Submission is not a popular term in today’s culture. People want what they want, and they want it their way. In any marriage, each partner is tempted to pursue personal dreams and to live each day in a self-seeking manner. Marriage lived God’s way, however, operates differently.
“Submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:21-25, NKJV).
Before considering the idea of marital submission, you need to keep in mind a couple of points. First, Ephesians 5:21 says followers of Christ should submit to one another out of fear, or reverence, of the Lord. Submission to other people should always have as its motivation your submission to God’s authority. That holds true whether warriors submit in their marriages at home, or submit to superior officers while deployed. Second, submitting to your partner demonstrates your respect for the other person. Insisting on your way all the time is selfish and domineering. It kills mutual respect in a marriage.
God created the institution of marriage, and marriage partners achieve their greatest harmony when they follow His guidance. Consider the practical aspects of mutual submission. In any marriage, each partner has talents and abilities that the other does not have. Doesn’t it make sense to let the partner with the most knowledge and expertise drive the decision-making in certain areas? For instance, if your spouse excels with money matters, does it make sense for you to insist on handling the family’s finances? Of course not!
We often hear Ephesians 5:24 quoted when talking about a wife’s relationship with her husband, but rarely do we hear the next verse quoted even in passing: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Christ gave himself totally – spirit, mind, and body – to those whom He redeemed. He did so with absolute trust and confidence in God. Paul has given husbands a tall order: Love your wife the same way Christ loves you … totally … sacrificially … with absolute trust and confidence in God.
Is it easy for wives or husbands? Not even close. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Remember that Christ doesn’t expect you to go it alone. He’s right there with you, helping you to become the kind of marriage partner who reflects His relationship with His bride, the Church.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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