Wives Submit; Husbands Love—Colossians 3:18-19
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:18-19)
Wives submit; husbands love—If we can master it; this is the key to a Christ-centered marriage. However, it is not popular to instruct anyone to submit, because it carries with it the notion of being less than. Submitting in our culture tends to degrades the person’s worth in our eyes. But this idea of being less than is not the idea presented in this passage. Rather, Paul gives practical instructions on how to have a happy marriage; one of mutuality, not hierarchy.
First, wives are asked to submit to their own husbands. This is a sign of respect, considering the other person, valuing their ideas and considering them important enough to be heard and trusted. It doesn’t mean that women are to blindly follow without a say or opinion. In fact, this process works because both parties are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
On the other hand husbands are instructed to love their wives. In the book of Ephesians Paul takes this one step further telling husbands to love their wives sacrificially, just as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Husbands are to love in a way that assigns great value to their wives.
These two things are the key to a peaceful marriage. The Apostle Paul expanded on this idea in the book of Ephesians, “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Love and respect creates an atmosphere where marriages thrive. Men have an innate need to be respected and honored and women need to feel loved and appreciated. We might be wired differently, but when those individual needs are met then there is a healthy foundation for the marriage.
A Picture of Christ & the Church
But here’s the amazing truth—through marriage we get a clearer picture of Christ and the Church. In Ephesians Paul spends time giving instructions to both husbands and wives, but his real point is to illustration the relationship between Christ and the Church. “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). There is a hierarchy in the body of Christ, we submit to Him but He continually serves us; the relationship is mutual. If we are regularly submitting and serving each other then we are following the example Christ set for us.
I’d Love To Hear From You…
Today, may you take a moment to reflect on this profound truth—that marriage gives us a working illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church. How does knowing this help you live out Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives?