So, it has been a week from my last post, and I apologize, but it has been a busy week. The first anniversary of my marriage recently passed, and praise the Lord the snide and snarky remarks of culture are not true! Yes, I still love my wife! No, I do not call her the ol’ ball and chain. I do not apologize, I think you are wrong sir because there is definitely more freedom in a godly marriage than you can possibly imagine. In fact there is no place of more freedom than in a covenant of marriage! It is to this that I have begun to write about privately, and I have decided to share some of those private thoughts. Not about culture per se, but about what Scripture tells us about men and women. I plan to do this in a series, and I pray that 1) I remain true to the will and decree of God and His infallible word, and 2) you follow me on this journey.
The key verse for this journey is Ephesians 5:22-30. Read it, swim in it, breathe in it and hopefully we can learn together. Even if you are not married Scripture speaks to the heart of all sinners, and we are certainly that. If you are not married, I pray you can see, and I will attempt to show, how a passage about marriage can be attributed to singles.
A couple things to note. 1) I am not a woman, so most of the things I say about womanhood will be from the Word of God, personal observation and discussion with my wife. 2) Although my wife and I have been building our relationship for seven years, we have only been united in marriage for a year. If you think I am naive, or idealistic, I would like to refer to the bold assertion that I am expositing Scripture, and Scripture is our bench mark. Enough with that, turn to the word.
Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
That is all I would like to deal with for now, and if you are reading this and think I am being unfair, just wait until we get to the section concerning men! Don’t worry ladies we will get ours. I beg you to read that simple verse again.
This is a very bold statement, a hard saying, and often, depending on your group, offensive. I hope that by looking into the heart of God, His purposes for His creation and the absolute joy in living in His ways will make the exposition of men and women a glorious thing, something in our lives for the glory of Jesus.
Your first hangup may be “submit” and I want you to know, that is essentially what the Greek says. Another way to write it may be, “Wives, make to yourselves your husbands, as you do with the Lord” in other words, “submit to your husbands as you submit to the Lord”. Let’s unpack what Paul is saying a bit.
If you are a Christian your main goal in life is to submit to his authority which is revealed in Scripture. So, we know that men and women Christians are under submission of the Lord Jesus Christ, and here is Paul telling wives, “Submit to your husbands, as you submit to the Lord”. Scary right? Wives are to submit to their husbands as though he were Christ. Extraordinary. Not only is this a powerful demand upon wives, but it is woefully impaired because of sin. I hate to break it to you ladies, but your husband (if you didn’t notice yet) is not Jesus Christ! Despite this glaring observation Paul writes to women, Submit! This is a hard pill to swallow, but given the lack of familial morals in our culture I propose that all of Paul’s exhortations are the medicine required for Christians, to be Christ-like, to be salt and light.
If your mind is stumped, turning red, and ready to blow at the seeming unfairness, impossibility, and the utterly contradictory statement (according to our culture) that Paul writes to all Christians, I encourage you to breathe. If you humbly accept the call to be a godly wife or a godly husband I commend you. This may seem abstract, but I promise it is not, and as we journey together you and I will see the cohesion and necessity of biblical marriage.
So, what then are the implications for the husband? Paul is directly addressing wives, but implicitly husbands are concerned in this short verse. Husbands, men, you are to live as Christ lived. This verse is not something to be stitched on a pillow and thrown at your wife whenever you want her to do something. This verse does not allow husbands to tell their wives to do something unethical and command that they have to do it. This verse is for wives to submit to godly husbands. Let me shed a little more light. What was the primary discipline in the life of Jesus Christ? I will answer for you: TO OBEY THE WILL OF THE FATHER. Husbands if you are not doing this, you have no authority whatsoever. Wives are to submit as they submit to Christ, but this implicitly implies that husbands are to live as Christ!
Wives, pray about this passage and adopt it into your heart. Husbands, prepare yourselves for the coming imperative of Paul. I hope, if you read the remaining verses you can begin to see some implications for marriage and if not, stay with me and we will grow together.
I welcome discussion.
After posting the above, a friend of mine urged me to write something about these biblical concepts in practice, and rightly so. After all, Scripture is meant to impact our lives. So, here we go.
The practice of this can be seen in any given set of circumstances. For example, my wife is a genius with numbers, forecasting our finances, balancing our accounts, and disciplining me in spending habits (she is an accountant). Now, when we have a “big purchase” or something that will take the budget in a different direction, we spend time discussing it, praying about it (probably not enough of this) and then ultimately she hands me the ball and says “You decide”. Something as small as dinner choice even! If there are four or five options, my wife says, “You decide”. After seven years of being with her, I have realized she just wants me to make a decision! If you find yourselves saying “I don’t know” back and forth and then you end up arguing and verbally fighting with one another and then you forget why you are fighting and fight just to fight because you are both too stubborn to repent all because one of you could not make the choice between Tacobell or Burger King, there is something that needs to be addressed in that relationship and it is the role of husband and wife. Trust me, I have been there.
Women in relationships more often than not, want the man to simply make a decision. Take the ball, and decide.
When I was talking with my friend, he has children, and he told me that when the children need discipline he and his wife balance each other and keep one another in-check so they do not over react or over discipline, but ultimately, he said, its his decision. For his wife, this is liberating, and I am willing to bet for him, it is as well. Men need to be men. I humbly acknowledge the mysteries of God in that the greatest place for a man to become a man is in the covenantal love of his bride.
By no means do I promote non-communication. Husbands and wives are in a covenant together and more often than not, wisdom comes from the other side. If you read this and would like to discuss more practical applications, by all means message me.