Summary: If you want harmony in your home, submit to one another, respect your husband and love your wife
Gayle Urban of Woodbridge, Virginia, was browsing in a Christian bookstore where she discovered a shelf of reduced priced items. Among the gifts was a little figurine of a man and woman, their heads lovingly tilted toward one another. “Happy 10th Anniversary” read the inscription. It appeared to be in perfect condition, yet its tag indicated “damaged.” Examining it more closely, Gayle found another tag underneath and chuckled – “Wife is coming unglued.” Gayle Urban, Woodbridge, Va., Christian Reader, “Lite Fare”)
Sad to say, that happens too often in marriage. The husband and the wife become unglued, and the peace is gone.
When God performed the first wedding ceremony, He looked upon the union of that first couple and called it “very good!” Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with one another. They did not fight over who was in charge and who was going to get their way each time. They simply loved and respected each other. They delighted in each other, and they made their decisions together, each with the desire to please the other.
Then sin entered the picture. A power struggle began to taint every marriage with the husband trying to lord it over his wife and the wife trying to manipulate and control her husband. Perfect harmony was lost, and married couples have been struggling with discord ever since.
The question is: How can we restore harmony to the home? How can we bring back real peace in the marriage relationship? How can we learn to truly enjoy our mates without concern about who’s in charge? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians 5, Ephesians 5, where the Bible tells us how we can have harmony in the home.
Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (ESV)
If we want harmony in the home, then we must learn to…
SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER.
The husband and the wife both must show deference to each other. They must put each other first. Literally, they must both rank themselves under the other. The word, “submit,” is primarily a military term, which means “to rank under” (VINES).
When the wife looks to her husband as her captain, AND when the husband looks to his wife as his captain, then there is harmony in the home. We’re talking about a MUTUAL submission here, incumbent upon BOTH the husband and the wife. EACH is to put the interests of the other above his or her own interests. That’s what brings them together.
Think about it as two triangles. The biblical teaching on submission is not so much an authoritarian hierarchy with one triangle above the other. Nor is it a feminist egalitarianism with one triangle beside the other. Instead, by asking the wife to submit and the husband to sacrifice, biblical submission looks like this: two triangles together (forming a Star of David).
Kevin Miller says, “Biblical submission is harder to understand than the world's alternatives of authoritarian hierarchy or feminist egalitarianism; it's mysterious, but beautiful, and it moves people closer together.” (Kevin A. Miller, Carol Stream, Illinois)
You see, it’s not a matter of who’s in control, because for the Christian couple, the Lord is in control. This mutual submission is a result of being filled (or controlled) by the Holy Spirit (vs.18). Then when God is in control, the husband and wife become a team, each looking out for the other in submission to Christ.
Several years ago, after Philip Yancey and his wife celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1999, he reflected on their experience as a couple.
“Before marriage,” he said, “each by instinct strives to be what the other wants. The young woman desires to look sexy, and takes up an interest in sports. The young man notices plants and flowers, and works at asking questions instead of just answering monosyllabically. After marriage, the process slows and somewhat reverses. Each insists on his or her rights. Each resists bending to the other's will.
“After years, though,” Yancey says, “the process may subtly begin to reverse again. I sense a new willingness to bend back toward what the other wants – maturely, this time, not out of a desire to catch a mate but out of a desire to please [someone] who has shared a quarter-century of life.” (Philip Yancey, “A 25-Year Hike,” Marriage Partnership, Winter 1999, p.68)
That’s what happens to a Christian couple where the husband and the wife both continually allow themselves to be influenced (or “filled”) by the Holy Spirit. They begin to bend their wills towards what the other wants. They submit to one another, and that’s what it takes to restore harmony in the home. The husband and wife BOTH must submit to one another. Specifically, ladies, you must…