by Leigh Ann Dilley on September 23, 2021
Disclaimer for this devotional: If you have not read or watched the "Biblical Marriage (Let's talk about men)" devotional, which was sent out last week and also posted on our Facebook page, it is encouraged you do so.
Truthfully, most of what is written in the Bible about a biblical marriage is targeted towards the responsibilities given to men: much is expected of them. Because of this, a wife should always be a prayer advocate for her husband. However, there is one, single phrase from Ephesians 5 that for many women, sounds like fingernails grating against a chalkboard. Ephesians 5: 21-22 says And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord.
Just as a husband’s relationship to his wife is to mirror Christ's relationship with his church or people; a wife’s relationship to her husband is also meant to be a mirror to the relationship of people of the church to Christ. If wives are disrespectful, argumentative, disobedient, unfaithful, and say hurtful things to their husbands, it’s a poor reflection on the Kingdom of God. If wives are constantly judging their husband’s inadequacies or gossiping to their friends about their marital disappointments, wives are not living up to their marriage vows. We are asked to glorify Christ in everything we do. Where is the glory in disrespect and complaints? A wife’s “love” requires action just as a husband’s does. Wives are not passive beings waiting to be told what to do. The word “submit” might be better thought of as “support, help, and care for your husband”. Love grows in vulnerable places such as caring for one another’s needs.
Did you catch it? The couple submits to one another first; but sadly, this verse has been abused and misinterpreted in the lives of men and women alike. Sinful pride from both sexes has taken over where it has no place, creating a prideful, power struggle in a marriage, and disobedience in God’s design for marriage. Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. The Bible does not say the husband gets to “rule” over the wife and has the authority to control her. He is not her boss. He is called to “love” her as Christ loved the people of his church. A reminder: Christ was a humble servant, who sacrificed everything, but He was also, the head of the church. A husband should love his wife as he loves himself (vs28) and should never ask her to do anything illegal, unhealthy, or anything which would cause her shame. Humility and a heart of service are needed from both partners, in every marriage, to allow “love” to prevail.
Can you imagine the transformation of our men, if we responded to them as we would to Jesus?
We’ve said it before, we live in a fallen world. Many marriages do not resemble what is asked of us in the Bible. What can wives do if their marriages do not resemble a biblical marriage? What if your husband is not a believer? What if he has some kind of addiction or is absent often from the home?
Darla Colinet, a life coach, and author of The Quest for Exceptional Love, a course currently being offered to women at Timberline, says "Some spouses start out following Jesus and then decide to follow their own path, which includes being an unhealthy or abusive spouse. God's will for marriage and Christs' examples to us, NEVER include any kind of abuse."
Abuse can come in many forms: control, isolation, financial, verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, anything that feels threatening or controlling. These things can also be considered unfaithfulness to the marriage vows. If any of these are issues in your marriage, continue to treat your husband with kindness and pray for him. Abuse should never be tolerated under any circumstances.
Women should not be asked to stay in their marriage “no matter what” trusting God will change their husband. The husband must also make a healthy choice.
Wives are asked to love, respect, and treat their husbands with kindness but should also hold them accountable. Create healthy boundaries when necessary, so the marriage can thrive. Unfortunately, in this broken world, BOTH spouses must choose to work with Jesus to be transformed into his likeness. Often, the primary responsibility to make the marriage work is placed on the wife. This is not God's design. Christ designed the husband to lead and “love” his wife. Marriage is a partnership and bears mutual responsibility. Many husbands are willing to open their heart and minds to the counsel of their kind wife and seek God with their whole heart.
A personal, loving relationship with Jesus Christ remains our hope; no matter what the outcome of the marriage.
If you have questions about the health of your marriage or you would like more information on what God says about abuse and what you can do, learn more at Darla’s website: www.GodsTransformingGrace.com.