I love my husband and I know that he loves me. Some of the things I love about him is that is he is spontaneous (which balances me out), he is funny and has fun making me laugh, he is a great father to our kids, and he cares about other people. We have been married for 18 years and I can say that there is no other human being that knows me inside and out the way he does. I love him more today than I loved him on our wedding day. But not every day of our marriage has been sunshine and roses and we have learned that marriage is intentional work. God has used our marriage to teach each one of us how to let go of our own preferences and consider what the other person may need. I believe that is what God is telling us that is how we are to treat each other in our marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:21-33.
Reading through these verses, I see a beautiful relationship between a husband and wife that symbolizes Christ's relationship with the church. Just as the church is to submit to Christ, wives are to submit to their husbands. And just as Christ showed His love for the church through sacrifice, the husband is to show love for their wives. Thinking again how we are yoked with Christ when we are following Christ, we are also yoked to each other in our marriage and become as one unit. If the wife does not willingly submit to her husband, they will not accomplish anything because they will be pulling against each other in the yoke. It just doesn't work. If the husband isn't willing to sacrifice and show care for his wife, he will not only hurt his wife but he will hurt himself as well. He will be dragging her along carrying the entire load. Paul sums it up by telling wives to respect their husbands and telling husbands to love their wives.
This is a mutual submission that is happening in the relationship. Remember that the Greek word used for submission means to cooperate, to carry a burden, to assume responsibility, and to voluntarily give in. When you look at both partners in the marriage, both have a responsibility that God has given them in the marriage. Both are carrying the burden of their relationship when they are yoked together. Both need to cooperate with each other, and both partners need to give in to each other in different ways. For the wife, giving in means following her husband's lead and respecting him and for the husband giving in means to lovingly care for the wife and make sure she is able to follow the lead and sacrifice some of what his preferences are. This is the model that Christ gave us, and it is a beautiful way to look at the relationship.
Are you submitting to each other in your marriage?
Linking up with Word Filled Wednesday.