in marriage. Like a ship with ballast in its hull, a marriage stabilized by grace can weather the storms of life. Grace allows for the dealing with sin in marriage without dwelling on sin in marriage.

Not only does grace function as the power to forgive and forbear when things are not as we would like then to be, but grace also functions as the power to change so that there isn’t as much to forgive and forbear. Marriage should never be static. The goal is not for our spouse to feel as if forbearance is a permanent ball and chain. The reality of the Gospel is Christ receiving the sinner “as is” by grace through faith. This is a glorious reality. However, it is not the whole of the reality of the New Covenant life. When our text states, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…”, it speaks of necessary change.

To commit to marriage is to commit to change. In this session we explore the power that grace affords toward change. It is only fitting that the Christian we are most intimate with, namely our spouse, is the primary earthly influence for change in our life by grace.

GRACE, the foundation of change 

I’m in this marriage for the long term, all the way to the end, so…

…please change.


  • The power to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44)
  • The power to stop sinning (Romans 6:13)
  • The power to call for change (Galatians 6:1)

Pattern for change: 

Christ’s relationship to the church (vs 25-27)

KEY: Christ died to change her.

Husbands changing wives: 

  • Husbands are like Christ; NOT Christ
  • God’s Holiness is the standard; NOT husbands personal preferences
  • Change NOT by oppression, but by sacrifice

Wives changing husbands:

  • Wife submit to husband like to Christ; NOT equal to Christ
  • Seek change while respecting headship
  • Prayer is a request for change
  • Gentle spirit; NEVER nagging


The state of oppression and rebellion is the concrete in which marriage becomes static, stale, and hopeless. 

The state of Grace (forgiveness and forbearance) is the catalyst by which change toward Christ-likeness in marriage is guaranteed; sometimes even immediate change!

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