My topic of discussion today goes right along with Andee's 30 Day Marriage Challenge from yesterday. A friend of mine, whose wedding I'm in in March, asked me to read some scripture during her ceremony. She didn't have anything specific picked out and asked me to select from verses. I instantly knew what I was going to pick. Nope, no the "love is patient, love is kind...". Although very important verses to live by, don't get me wrong. But there is a portion of scripture in Ephesians that was read at my wedding and it's a great reminder of how husbands and wives ought to treat each other. I personally love The Message version of this scripture. (If you haven't "version hopped" a little when it comes to bible reading, try it! The Message version has a different, more modern take on the Word and sometimes may speak to you in just the right way.)
In Ephesians 5, Paul writes,
"Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband."
As wives, we are called to understand and support our husbands. Let's stop there for a moment, shall we. "Understanding" our husbands doesn't always come easy and usually comes with some eye rolling. But, to understand them and support them, we need to listen to them. LADIES - stop, listen, and love. Don't correct them. Don't redirect them. But to do as Christ would - to listen and love. This is the way we can continue to reflect Christ.
Wives, we also should submit to our husbands. Women often don't like this verse but this doesn't mean let them control us or walk all over us. It means, allowing our husband and the father of our children to be the head of our spiritual and physical home. And HONOR our husbands! Figure out what respect and honor means in a marriage and you can change your relationship around in a huge way! Respecting our men is their way of feeling completely and wholly loved.
MEN - this means you! Women are yearning for you to be the spiritual leader in their life! Yes, as women we are responsible for our growth with God, but our husbands have a big responsibility too! This means, men, your relationship with God has to be right in order to lead your family. You have other commands here too - to provide leadership to your wife and family, just as God calls you to be a leader in the church. Love is marked by giving - not by getting. Everything a husband does and says should bring out the best in his wife. How often do we speak sarcastically or act selfishly? (this goes both ways). Wives - is everything we're saying and doing bringing out the best in our husbands?!
Marriage means becoming one flesh - working together, making decisions together, living as a family, cherishing one another. Marriage is a beautiful, God ordained blessing in life. And when we understand, support, respect, and honor each other... we have experienced God's design for unconditional love.