“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
In today’s world of political correctness the verses quoted in Ephesians, at first blush, can be somewhat irksome. The world today would look at the words used and say how archaic! But to a believer they are some of the most beautiful words because they depict the loving relationship Christ has with his church. Paul uses the imagery of a relationship between a husband and a wife to illustrate Christ’s relationship with his church: Christ being the husband and we, the wife, is the church. We are shown what our relationship with Christ is to be through the most significant relationship two people can have: a marriage. Unfortunately, if a man looks at these verses and says, “Aha, woman get thee to the kitchen and make me dinner”, in other words, uses them to keep his wife under foot, then he has missed the whole point. Likewise, if a woman was to look at these verses and think, “I am a second class citizen in this relationship”, she too has missed the meaning.
These verses show us the wonderful, nurturing, loving, caring, relationship Christ has with us, his church, and likewise the same love and care a husband and wife are to have for each other. God has given us marriage so we can have some kind of insight into the love Christ has for us. We are to look at our spouse and see Christ. Our faith can be intangible at times and by being in a marriage, God has given us an opportunity to see how He cares and loves us through the example of the physical, spiritual, loving relationship we have with our spouse.
May our relationship with our spouse teach us of the intimate love Christ has for us. May we love our spouse with the same intensity and intention that Christ gives us.