Kate says . . .
We have shared many times from Ephesians 5, as it is our basis for our One Flesh Marriage blog and ministry. I personally have come to love the book of Ephesians and spend a great deal of time in it. I recently have been chatting with God over these scriptures in Ephesians:
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 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. (5:22-27 -NIV)
I love the imagery here. Our husbands are the picture of Christ and we (the wives) are the picture of the church. Paul is drawing a parallel image to show us, how we are to respect our husbands and submit to them, just as the church does to Christ. What a beautiful picture ladies, that Christ is the bridegroom and the church is His bride. To me these verses are very powerful and the imagery is simply beautiful!
I think that there are also some other parallels in these verses. Since we are the “Church” (big “C” church meaning, all believers) in these verses and our hubby’s are compared to “Christ”, have you ever thought that how you approach your marriage with your hubby shows him a picture of “church”? I know this may sound a bit strange, but hang with me. I believe that how you handle yourself as a wife, how you respect and treat your husband, how you prioritize him and how you approach intimacy affects how they feel about church. By this church (small “c”) I mean, a local body of believers that worship together, grow together and serve together.
I believe that how we treat our husbands affects all areas of their lives. It effects how our husband’s view themselves, their confidence, it effects their work, their role as a father, just to name a few areas. But have you ever stopped to contemplate how we choose to respect and love our hubby’s greatly effects how they view church. It may even directly effect how they feel about going to church at all. Our husbands very much desire respect; they need our support and our willingness to come along side of them as they work hard to love us, care for us and provide for us.
I am challenging that if we are not doing these things (respect, supporting, affirming, etc), if we are wrestling them for control and showing a lack of respect, then we are greatly effecting the way they worship, connect at church and think of church in general.
I am not saying that this is a rule, perhaps if there are times like this in your marriage, your hubby will be spiritually supercharged and his view of church will not be affected. But I have seen many couples, us being one of them where this has been true! Also, this is in no way absolving husbands of some responsibility for their own attitude towards church. I think each individual is responsible for his or her own relationship with Christ, but I also want to encourage all of the wives to think about how you are representing that relationship. This will be especially true for any of you whose husbands are not currently participating in church.
Brad will have to share with you from his point of view, but it seems to me that when I was very poor at lifting him up, showing him respect, he was less confident at church.
The marriage relationship is unlike any other relationship that God created for us. Genesis 2:18 says, The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” There are some people that God has called to remain unmarried, but for most of us, he desires that we would be married and fulfill each other in many ways. While a marriage can never replace our relationship with Christ, it is the second most important relationship you will ever have. Other then our relationship with Christ, it is the only relationship where we “become one” with another person. Therefore how we treat each other will greatly affect each other.
I once heard a pastor, who was speaking to a mom’s group say, “If your husband is not real enthusiastic about church or has not committed his life to the Lord, the best thing you can do for him after he attends church with you, is to go home and make love to him!” Hmmm . . . I have to admit when I first heard that I was a bit shocked and honestly somewhat annoyed. But now, years later as I have mulled that over, it is not such a bad idea. How we give of ourselves to our hubby’s will effect how they think about everything in life, including God and his church!
Think over what I have said and feel free to share your thoughts with us. I realize this may be something completely new, but I would challenge you that how you follow God’s commands to wives, could greatly affect how your hubby views and gets involved in church. Are you, as his wife lifting him up, encouraging him and loving him through respect? Think it over and chat about it with God. There is no mistake that God’s word holds great wisdom for our marriages and Paul’s imagery here I believe is no exception.
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