Summary: What should a Christian marriage look like?
What did he just say???
There were two lines of husbands in heaven, one for the dominant husbands and one for the passive, submissive husbands. The submissive husband line extended almost out of sight. There was one man in the dominant husband line. He was small, timid, appeared anything but a dominant husband. When the angel inquired as to why he was in this line, he said, "My wife told me to stand here."
The day Melissa and I were married, I was a nervous wreck. The wedding was supposed to start at 2:00 PM, but Melissa was not there at 2:00 PM (she blames the photographer). During the ceremony, I was so nervous that I had a hard time slipping the wedding band on her finger. To make things worse, I couldn’t light my part of the unity candle. The peak of my nervous gaffes came when I tried to sign the marriage certificate. For the longest time, or it at least felt like a long time, I could not figure out why the pen was not working, only to realize that I was holding the pen upside down.
Fortunately Melissa still decided that I was worth keeping around. This May we will celebrate eight years of marriage, and I would love to say it has been easy. I love the fact that we have rarely fought, but there have been some tense moments. We have been there for each other in many difficult situations. Depending upon the occasion, we have played the role of a “rock” for the other to lean on. We have even found ourselves just leaning on each other.
Before we were married, the pastor with whom we did our premarital counselling, opened the Scriptures to us, and we landed here in Ephesians. At first glance, it seems very pro-man, anti-woman here. At Bethany Bible College, we guys lived for the day when we be “The Head” and the women would have to “submit” to our authority.
For many years many marriages have been based on this type of totalitarian view of marriage. The husbands have deemed it their God-given right to lord power and authority over the weaker, more fragile female.
On the other hand, the roles as of late have changed. Today many women have assumed the dominate role. These ladies have pistol-whipped their husbands into being nothing more than glorified lap dogs. They feel they hold the reigns because they can manipulate their men into doing anything they want.
The men who see this passage as a hierarchical relationship love the beginning part of this passage. The women who want control buck at the idea of submission and leadership of men, so they squash it from the very beginning.
After Melissa and I were engaged, the most popular book floating around the Bethany campus was a book entitled “His Need, Her Needs” by Dr. Willard E. Harley, Jr. Within this book, which was written as a deterrent to extra-marital affairs by learning what makes your spouse click, Dr. Harley describes the five major needs of men and women. They are as following:
Five major needs of women: Five major needs of men:
1) Affection, 1) Sexual fulfillment,
2) Conversation, 2) Recreational companionship,
3) Honesty and openness, 3) An attractive spouse,
4) Financial support, 4) Domestic support,
5) Family commitment. 5) Admiration.
A major reason why marriages fail, or never live up to the fairytale ideal, is because men and women do not take the time to get to know each other. They know what they want, but they have a hard time relating to needs and desires to their spouse. Today, I want to take a little bit of the deception away, and look at what Paul is talking about here.
Before we continue, I want to address those who are not married here today. There is still something to be learned for you as well. Even if you intend to never get married, be sure to draw from this passage about your relationship with Christ. The major illustration that is drawn upon here is the relationship between Jesus and His church. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life, and allow Him to act in a way that reveals what your relationship with Christ is like.
1. Wives (Ephesians 5:22-24)
In the grand scheme of how this portion of Scripture, I find it rather amusing there are three verses addressing how a woman should respond to her husband, while there are three times that many verses addressing a man’s relationship to his wife. By sheer verse count, this portion of Scripture deals more with men than women. It is, however, a portion of Scripture that can cause some tension.
Paul starts this part about Christian relationships by addressing the highest of human relationships, the one between a man and his wife. Despite what others may suggest, their is no relationship that equals the relationship between a man and woman in marriage. All others fail in comparison.