When we consider Scripture in reference to marriage, our thoughts often go to the Book of 1 Corinthians. There, we find the familiar description of what love is. The Book of Ephesians however, has something important to say about marriage as well. This verse in particular has often been the subject of controversy and is often misunderstood in its true intent and meaning.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. —Ephesians 5:22-24, KJV
The word “submit” conjures up images of being the lesser or weaker spouse. Many women are appalled at the idea that that they should submit to their husbands in every way because they value their sense of independence and scoff at the idea of being submissive. Before you put down the Bible after reading this verse, continue to read Ephesians 5 to the end.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; —Ephesians 5:25, KJV
Wives may be called to submit to their husbands, but it is because husbands are called to love their wives. As Christians, we have no problem submitting ourselves to Christ. Jesus died on the cross to cleanse us from sin. His love and His sacrifice is what calls us to give our lives completely to Him. We are called to do the same in marriage. Submitting to our husbands is easy and comes naturally when our husbands treat us with love and respect. Likewise, loving and respecting your wife comes easily when your wife is respectful of you. Submission is not a show of weakness; it is an act of love.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. —Ephesians 5:28, KJV
A respectful and faith-filled marriage is based on mutual love and respect. Love and submission go hand in hand. These two acts are meant to complement each other rather than place one spouse above the other. The husband is called to lead his family in faith and the wife is called to love and serve her family. Together, husband and wife raise their family in faith and love; just as Jesus intends us to do.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. —Ephesians 5:33, KJV
When we give ourselves in marriage, we become one with our spouses. Our lives become so intertwined that we are no longer two separate individuals leading two different lives; rather, we are one united front facing life’s joys and challenges together. In serving our spouse, we are serving the Lord.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. —Ephesians 5:31, KJV
Marriage should not be a competition between husband and wife. The love between husband and wife is what calls us to serve one another in marital duties. To love, honor and serve our spouse is one of the best ways to love, honor and serve our Lord.