Summary: Biblical guideline for marriage
This week a friend of mine asks me to find some books that deal with marriage relationships. Basically he wanted books that would teach Christians how to instruct their mate without driving them. And he also wanted information on how to be a better Christian leader in his community. He used the fifth chapter of Ephesians as the guideline. I gave him a book by Ray Barnwell, entitled, “Connecting to Christ.” And a book by Wesleyan publishing house entitled, “Managing your Life.” I told him I would go home and study the chapter he gave me, and tell him what I could, and would try to find more books.
Now this is not an ignorant man I was talking to. He is an attorney who lives in a beautiful house, and has a highly successful business. Very intelligent, and refined. I gave him the books to help him know where I was coming from, and clear up any confusion he might have. He assured me that he knew exactly where he was with Jesus.
When I got home I started reading Ephesians and only got to the third verse of the scripture, when my friends Christianity was made null by his own will. You see this man is not married, he lives with women long enough to find out that they are not perfect, then sends them along their merry way. He is looking for a way to control them, and thought he might use the Bible to do so. How can an intelligent man read this and not see that fornication is sin, and the fifth verse very clearly states no fornicator will enter the kingdom of heaven.
I have the feeling my friend never read the whole chapter, just the part that would help him achieve his goal. He quoted wives are to be in subjection to their husbands. My response to him was husbands are to love their wives as Christ so loved the church, and gave himself for it. It is saying that marriage takes two people working together to make something wonderful for both of them. Let’s just start with verse 22 and see what it says.
The 22 verse is probably one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. It amazing how many men have read this chapter, without taking the time to understand what Paul was attempting to teach. The burden is not on the wife. It is on the husband. In today’s society, the strong dominate the weak. Jesus teaches that the strong are to lift up, and encourage, and when necessary, carry those who are weak. But let us take a look at the verses 22 to 24. This is instruction for the woman.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
1. Wives acknowledge his authority over you. Don’t fight for control. She trusts in him and his judgement.
2. Respect your husband, never humiliate him, and find ways to encourage him and help him realize his full potential. Many men never try, because they fear failure. The wife must help him to believe in himself, and attempt new opportunities that come in life.
3. In everything, except that which relates to conscience and religion, he has authority. But there his authority ceases. He has no right to require her to commit an act of dishonesty, to connive at wrongdoing, to visit a place of amusement, which her conscience tells her is wrong. He has no right to forbid her to go to church at the proper and usual time, or to make a profession of religion when she pleases. He has no right to forbid her endeavoring to exercise a religious influence over her children, or to endeavor to lead them to God. She is bound to obey God, rather than any man, See Barnes for Ac 4:19 and when even a husband interferes in such cases, and attempts to control her, he steps beyond his proper bounds, and invades the prerogative of God, and his authority ceases to be binding.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself