Ephesians 5:22-33 God’s Design of Marriage
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…
Paul focuses his attention on marriage relationships and the important attitudes and virtues that will keep the family healthy. Paul models the husband/wife relationship after the relationship between Christ and the church. The virtues of honor and love are not restricted to marriage relationships, but are pillars of all growing communities and organizations.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
In this passage, Paul draws a parallel concerning the relationship within a marriage to that of Christ and the church. Paul speaks in general terms when he says, “wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” The underlying foundation for the marriage relationship is submission to Christ as the Lord. The wife’s submission to the husband is conditional to both being submitted to the Lordship of Christ in every aspect of their lives. If the husband does not submit himself to the plans of God, then he will risk involving his wife (and children) in his folly. God’s desire is for the family to fulfill His plans under the headship of the husband: For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Having said that, both husband and wife must first be accountable to God as individuals. Jesus makes that clear when He says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife … yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Hence, in God’s design, the wife’s submission to her husband is above all undergirded by her submission to Christ; it is not a legalistic compliance to the husband’s every will.
God’s design of marriage designates the husband as being the head as Christ is the head of the church. In the case, when the wife is more advance in the wisdom of God, the husband should respect her as an invaluable gift to the marriage rather than a “threat” to his leadership. Hence, the wife should serve as an invaluable supplement to his leadership as a counselor in everything. In this day and age where more women are getting higher education than men, the family can better benefit from the contribution of knowledgeable wives. In my observation, any marriage in a longer term has far less problems with the husband acting as the head. The man by design (generally speaking, assuming a marriage of “equals”) brings more potential to the family in the longer term, given his inclination towards making the world a better place as opposed to making the family a better place. There are also many cases where the husband refuses to grow up thus forcing the wife to take up the leadership position.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
In most cases, the woman much prefers to be led by a man who is wise and mature having weaned himself off the psyche of a child, who places the family’s interests above his own. Paul states the conditions to which submission of the wife must predicate: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Some men see their wives as accessories to fulfilling his personal dreams and his need for companionship. Notice the feature of the husband’s leadership involves him being a savior to his wife as Christ is the Savior to the church (v.23). I can say that the headship of the husband evolves with Christ-likeness; the more a man becomes like Christ in his behavior, the more his wife and children will see him as the head of the family. As the husband seeks to be a channel of expression of God’s love and wisdom, his leadership becomes a blessing to the whole family.
Love and honor are two pillars of any growing relationship and community. In an organization subordinates honor their superior by obeying his instructions and fulfill his goals. Bosses love his subordinates by taking care of their well being and plans their career growth. In a church, members honor and love one another as a family under God; they honor the pastor and the pastor loves his sheep and gives his life for them.
In the case of a marriage relationship, the trait of honor (through submission) from the part of the wife towards the husband is dominant. On the other hand, the trait of love is dominant from the part of the husband towards the wife. Nevertheless, both honor and love are constantly at play in a marriage relationship. However, the culture of honor and love within the family is built upon the couple’s honor and love towards God. The more the couple honor and love God, the more they will honor and love each other. Similarly, as members of a community honors and love God, the stronger the community will be.
The husband honors the wife as one that is closest to his heart, from which he finds his greatest fulfillment. He honors her by cutting out all other avenues of emotional or physical attachments. The wife honors the husband by respecting his vision for the family and functions as his divine counsel.
The husband loves the wife by meticulously paying attention to her emotional and physical needs. He loves her by making her more beautiful by sanctifying her through study of the word and prayer. The wife loves the husband by taking good care of his well being as well as the family’s and supports him in fulfilling the calling of the family.
- Do you find it difficult to honor your husband/wife, parents, superior and pastor? Try to understand the root of that difficulty. Perhaps, they have caused hurt to you in the past? It is time to let go of the past and enjoy these relationships by honoring them.
- For the husband: Are you leading your family towards the commitment to serve God? Are you helping your wife fulfill her personal goals?
- For the wife: Are you functioning as a divine counsel to your husband and encouraging him to lead? Are you helping your husband fulfill his personal goals?
Dear Lord, help me to honor my parents, my spouse, my superior and my pastor. They are placed in my life for a divine purpose to fulfill my calling. Use me to encourage them and assist them in whatever ways I can. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For the husband…
Dear Lord, I thank You for sending my wife into my life. I ask You to help me become more sensitive to her needs and give me the wisdom to transform from beauty to beauty, and glory to glory. Give me a vision for my family, so that I can lead them towards fulfilling their calling. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For the wife…
Dear Lord, I thank You for sending my husband into my life. I ask You to help me support him as he leads the family and use me as a divine counselor for him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.