Summary: Focus on Your God-given Role in Marriage 1) Wives submit to your husband. 2) Husbands love your wife.
I don’t suppose it’s easy coaching peewee football. Every kid who shows up for tryouts wants to be quarterback or running back. No one wants to play on the offensive line where you’ll be treated like a human bowling pin and for what? Offensive linemen rarely score touchdowns. But of course if you don’t have a good offensive line, your quarterback and running back aren’t going to be very effective no matter how talented they are. The offensive linemen need to focus on their job of blocking the opposing team so that the quarterback and running back can get done their job of getting into the end zone. Football is definitely a team sport.
Marriage too is a team effort. Husband and wife each have a different job given to them by God. The problem is we like to focus on what our spouse should be doing instead of what we need to be doing. But that would be like an offensive lineman pausing in the action to see whether or not the running back has safely tucked the ball into his gut as he runs. That split second pause will be enough for the opposing linebacker to blow by the offensive lineman and level the running back for a loss. How many marriages have been lost because the husband focused on his wife’s shortcomings while the wife incessantly dissected her husband’s faults? If you want to enjoy your marriage as God meant for you to enjoy it, then listen to the Apostle Paul this morning as he urges you to focus on your God-given role in marriage. Let’s find out what that role is.
Paul starts by explaining what the woman’s role in marriage is. He said: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). “Submit to your husband.” Can you believe Paul would say something like that, and that I would repeat it! What you need to remember is that Paul speaks about marriage with the same authority as when he spoke about the doctrines of election, grace, and salvation in the other parts of this letter to the Ephesian Christians. If you choose to ignore what Paul says regarding marriage and your role in it, you’re choosing to ignore God himself.
Since this directive concerning marriage comes from God you can be certain that it’s good. Wives, it’s for the sake of order that God wants you to line yourself up under your husband. That’s no different than what the pilot of a Boeing 747 does when he yields to the ground crew on the tarmac. The pilot does not submit to the crewman’s outstretched hand because he is inferior or weaker. He yields because if he doesn’t, he’ll plow into an oncoming airplane or tanker wreaking havoc, just as a wife who says, “I will not submit!” wreaks havoc on a marriage.
If you’re still not convinced that submitting doesn’t somehow make you inferior, consider what Jesus did when he came down from heaven to win our salvation. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus submitted himself to his Father’s will and made himself nothing becoming obedient to death on a cross. By submitting to his Father’s will was Jesus conceding that he was inferior to the Father? No! Even though he became human he still remained God’s Son, equal in majesty, power, and honor with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Or consider this. When Jesus became human to serve us and win our salvation, did he become inferior to us? Of course not! In fact Paul says that because of his humble service, Jesus is worthy of all glory and praise.
In the same way, wives submit to your husband in everything (Eph. 5:24). Put yourself under his leadership and guidance in all things, unless of course he tells you do something sinful. Submit by being an unselfish servant. Encourage; don’t nag. Praise him for those things he does well and offer constructive criticism for the purpose of building him up, not tearing him down. How can you do that? Use a technique called the critique sandwich. Start with a positive comment, offer your criticism, and then end with a compliment. A critique sandwich might sound like this: “You are so good at fixing things. You tackle those tasks so promptly and efficiently (compliment). That’s why I’m surprised you left your tools in front of the door. I’m afraid someone might trip over them (criticism). But I do love the new towel rack you put up. Thanks! (compliment) Don’t you think that would be much better received than, “Move your tools! You’re always leaving things for me to trip over.”