Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one every hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of this body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. " This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33 NRSV
As I said yesterday, the understanding of these verses must include Christ's love for the church, which becomes a husbands' love for his wife. We talk about being Christ's body when we speak of being the church. Therefore the husband should treat his wife as he does his own body, caring for her with consistent tenderness. Christ loves the church as a husband loves his wife.
What I find really interesting is that Paul never mentions the love a wife should have for the husband. Paul says the wife should be subject to her husband and respect the husband but only the husband is instructed to love his wife. And he spends a lot more time instructing husbands than he does wives!!!
As a wife, I understand that sometimes respecting your spouse is harder than loving your spouse. Any married people out their agree with me on this? My understanding is that contempt for one's spouse can be the decisive emotion on the road to divorce. Paul seems to have a good grasp of that making me wonder about his parent's own marriage....
Paul asks husbands to love their wives as they do their own bodies. Paul asks wives to subject themselves to and respect their husbands. But Paul does this within the understanding of what it means to be the Church, the Body of Christ. Self-sacrifice is involved for both marriage partners. This is not an imarriage or a me-marriage. This is about being one.
God, you ask a lot of us in our marriages and in the church. We really are struggling with these things, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Question for today (and for yesterday, which I forgot): After thinking of what Paul is trying to say about marriage, do you agree? Does your own marriage or your parents' marriage fit the model of Christ and his Church?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims