Husband & Wife for Life: Ownership
Our focus in this lesson will be on the ownership aspect of marriage. I own my wife, and she owns me. In order to introduce that point from God's word, let's consider a key passage we will visit often in this series of lessons--Proverbs 5.

In this chapter, the wise king Solomon gives advice to his son (and to all of us, by implication). He begins by exhorting his son to pay attention, for what he is about to say is of extreme importance. His advice centers upon sexual desire and marriage. He warns his son to beware of immoral women. To allow such a one to bring you into fornication is to ruin oneself. This passage is very relevant for today. It speaks of physical problems related to illicit sexual activity as well as the destruction and guilt that accompanies this type of immorality.

Solomon shifts his emphasis in verse 15 as he explains to his son that God has saved the very best for His children! Marriage done God's way is the very best. It is far superior in every way to sexual immorality. Solomon makes this point poetically - "Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?" (Prov. 5:15-20).

In those verses, Solomon makes six references to the fact that your spouse is your possession ("your own cistern", "your own well", "your fountains", "only your own", "your fountain", and "the wife of your youth"). Clearly, there is ownership attached to marriage.

In the ultimate sense, God owns everything and everyone. Psalm 100:3 - "Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture." God owns us because He created us. Additionally, God owns Christians in the sense that He has purchased us. We have been "bought at a price" (I Cor. 6:19.20)--namely, the blood of Christ.

So, God owns me because He made me and He owns me because I've been redeemed by the blood of His Son. However, I am owned by another--my spouse! In marriage, there is a sense in which the husband owns the wife and the wife owns the husband. When a woman agrees to marry a man, she gives him the best complement possible. She says: "I choose you to be my life-long companion." There is ownership involved in that.

I Corinthians 7:2-4 is likely the passage that most clearly identifies the ownership aspect of marriage - "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."

We only get to live once in this life and we should only expect to have one spouse (unless sexual immorality or death of our mate frees us to remarry). I want to be happy in marriage--don't you? Don't you want to make the best of it? I want to enjoy marriage and my spouse. May God help us to be the husbands and wives we can be! Understanding that there is ownership in marriage is an important first step--you belong to each other! When you're married, it's not about "me" but about "us"! Do you understand that your spouse owns you? Are you living with that thought in mind? You have no right to give yourself to any other person because you do not have authority over your own body. God and your spouse own you!