Ephesians 5 is the first place I stop when I think of my responsibilities as a husband. The theme is repeated or restated in other passages – Colossians, for example. Even Peter has very similar instructions to those he wrote to. It is comforting to note that they do not conflict with each other.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, his body, of which He is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word, 27 and present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of His body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
BTW – The church above is the body of Christian believers not the building on the corner of Rufe Snow and NTP. You need to keep individual people focused in your minds eye when reading that passage. (I think that is what Jesus does).
Below are four responsibilities I identify most with. Google will tell you there are more and if the others more highly resonate with you, I look forward to reading your posts about them.
1) To Love Her
The first direct command to me here, as husband, is to love Her as my wife (v26). To love her as Christ loved the church, up to and including my very life for her, to make her holy. And then again – in verse 28 – love her as I love my own body – and in doing that I will be loving myself more. Is that cool or what? As we become “one flesh” and I love her, I love myself at the same time. I just think that deal can’t be beat.
NIV notes that holiness is the result – not the basis, of God’s choosing. His choosing is a special and unique act of His will for each individual.
My choosing Her – as a singularly unique woman, the one woman for me, results in a holy union for us.
She is not one of a crowd.
She was chosen by God for me.
My responsibility is to act on that and make loving her part of my will. I will myself to love her (volitionally) during the times that romantic love abandons me.
Just as “God so loved the world…” that had largely abandoned loving Him, His willful act of love in giving us Jesus resulted in us being able to return to holiness.
2) To Earn and Be Worthy of Her Respect –
“Wives submit to your husbands as too the Lord.” Eph 5:22 –
As a husband I need to present myself, my leadership and my love to her, as the Lord Jesus does to the church.
What an awesome responsibility.
That is a standard to which I will continually aspire and even with God’s grace will rarely attain. But, it is the standard none the less.
“The wife must respect her husband” Eph 5:33 –
Again, I see the need to present myself to her in a manner that is consistently earning trust and then respect.
Respect is impossible without trust.
She needs to trust my:
•motivations –the why’s of what I do
•desire to share all things –emotional, physical and spiritual- with her
•ability to provide for her
•need to care for her
As I continue through life with her, these things do not change – that is the consistency she sees in Christ. That is the consistency she needs from me.
I will earn her trust and eventually her respect through taking this path.
3) Servant-Leader of our relationship
“just as Christ loves the church”
In the final days, Christ was with the disciples giving them what turned out to be a final bit of discipleship. At the Passover meal, he instructed them and demonstrated to them that they were leaders but of a different type than perhaps some of them had in mind (like when they were arguing over who sat at which hand in heaven…).
Jesus took on one of the most menial roles in the house – to wash their feet. He did this to demonstrate how much he loved them and to what lengths he would go to care for them. He later went to the ultimate sacrifice – his death.
This is the instruction I am given from God – to sacrifice myself like Christ did, to hold nothing back.
Gen 3:16b- “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” God gives his first instruction about the husband’s role – we are now the designated leaders.
Given God’s perspective – this is a fearful responsibility.
I interpret this not as a dictator.
I am responsible for the day-to-day well-being of the wife God has ordained for me.
I become responsible for her earthly care.
I must provide the environment where she will be able to flourish and continue to be a daughter of Sarah (1Pet3:6).
4) A Student of her
1 Peter 3:7 –
“Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives” –NIV
“dwell with them with understanding”-NKJV
“dwell with them according to knowledge”-KJV
I heard a sermon one time where this passage was used to urge the husband to understand the wife.
The word used for knowledge or understanding was a word that implied a science like knowledge – a disciplined studied knowledge.
The gist was, I am to understand and research my wife like a student does a particularly special project – to know her as deeply and broadly as I possibly can.
“treat them with respect as the weaker partner”-
As an accomplished student of my wife I can more fully protect her.
I can see circumstances that might harm her and prevent them or be able to shield her from their full impact.
Failing that, I will be able to nurture her back to “health” as quickly as possible.
“so that nothing will hinder your prayers”-
As husband, my wife’s well-being is paramount to my own spiritual well-being.
So, I must vigorously protect my wife to maintain my right relationship with God.
Another Awesome Responsibility.