by Leigh Ann Dilley on September 15, 2021
The Biblical marriage as God designed it, is beautiful. If we could only live out the words of scripture within our marriages as God intended, the divorce rate would be nonexistent. (Single women, please keep reading because you may not always be single and/or you may have the privilege to mentor a woman some-day concerning marriage.)
Let’s begin with men, and by men, I mean husbands. Ephesians 5:25a Husband’s love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
There is much to understand about a man’s responsibilities in this verse and it begins with creation. In Genesis 2, God called everything he created good until He said it is “not good” for man to be alone. No suitable helper was found (vs20). As a remedy, God created Eve from Adam’s rib.
Remember now, God created Adam from dust. God made Eve from part of Adam, and designed her to be a suitable helper for him. Therefore, this union is God’s will and by God’s definition, woman completes man! She is part of him. Adam knew she was part of him because when he saw Eve and said: she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh (Genesis 2:23).
Both were created in God’s own image, giving both man and woman positions of high honor. “What God joined together, let no man separate”, means God created this union within His will and it is holy. The two become one flesh (vs24) would explain why separation of this union, by divorce or death is painful, like a ripping apart of the flesh! Marriage, being a sacred union, is used in scripture as a mirror of the relationship between Christ and His people (known as the church).
If God commands a man to “love your wife” and compares the relationship to that of how Christ cares for his church, we must consider all Jesus did for his people. After all, the word “love” is a verb, which makes it an action word. We normally associate love with a feeling, but love requires action, regardless of how a man “feels” about his wife. A man’s actions towards his wife should mirror Jesus’ actions toward his people.
Jesus’ love is not based on worthiness, but is given freely, abundantly, and unconditionally. Jesus’ love is full of grace and mercy. Jesus came, not be served, but to be a servant. He washed his disciples’ feet, the lowest of service to another. Jesus defended and cared for His sheep. He nurtured and cared for people. Jesus sacrificed everything for his people including the independent use of his divine attributes and ultimately His earthly life. Jesus was not concerned about His own needs, welfare, comfort, happiness, or fulfillment.
Jesus gave all of Himself to bless and nurture the church and make her complete. Jesus even took shame upon Himself, to cover His people with righteousness. Jesus gives people freewill. He does not control them. Any rules Jesus gave his people were to create order and provide for their well-being. Even when we don’t follow the rules, Jesus does not dump shame and guilt on us. Jesus forgives and forgets our sin. He never asks us to do something sinful or unreasonable, shameful, and he would never abuse his people in any way. There is not room for that in Jesus’ sacrificial love and service.
Ladies, this relationship is so beautiful, it makes me weep. If our husbands consistently cared for us in this way, the respect and adoration for them would soar. Separation from them would be desperately painful.
It may be interesting to reread the paragraph above using your husband’s name wherever Jesus or Christ is used and your name wherever church or people is used.
Sadly, we live in a fallen world. Of course, all relationships do not look this way. We’ll start to address that next time when we discuss woman’s role in the marriage relationship.