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Submission and Love in Marriage

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord….  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…
Ephesians 5:22, 25 (ESV)

Today, as I continued our series at epikos church in the book of Ephesians, I preached  on a well known text about marriage found in Ephesians 5:22–33. (To listen to Pastor Paul Stevens’s April 23, 2017 sermon, “Christian Marriage“, click here.) These verses are fairly straight forward. However there can be some objection to the Apostle Paul’s exhortation for wives to submit to their husbands.  Similarly, the many watered down and distorted definitions of love in our culture today can confuse Paul’s exhortation for husbands to love their wives.

As an encouragement for husbands and wives to not only understand but embrace this biblical design for marriage, I shared three things that submission is not and three things that love is not.  By addressing some of these misconceptions, my hope is that this will lead married couples to pursue healthy, Christ-centered marriages together.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 (ESV)

SUBMISSION DOES NOT MEAN THE ABSENCE OF DISAGREEMENT
In a healthy marriage, there needs to be disagreement.  Humbly processing through these times of disagreement leads to an ‘iron sharpening iron’ relationship that can be wonderfully refining for both husband and wife.  Husbands need the wise counsel and input of their wives, and vice versa.

SUBMISSION DOES NOT MEAN THE LOSS OF IDENTITY OR INFLUENCE
Marriage is a one-flesh union, and the humble collaboration of husbands and wives is the stuff of great marriages!  The unique perspective and wisdom offered by a woman is vital to the health of the marriage and the vitality of the family. Therefore, decision-making and problem-solving and future-planning are done best and in the healthiest way when they are done in husband-wife collaboration.

SUBMISSION DOES NOT MEAN LIVING OR ACTING IN FEAR
In other words, submission is not code-language for accepting abusive behavior.  A wife’s submission to her husband is something she voluntarily offers as an act of love, and it is never to be demanded or forced by the husband. Men are called to a unique kind of servant-leadership in marriage and women are called to a unique kind of respectful-submission in marriage.  Husbands and wives compliment one another in this beautiful, God-designed way.  

**some content adapted from **http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/six-things-submission-is-not

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…
Ephesians 5:25a (ESV)

TO LOVE IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
For some reason, men have the tendency to think that outward expressions of love are un-macho, un-masculine or weak. In truth, the weak thing for a man to do is withhold love when it is desperately needed. It is a strong, Godly man who stretches himself and does whatever necessary to appropriately love his wife and those around him.

LOVE IS NOT CURRENCY TO BE USED TO GET SOMETHING
When a man intentionally loves his wife, he is not banking currency to be cashed in later in some self-serving way. To love as Christ loved is a no strings attached kind of love, that is concerned with serving and not with being served.

LOVE IS NOT ENABLING INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR
Love is not an excuse for passivity. As head of the household, husbands are not to passively sit on their hands when loving action is required. Sometimes, the most loving thing is the most difficult thing.  It is not love to sit idly by as those we love walk into sin.

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