For the second part of this closer look at the basic foundation of marriage–with the understanding now that wives are to submit to their husbands– I’m going to take a closer look at the husbands role in contrast.
Scripture teaches that husband’s are to love their wives. As Christ came to serve, husband’s are also to serve their wives. So, this means breakfast in bed, and my blankets turned down at night right? I jest, but truthfully, Andrew does have his own sweet ways in which he serves me, like making sure my water bottle is full, or warming up my heating pad, and yes, sometimes he even does turn down the covers. (Please note, I am not the boss, I don’t make him do these things, they are just things he naturally wants to do for me out of love.) There’s freedom in submission when love looks like this because both husband and wife choose the same thing, which is to work together–serving each other even–and working as a team.
The Bible states that the husband is to submit to Christ, and the woman is to submit to her husband, and here is where we sometimes meet with shaky ground in our modern society. It would ‘seem’ to oppose the emancipation of women. (Though it really doesn’t.) Sadly, even good things can be taken too far, and inadvertently we end up chained rather than free. Unfortunately, we can totally obliterate the truth, undermining the perfectly good plan that God set in place for marriage. (This may be in part, just a lack of understanding. But I think selfish ambition, and stubbornness has a hand in there also.)
Submitting to ones husband is not as barbaric or outdated as it’s made out to be, not when the husband is told–as is the case in scripture–to love his wife. Being that he himself is to submit to Christ, his attitude should be of one who patiently, and gently takes care with his family. This isn’t always how the story goes, but there will be a part three which will address this. (I know, you didn’t sign up for a three part series, right?)
Getting back to the point at hand, submission as in the description I stated in the paragraph above, is clearly not in the image of being lorded over, but of a willingness to accept the husband’s role as one of responsibility to and for his family. (This is actually good news, and even comforting.) This is the true picture of love and marriage.
Unfortunately, today’s world has women pitted against men, in a fight to prove that we can do it just as well as, or better than men. It’s a given, that women are just as capable in many instances and have even excelled over their male counterparts. It’s the contest though, that never should have been started. Yes, women deserve to vote, work out side of the home, and all the other freedoms that we’ve won for ourselves, but there’s always one step too far, and we’re always bound to find that line and cross it due to humanities inherent stubborn and disobedient nature.
The roles set for marriage are really no different than any other worldly system which places individuals in their specified purposed positions. Everyone gets a part and a place, and like cogs in the intricate workings of a clock, when all the pieces work in unison, for the same purpose and good, the workings will knit together in a harmonious rhythm. (Again, they should.)
Unfortunately, selfish ambition all too often gums up the workings, and never leads to a happy union. Scripture teaches us to put others above ourself–which is just not the way of the world–so modern vows tend to drop the ‘honor and obey‘ for something more like ‘as long as my spouse lives up to what I expect him/her to be.’ Or in other words, ‘when the love is gone, move on.’ This is contrary to God’s plan, invites all kinds of trivial nonsense into a marriage, (Even destroying it.) and doesn’t come even remotely close to constituting love or marriage.
If we want our marriage to stand the test of time we need to learn to ‘honor and submit’, as well as to ‘love and cherish’. Marriage was meant to mirror Christ and the Church. The two were intended to be one. More often than not, this just isn’t the case, and the failed marriage is a result of one or the other, or even both, preferring to be number one, forgetting that there are two people in this relationship.
To ‘honor and submit’ is a beautiful gift that a wife can give to her husband, which in turn honors God, and to love ones wife as Christ loves the church, sets the stage for a stronger, even possibly unbreakable bond. Both of these, working together, can equal ’till death do us part,’ if we could only see the bigger picture and the grander plan that God has set forth in this amazing principal.
Now the trick of course, is to truly live it.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33