WARNING: This post contains material that may be hard to swallow! The word “Submit” is used. Please continue reading at your own risk of being changed! All I ask is that you keep an open heart and mind.
This post has been on my heart and mind for months and after much prayer, many chicken scratched notes and more prayer here it is!
We all grew up watching and reading the fairytale love stories where the price comes and sweeps the damsel in distress off her feet. Turns out that doesn’t have to be so far from the truth. Imagine being loved by a spouse so much that you had no fear, or doubt, or worry, or wall! God has given us specific instructions on how husbands and wives are to behave and treat each other. This doesn’t have to be an old fashioned mind set.
Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-29
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands , love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, just as Christ does the church.
Let me start off with this question. Do you believe that every word of the Bible is God breathed and truth? If so then this passage should not be over looked as old fashioned and irrelevant to the times.
So lets break it down and see what it is really saying. It is not saying to be door mats for our spouses, or blindly follow any decision our spouse makes. That is now how God intended marriage to work. In Genesis it says that Adam needed a companion and a helper. That is why wives were created. We are called to be the support for our husbands, his helper, but he is called to be the leader of the family (which I consider to be the harder calling to bare). In a way this kind of takes to pressure off us the wives!
First off, both husband and wives are told to submit to each other in reverence for Christ!
Wives are instructed to respect their husband and husbands in turn must make sure that their behavior and actions are worthy of that respect. We are to treat each other as a precious gift from God, because that is what we are. Submit to each other as you do (should do) to the Lord.
This may be a good point in which to insert this clause, our behavior is not dependent on the actions of others. Even if one spouse is not keeping their end of the bargain that does not give an automatic out. Remember the saying that two wrongs don’t make a right!
Now for the husbands, love your wives! Easy to say not so easy to do. Not just love your wives, but love them as Christ loves you. Christ gave his all for the church (which is all believers). This is how God has instructed husbands to love their wives. Putting them before their own needs and wants. Love your wives as you love yourself! (I also believe that if wives felt this kind of love from their spouses the “submit” issues we have would become null and void. Trust me we would!)
Now this next part is strictly my opinion so take it with a grain of salt.
Husbands are to make their wives “holy by washing her with water through the word, and present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”. Ok so this is not possible by human understanding. I don’t think that this is literal, you don’t need to bathe your wife and you can’t make her holy (that’s Christ’s job!). However,your attitude and treatment of her is to be on that lifts her up. Your words and actions reflect on her self esteem and self worth. Treat her in a way that doesn’t scar her self image or harden her heart. Many wives need to know that even after they have lost the radiance of youth, their bodies have taken a beating from children, their “clean” sweats are what they consider high fashion, etc… you still whole heartedly love them. Not for their physical appearance (in a lust kind of way) but for who they are and have become. See them through God’s love, the true agape kind of love. Do everything in your power to protect who they are because even if we won’t admit it we are fragile and vulnerable!
So hang with me I’m almost off my soap box!
#1 No matter what our spouses are doing on their end of the partnership, ultimately we are responsible for our own actions and will be held accountable accordingly.
#2 Someone has to start the love change! So why not it be you. Swallow your pride and submit to each other no mater if your the husband or the wife. Treat each other with the love and respect that Christ has instructed.
#3 Think of your children… As a parent what kind of spouse would you want for your child. I pray that my daughters would have a husband that would love them as much as I do. Further more as much as God does! I also hope that they will love and respect their husband and allow him to fulfill his calling from God to be the head of the house. If I had a son, I would expect him to cherish his wife as Christ would and that he would be loved and respect by his wife. I would pray that he would seek God and allow God to direct his paths to fulfill his responsibility as the head of the house.
Lord help me to follow your instructions and become the kind of wife you have called me to be. Help me be an example of a godly women and wife to my daughters. Help me submit first to you and second to my husband. Lord help my husband hear your voice and follow your guidance. I pray for him as he has the heavier load to bare. Lord thank you for your conviction and be with me as I allow you to change my heart and understanding.