Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I’ve been thinking about these verses a lot over the past couple months and wanting to understand more clearly and deeply, the Father’s heart on marriage. We see, through scripture, the comparison between marriage and Christ’s love for the church. We hear words of unity, respect, love and even submission. As I’ve asked for His perspective here’s what’s resonating in my heart today. Marriage is about 2 becoming 1. There are lots of ways this happens. It’s about sharing, sharing the same last name, finances, responsibilities and intimacy. I love sharing my heart with my husband, Dan…I love sharing the little things I’ve been treasuring inside, pondering over, and I love his response. Sometimes I find myself sharing things I don’t love: worries, stress, frustration; and again, I love his response. I have seen so clearly the love of Jesus poured out through the love of my husband. His encouragement, support, oneness- it’s like Jesus with skin on. Now before you get the wrong idea and stop reading let me tell you the other side of the story. It’s not all perfect. We have days just like everyone else, there are times when I’m not hearing Dan’s heart and he’s not hearing mine, times when the stuff that’s in our hearts is better left unsaid. We are both human beings who rub each other the wrong way some days. The challenge comes in those moments- will I stop and remind myself that we’re on the same team? Will I choose to believe that we’re fighting for the same goals and dreams? Do I want to make the tough choices to call my attitudes sin, seek forgiveness and move on? Will he do the same things? More often than not, the pitfalls of marriage don’t come from huge, glaring incidents, but realistically they come from small things that aren’t dealt with; things that are swept under the rug and pile up over time. So how do I get back to oneness, unity, love, and respect? In the verses above we are reminded of the words God wrote in Genesis 2:24, that’s where it started- the 2nd chapter of the Bible! “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” After speaking of unity and becoming 1, there is no place where it is suggested that we, as married couples, divide ourselves. That just sounds crazy…but don’t I do that all the time? If I really want to follow God’s heart for marriage and love my husband the way it is intended, then shouldn’t everything I do come from a place of marital oneness? Regardless of location, I should carry my husband with me through each thought and action, knowing that we are perpetually 1. Our marriage relationship parallels our relationship with Christ. Unity in our marriage should flow so completely that God is blessed and Christ is exalted. The way I choose to love Dan should clearly portray my love for Jesus and in receiving the love my husband longs to give I open my heart to the lover of my soul. These 2 relationships are set to be complete mirror images of one another. My husband and I openly loving and giving ourselves to/for each other in thought and deed; and my relationship with Jesus- actively giving myself in love to him, partnering with him in what he is doing and receiving love and intimacy in return. For me it is counter to what I’ve seen and heard from a world which says that marriage is 50/50, give and take; I say it’s 100/100! This goes against belief patterns I’ve held my whole life, it’s turned my world upside down. I see the concept, I believe in what God’s speaking to my heart and I’m working to be the bride that he desires, both for Dan and for Jesus. Am I there? Not yet, but we’re working on it. I am thrilled by the changes I see inside myself, the way it’s impacting Dan and others around me. Ultimately I know that as good as all of that is, it doesn’t compare to the richness of relationship that Jesus is cultivating inside my heart, right now…as He whispers and I wonder.