Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul taught the Ephesians the recipe for the happy Christian family: Submit to one another. To submit is to yield authority to a superior force. Note that it is ‘to one another’. In Chinese it means to 讓＝ to give way. To add another word to it, it becomes 謙讓 = humility. Indeed, o what peace – great peace will be maintained in the home when everyone has humility to give way – to submit to one another. And why do we do this? Because we respect the head of our home who is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the true model of humility. If we respect Him, we want to follow His example.
How do we submit? There are two ingredients for humility. Love and respect. Ladies first.
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.
Again Paul used a comparison, we are to yield to our husband just as the church is to yield to Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus is the head of the church, our husband is the head of our home. It’s important to note that we are to follow his lead in ‘Everything’… even when we think we are right, even when we think we know better. Why? What if he’s wrong? There is implication in these verses: Just as Christ is head of his body, of which he is the Savior. So I need to submit to Andrew as he is my head of my home, of which he is provider and leader of Marlene, Hannah, Abigail and Michelle. My role is to submit to be an example to my children. Andrew has a role too. What is his role?
Paul taught not only the wives to submit, he taught the husbands to love. Notice that there are 3 verses for the wives on submission and 8 for the husbands on loving. Read on…
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing 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.”
How to love your wife? Follow Jesus in the way He loves His church. How?
1) v. 25 Jesus gave Himself up. That sounds like sacrificial love, isn’t it? It involves giving way too, doesn’t it?
2) v. 26-27 Holiness, cleanliness, radiance, spotless, unstained, without blemish, blameless.. These are the traits of a faithful husband and wife – who are committed to each other – to stay pure and stay true to each other. How to be clean? through the word – does the Bible guide the home to be a clean, spotless, holy without stain and wrinkle? How do women maintain a clear skin without blemish – they wash, they clean, they stay radiant. A holy marriage is more than skin-deep. It takes commitment and faithfulness to be pure and holy – especially in the marital bed.
3) v.28-31 Love your wife as yourself. Love her as you love your own body. If you love your wife, you love yourself because the two of you are one flesh. Again Jesus is our example – how to feed and care for his body – the church. Just as how Jesus loves the church, husbands are to love their wives.
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.
Men need respect. Andrew wants and needs me to respect him. He is the head of our home. I show my respect when i give importance to his role as leader of our family – me and my children. I support and help him in his responsibilities: I set an example to my children. It is not about being right, it is more about being humble. Yes, I can and there will be times when I disagree with him but I need to be mindful to disagree agreeably. I need self-control – to keep my mouth shut even when I feel like ‘giving’ him a piece of my mind. 🙂 I can assure you – it is not easy. There are times when I feel or I think that my ways are better. I realized that it is alright to feel that or think that. Submitting is not about being martyred or timid or oppressed. It is about respect – yielding, giving way to authority. I can tell him my thoughts and my feelings – but how do I do it or say it, is more important than what I say. In the end, it is about humility. If Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Prince of peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God can be a humble babe in a manger, my substitute on the shameful cross, who am I not to be humble?
Husbands, there is only one word for you – love. Love your wife as you love yourself. Love means giving attention. Love is patient and kind. Be patient when your wife wants to tell you what’s in her mind and her heart. Just listen – there’s often no need to give answers and solutions to the things your wife tells you. She just needs a listening ear. Be kind – be gentle even when you feel like exploding with frustration or anger. Women need to be treated with TLC (tender loving care). And TLC is more than gifts or treats or trips. It is about your presence. And presence is more than physical presence – it is being attentive in mind, body and soul.
Candidly, let me tell you, we, wives are easily pleased. Small things give us much pleasure already. Try to discover what makes your wife smile. Ice cream? Hugs? Kisses? A massage? A love note? Changing the diapers of your baby? Getting up from bed when the baby is crying? Hmmm… you might say, those are no small things already. 🙂 Good news, you do not need to do it everyday. Once in awhile – to surprise your wife – sometimes these surprises go a long way to make a happy wife. Happy wife, happy life. Try it, you might find life is definitely more exciting.