What Rebekah Can Teach Us About Marriage

What Rebekah Can Teach Us About Marriage

I often introduce my husband as my boyfriend, and then tell people that we have been married for over 30 years.

So, why do I call him my boyfriend when we are married?

Because I never want to forget how I treated him when we were dating or allow the years to dull my passion or love for him. Over the years, the best marriages I have seen are those in which husband and wife went through difficult times, trusted each other, and never let the zeal of their love be extinguished by life’s circumstances.

Isaac and Rebekah

A good example of this kind of marriage found in the Old Testament is that of Isaac and Rebekah. Today we are going to see their marriage under pressure. In Genesis 26:1-12, we read the story of Isaac and Rebekah going to Gerar.

Famine

The account begins with a mention of famine in Genesis 26:1 and this fact should not be overlooked. Often, famine is noted not only as a physical reality, but also a spiritual condition. This may represent a lack of food and a lack of faith.

This tells me that Isaac and Rebekah were struggling spiritually. They were navigating the troubled waters of holding their marriage together while raising children. The indication of their spiritual condition was that they planned to go "down" to Egypt. This does not refer to a change of elevation.

“Going up” or “going down” is a euphemism in the Bible for spiritual direction.

Have you ever felt like you were going downhill in your spiritual life?

Following those difficult days, in Genesis 26:2-5, God went to Isaac and confirmed the covenant He made with Abraham by giving the covenant to Isaac. I am sure Isaac needed encouragement at this point in his life.

Like Isaac and Rebekah, our marriages can experience famines too. Famines in a marriage can come for a variety of reasons: family struggles/conflicts, illness, children, and work stress just to name a few. Before we know it, we are living more like siblings than spouses.

Trust

Returning to our story, it did not take long for the men of the city saw how attractive Rebekah was to behold. Isaac told them Rebekah was his sister so they would not kill him. Rebekah trusted Isaac and followed his lead, but I am sure it was difficult for her to play the role of sister in her marriage.

So why did she follow his lead in this? Scripture does not tell us, but I think I might have an idea. I was given some wise advice once that I have tried to live by in my marriage. Unless my husband is asking me to do something unbiblical, dangerous, or illegal, I follow his lead. This does not mean I always agree. Over the years, he has learned to heed my concerns, and I have learned to:

  • Trust that God will bring good out of a wrong choice or decision
  • Trust him even if I think he made the wrong choice or decision
  • Remember that this is a matter of faith in God on my part

Rebekah followed Isaac’s plan and God protected her as she honored her husband.

Sporting

Even though Rebekah was forced to play the role of Isaac’s sister, it does not appear she was bitter or resentful. When they came together, thinking no one was watching, it was obvious by the way Isaac touched her and she responded that they were more than siblings! In Genesis 26:8, the term is translated as: sporting, laughing, or caressing.

Keep in mind, by this time, they had been married about 100 years!

Things to learn from Isaac and Rebekah

  1. Watch for famines in your lives and in your marriage. Be honest if you are in a famine. If this is happening in your marriage, make the changes needed and plan to spend meaningful time with your husband in the next week.
  2. Trust God to bring good in your lives when it doesn’t seem possible. Prayer is the key here. Pray for your husband to make good decisions and once the decision is made, continue to pray. Watch for God to move on his behalf and thank Him when you see it.
  3. Renew the passion you once had before life became complicated. Do not let the circumstances of life steal your passion.

Remember when you were dating? How long did it take to plan what to wear? How much time did it take for you to get ready for a date? When you talked about him to others, it was probably clear you were smitten!

Years pass, and love deepens, but time does not need to leave the flame of our relationship to smolder in the ashes of busyness. When others look at you and your husband together, what do they see–siblings or spouses?

Remember back to when you first fell in love and do those things once again! After 30 years of marriage, four children, grandchildren, and many life changes, it is my hope that when people see John and I together, they see spouses, not siblings.

Share a tip on how you sport with your husband.

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