From my blog on “Husbands and Wives”:
Ephesians 5 22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as 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.
This is a very unpopular verse. Mostly because it has been used in the past to make women subservient to their husband, with only he allowed to make decisions. That was not the intent of this passage at all. I will get to that later. First I want to talk bout how the husband is supposed to act.
Ephesians 25-32 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 to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this 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 his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Take a moment and let that sink in. There are a few characteristics that we can look at immediately about how we are to treat our wives. Mainly, we can look at how Christ lived his life for the church. Christ came into this world with one goal, to redeem his people to God. To bring his church into himself. We are after all the body of Christ. Christ LIVED literally for the church. He gave his life, his precious blood, for us. He suffered and died, just for the church.
Well husbands, we’ve got some serious shoes to fill, don’t we. We are to love our wife, even when she doesn’t deserve it! Not just when she loves us back, but period! Christ didn’t come down for the saints, he came for the sinners! The people who turned their back on him! We have to love our wives, even when we don’t particularly like her! I believe every couple has that moment as well. The moment when they are definitely not happy with their spouse. Be it when someone spent a great deal of money, without even consulting the other. Or someone hid something from the other. That doesn’t excuse us! We still have to love her!
So what does the first verse tell us then? The one about wives submitting to their husbands? Well it doesn’t seem to make sense if you think of marriage as a union, in which you just dissolve it when you don’t agree anymore. It’s not! Marriage is not something that we just leave when we have a disagreement. Someone has to have the deciding vote. Many people will tell you it’s just the man, but it’s not. It’s God! The man should be approaching God with the problem and saying Father, help me to solve this in your will! Then he should be going to his wife, and saying “You mean more than my own life, what is your opinion in this matter?” Then out of love and trust in the Lord, he should decide. Even if the two members do not agree, they should abide by that decision. Because it was approached with ultimate love for one another, and love for God.
Women love your husbands! Respect them! Help edify them, lord knows we men need our wives support. Men love your wives, more than yourself. No man who loves his wife more than his own life will hold it over her head that he is put in charge of the final vote. He would instead cast that final vote in love for her! Or even step aside and say I love you so much, that we are going to do what you want to to do, even if it’s not what I want to do, as long as it’s God’s will.
Remember Christ came as a servant, he served the church even though he was it’s King. You are to be your wives servant, even if you are the head. That’s what it means to be spiritually the head, that you have went above your own wants and needs and are looking for hers. Because she is being obedient to God by submitting to you, you must be obedient to God and submit to her!
Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.