Submission. Obedience. Be subject. These words seem so harsh, so cold – so oppressive. The funny thing about spiritual truths? They are often the opposite of how they seem. These words actually bring peace, joy, contentment, security, love, harmony…I know it seems crazy, but bear with me.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24
The idea of submitting to Jesus doesn’t seem to ruffle our feathers, yet, when we think of submitting to our husbands? Watch out.
So what does be subject mean? Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Subject – Placed or situate under; Being under the power and dominion of another; Obedient.
Pretty clear and straightforward. But what does this look like in a marriage? Let’s examine the rest of that passage.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33
You’ll notice that the majority of this passage is directed to our husbands. Our husbands are to nourish, cherish, and love as Christ loves the church. Let’s go back to Webster’s:
Nourish – To feed and cause to grow; To supply the means of support and increase; to encourage; To cherish; to comfort; To educate; to instruct; to promote growth in attainments.
Cherish – To treat with tenderness and affection; to give warmth, ease or comfort to; To hold as dear; to embrace with affection; to foster, and encourage; To treat in a manner to encourage growth, by protection, aid, attendance, or supplying nourishment.
Love – to court; to woo; Benevolence; good will; The object beloved.
And we are to respect our husbands:
Respect – To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.
Marriage is designed to teach us what the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church, is supposed to look like. Jesus loved his bride so much, he came down from his throne to walk among us. He guided, nurtured and cherished his bride. He allowed people to beat, spit on, and crucify him. He bore our sin so we might find salvation. A perfect, blameless sacrifice. That is a powerful love. That is how our husbands are to love us.
We, the church, are called to obedience. We are to be subject to the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. We show respect for Jesus’ authority when we place ourselves under him; allow him dominion over our lives, our flesh. Likewise, we are to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord.
Call to Action:
Spend some time thinking about the verses I’ve shared today. If you want to read more scriptures about it, here are a few to consider: Colossians 3:18-19, Titus 2: 3-5, I Peter 3:1-7.
On Thursday, I’ll share Submission Equals Freedom? Part 2 in this series which will be more on what this looks like in our marriages.
When both husband and wife are following God’s plan for marriage, it is a beautiful, intimate experience, and a wonderful example of our relationship to Jesus. But what happens when our husbands aren’t following God’s outline for marriage? I’ll address that, too.
All photographs on this post were taken and are copyrighted by Markle Memories Photography.