Today you should read: Ephesians 5:22-33
Today’s passage has been one that can cause a lot of division. This idea of submission between husband and wife is one that in our American culture is seen as “ignorant” or “old school.” We want to be seen as progressive in our thinking toward women and men. We should be seen as equal partners. In many cases the wife is the one who leads the home and the husband submits. I would argue that this passage is in agreement that both men and women are equally important and equal partners in the home. There is great hope in the instruction and the order that God has set up for the home.
Paul’s first instruction is to the wives. They are to “submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.” This is literally saying that submitting to the leadership of your husband is an act of worship to the Lord. Submitting to your husband has little to do with your husband. For a wife to submit to her husband in the way that this passage describes means you have to have a complete trust and confidence in Jesus Christ as Lord. You may say, “I don’t think that my husband is capable to lead.” I would counter back with do you think that God through Jesus is capable to lead your husband? If your answer is no then I pray and I hope you pray that God grows him in these areas.
I want to be clear that this passage is not saying that you cannot contribute to the decisions of your household. Absolutely, you should not only contribute but a good husband will want your impute because God has designed you to be his helper (Genesis 2:18). As a husband I am often faced with tough decisions for our home and my wife is the first one that I ask for impute and help. Often she has excellent ideas and input that we end up going with. This passage is also not saying that as a wife you can’t oversee certain areas of your household. My wife is great at organizing and detail so we meet to together from time to time to discuss decisions to be made about our finances but she oversees it because she is better at it. Finally, this passage is not saying that you should ever live in an abusive situation. If this is your situation please seek help from your pastoral staff and appropriate authorities.
This leads me to the husband, we as husbands are called to lead as servant leaders in our home. If you read verse 25 it should convict all of us. We are to give ourselves to our wife as Christ gave himself to the church. Christ came and sacrificed himself not only in leadership but even to death on a cross so that we can be saved. This means that every decision that we make for our home should be for the benefit and edification of our wife. Our main goal is to inspire and encourage her in her faith. Husbands sacrifice our own desires for the good and betterment of our home.
This passage does not say that we Lord over our wives. Jesus is Lord over you and your wife. We as husbands are stewards and we will answer to how we treat his daughters. This passage does not say that your family helps lead your home. Verse 31, says that you leave your father and mother and cling to your wife. She is now your main family. It does not mean that you can’t accept some wisdom from your family but final decisions should be made between husband and wife. I can’t tell you how many couples that I have either counseled or just known about through friendship that the lack of leaving and cleaving has caused great harm in the marriage. One couple that I know ended in divorce over this issue. If you are reading this and you are an In-law I encourage you to push your children to leave and cleave to one another. Finally, this passage does not say that your wife is less that you. In many cases your wife will be smarter and more talented than you. Good leadership will result in those you leading flourishing not floundering. There is no room for pride in God’s model of leadership.
Questions to ponder:
Husbands are you serving your wife sacrificially? Is she growing closer to God because of your leadership? Is she flourishing or floundering? Do you make it easy for your wife to submit to your leadership?
Wives are you praying for your husband’s leadership? Do you submit to your husband’s decisions for your family? Are you a helper or a hurter?
Posted by: Chad Wiles