Volume. XXII, No. 23
Sunday, 02 December 2007

From The Pastors Heart: Love between Husband and Wife

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.  Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).  I wonder whether I could find any better description of love than this passage.  As I was reading it, I felt breathless.  So much of the power of love overwhelmed me.  Though the love in the Bible talks about the love of God and the Song of Solomon is not an exception, His love is illustrated by the love between two lovers in this passage.  Just read it slowly, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart.”  How do you feel?  Can you feel the power coming out from this confession of love?  “Love is strong as death.”  Aren’t you trembling with the presence of love?  “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the flood drown it.”  Love is too noble to be purchased by wealth and money.  What an exciting thought it surely is!  I wonder if we can find any better word charged full of emotions and every spectrum of feelings than the word love. 

Love sends the hearts of men and women into the air.  There is a hidden power behind this word and the experience of love.  Thus, young men are dreaming to find their sleeping beauties and young ladies their princes riding on white horses.  When they feel they have finally found the right ones, they march to the pulpits and exchange vows so gladly.  What a glorious day it is!  They make a vow to love and cherish each other till death separates them.  Then, they live happily . . . . till . . . . 

Then, we read news headlines like “Marital rows do not just produce harsh words and hot air - they can harden your arteries too, a study suggests.”  I am not joking.  It is from BBC on 4 March, 2006.  A rough marriage relationship is not good for your heart.  Where is sweet heart, but only hardened arteries?  Let me quote a bit from the news article from BBC as following: “The researchers studied 150 married couples, with at least one partner in their sixties . . . . None had ever been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. . . . Comments such as ‘you can be so stupid sometimes’ or ‘you're too negative all the time’ were coded as hostile and dominant.  Participants were also given a scan to check for signs of disease.  When the results were analysed, it was found that the wives who made the most hostile comments during the discussion had a greater degree of calcification, indicating that plaque was building up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.  The researchers found particularly high levels of calcification in women who behaved in a hostile and unfriendly way and who were interacting with husbands who were also hostile and unfriendly.  However, husbands who displayed more dominance or controlling behaviour, or whose wives displayed such behaviour, were more likely than other men to have more severe hardening of the arteries. . . .”

Excitement and satisfaction in love are all gone with the wind, and the only relics left in marriages are hardened arteries!  What a sad demise of our noble sense of love and affection it is!  In 1996, there was another experiment sponsored by the OBSSR and the American Psychological Association.  It was done by Janice Kiecolt, Professor and Director, Division of Health Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University College of Medicine.  Here is a report from this experiment: “Ninety newlywed couples, selected on the basis of extremely stringent mental and physical health criteria, were admitted to a hospital research unit for 24 hours to provide a detailed assessment of conflict-resolution behaviors and changes in endocrine and immune function.  Early in their 24-hour admission, these newlyweds discussed areas of disagreement for 30 minutes; this ‘conflict’ session was recorded on videotapes that were later scored for verbal and nonverbal behaviors.  Negative or hostile behaviors during conflict (e.g., criticism, sarcasm, put downs or denigration) were associated with increased levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and ACTH), as well as greater immunological change over the subsequent 24 hours.  Thus, we found pervasive differences in endocrine and immune function reliably associated with negative or hostile behaviors during marital conflict, and these differences were apparent even among very happy couples in their first year of marriage.  Women showed greater physiological change than men. These physiological differences were particularly noteworthy because marital satisfaction was very high on entry into the study. . . . Declines in marital satisfaction appear to be a stable response to the first year or two of marriage.  For some couples this decline is dramatic; about a third of divorces occur within the first four years of marriage. . . . In the early stages of marriage, negative interactions appear to influence subsequent marital satisfaction, rather than the reverse. . . . By the second year of this longitudinal study, our newlyweds' marital satisfaction had dropped significantly, as expected.  We found that those women who had shown the greatest change in immune function following the earlier conflict discussion also showed the largest declines in marital satisfaction; in fact, immunological change was a better predictor of decrements in marital satisfaction than conflict behavior in these newlywed women.  Consistent with the larger effects observed for women than men, neither behavior nor immunological change was related to changes in husbands' marital satisfaction. Thus, for women, immunological responses to conflict may be one bellwether for subsequent changes in feelings about the relationship” (http://obssr.od.nih.gov/Content/Publications/Articles/MARSTRES.htm). 

It has been also found and known that stress can alter responses to vaccines and slow wound healing.  Thus, chronically abrasive marital relationships could have important health consequences.  Here is another heading from a journal, Arch Intern Med., 2000 Dec 11-25;160(22):3453-8: “The influence of marital adjustment on 3-year left ventricular mass and ambulatory blood pressure in mild hypertension.”  The concluding part of the research says, “Depending on the quality of marital adjustment, spousal contact at 3 years was associated with an increase or decrease of 3-year diastolic blood pressure. Confirmation of these results, including objective marital assessment and the participation of normotensive subjects, is required.” 

One thing is very sure.  Marital relationship affects not only our mind but also our body.  Have you recently felt that your blood pressure has gone up?  Do you feel that your arteries are becoming hardened?  How about calcification?  When a disorder affects the balance between calcium and other minerals or hormones, calcium can be deposited in other parts of the body, such as arteries, kidneys, lungs, and brain.  It does not sound good.  I am neither trying to threaten you, nor am I saying that all of our sickness comes from bad relationships. 

What I am trying to say is that our love relationship at home may affect not only our relationship with our spouses but our health.  Love is a good medicine for all of these problems.  Where is the eternal love we have promised to our spouses?  A problem is that most of us think love is a natural outcome of our marriage life.  No, our marriage requires hard work to kindle and rekindle the flames of love.  Please pay attention to your relationship you’re your spouses.  Do not take them for granted.  We can choose to live happily or not.  However, if we want a happy marriage, we must work to get it.  We may have to develop some skills to express love to our spouses.  We may need to express affections intimately to our spouses.  Sometimes, while we are consumed by our work and children, we do not pay attention to our spouses.  Take some quality time with your husband or wife.  Even children should be taught that mum is for dad, and dad is for mum.  Even children should not be a hindrance to the relationship between husband and wife.  Why don’t you, husbands, cuddle your wives and say how much love them?  Why don’t you, wives, thank your husbands for being your men?  Make a special date just with your spouse and have a romantic evening.  Then, you will see how much you have missed each other.  Ephesians 5:33 says, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” 


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




All Christmas Concert participants please refer to the insert for rehearsal times during this week.

Volunteers required to assist with food & transport of senior citizens for their fellowship meeting on Tue, 4 Dec. If you can help please see Sis Peng Ha Yeo.

Results of the recent Worship Time survey: majority preferred the current time.

Christmas Concert next Sat, 8 Dec. Please invite your family, relatives & friends. Collections for Cambodia Missions

Help required to buy refreshments for the Christmas Concert. A donation box is placed in the dining room. If you can contribute refreshments & drinks, please see Dn Edwin D’Mello or Sis Grace Gan.


Looking Ahead

National B-P Youth Camp, 11-15 Dec. Speaker: Bro Peter Blake. Theme: B.O.O.T. Camp. Please register NOW.

Christmas Worship Service on Tue, 25 Dec, at 10 am. Please note time.

Watch Night Service on Mon, 31 Dec, at 7:30 pm.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Ps Ki & family (Adl); Bros Yik Ho Lam (S’pore) & Patrick Phua (Gold Coast), Sisters Min Yen Chia (Ceduna/Adl) & Charlotte Lin (S’pore)  & all who arrived safely.

Church activities: BSAG, Joy, Maranatha, Christmas Concert practices, Sparks4Christ   & YAF.

Federal Election - freedom to elect candidates & the smooth change of government.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Ebenezer & Hope teams going to Cambodia in Jan 2008.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family - encouragement.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Bro Joshua & Sis Pamela Lim (Melb); Bros Peter Blake & Patrick Phua (Adl); Sis Gillian Ong (Adl); & all those travelling this week from interstate for the National B-P Youth Camp.

Full-time jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht, Sisters Min Yen Chia, Rachel Scott-Pearson (UK) & Juanita Tong.

Christmas Concert rehearsals -  Sis Sally Teng and participants.

Drought to end & for much needed rain.

The Lord’s provision for a new church van.

God’s guidance - new PM & Government.



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