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Faith Alive! | Commandments of Christ 19

19. Concerning marriage relationships

From issue 103 (September–December 2012)

84. Husbands to love, cherish and honour their wives

Throughout scripture the relationship between a husband and wife is used to describe the relationship between Christ and the ecclesia. The parallel is more than just being illustrative; it provides an example for us to put into practice in our everyday life.

Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”. We know that the ecclesia is described as the “betrothed” of the Lord Jesus and he looks forward to the great wedding when he takes those whom he loves as his bride. As Christ loves his ecclesia, the same applies in a marriage relationship. A husband is the head of the wife and takes responsibility for her well-being and eternal salvation, as the Lord did for the ecclesia. In the kingdom Christ and the body will have a unity of heart and mind and spirit, a oneness demonstrated in the marriage bond.

As a man cares for his own natural needs – food, health and well-being, and spiritual needs, so the Lord cares for the ecclesia, and this sets the standard for husbands. There is no room in a marriage for bitterness, cruelty, embarrassment and being disrespectful. The Lord would not treat his ecclesia in this way, so a husband should love his wife as himself and seek her natural and spiritual well-being as he does his own. The aim is selflessness, not selfishness. A wise husband should be patient and understanding and he will do the right thing according to scriptural principles. He should show respect to his wife because she is weaker in body, yet equal in her standing before God. Both are called and chosen and hope to be glorified. Both are heirs of the promises, joint-heirs with Christ.

85. Wives to love, submit to, and obey their husbands as the head

In Ephesians 5:22,23 Paul explains that a wife should look at her husband as the Christ-like figure in the relationship: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church”.

When Eve was created out of Adam’s side, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23,24). Woman is out of man and for man. This was marriage – it was instituted by God at the very beginning. So, the wife’s role is to be a counterpart, companion and an enhancer of her husband, drawing out his strengths. Wives need to remember that loving their husband is a duty, not just a natural emotion. They are exhorted to be affectionate, cherishing, comforting, devoted, and show gratitude to their husband for the things he provides.

Submission towards her husband should be a way of life for a wife. As Sarah called Abraham “Lord” within herself, so we see that her attitude was one of submission and obedience to him from within her heart, just as those who are baptized should show submission and obedience to their Master, the Lord Jesus. The wife must respect and obey her husband not just because he is kind and thoughtful (which hopefully he is!), but because it is a command from God. This command is intended to teach believers about their future hope of being one of those chosen to be in the kingdom, as part of the bride of Christ.

Lindsey Whitehouse


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