Like most siblings, my sisters and I share a unique relationship. It’s one of giggling, deep talks, lazy afternoons, absolute nonsense, and the occasional urge to cause bodily harm to one another. Why? Because we know one another. We know what the others find funny. We know exactly when and how to push each other’s buttons and the exact second we’ve gone too far. We know that a split second glance with the same facial expression every time can have a thousand different meanings and we know which one it is every time.
On the other hand, when my husband and I met we had to start completely from scratch. He didn’t know the ins and outs of my personality. He didn’t know that I can’t stand beans and I love musicals and corny jokes. He didn’t know that when I narrow my eyes that can mean I’m not happy about something or simply just that I’m deep in thought. After five years together, we’re still learning about each other.
If you’re not already, most of you will probably experience this one day. Your husband will be the strongest relationship in your life. Every person is unique and that makes every relationship unique. There are multiple things to know about any person, but there are a few things that we all need to know.
Ephesians 5: 22-33 shows us a comparison between husband and wife and Christ and His church. It seems that these days, it’s not a very popular passage. I can hear the complaints now: “Only those Bible beaters would believe something that has ’wives’ and ‘submit’ in the same sentence” and “Don’t they know it’s the 21st century?”
While it is sad that this passage is often equated with the belief that women are intellectually and overall inferior beings, that just isn’t the case. Simply put, the passage is saying that the husband should love the wife and the wife needs to respect the husband, just as Christ loves the church and the church needs to submit to Him. It’s saying we have different needs, different roles. It’s saying we are different and it’s teaching us how to KNOW what the other person wants and needs.
God created us and knows exactly what we need. He knows what men need, which is to be respected. Men were given a responsibility that we weren’t – to be the leader (v. 23). This means they have a need to be respected. In ways that women might never understand, they need that. And they need us to know that. Submission isn’t a tragic, terrible, archaic notion, but the realization that in order for men to feel loved, they must feel respected.
The other part of this passage is how husbands are to treat wives. We love to be loved. We love the idea of a man who is willing to give up everything to show his love. We’re sappy and romantic and, despite popular convention, we like to be taken care of. God knows that too.
Most of you reading this aren’t ready for marriage and might wonder why what my point is. I just want you to keep in mind that when you are ready to start looking for people you want to spend your life with, look for someone who knows you. Look for someone who is willing to look to the One who knows you best to see how you should be treated. Look for someone who follows God and is willing to be a leader. Look to yourself and make sure that you know how to fully respect and trust someone to lead you toward Him. Look for someone who loves you “as himself” (v. 33) and would do anything for you.
Above all, look to God. He created us. It is only through Him that we know how to love and is by Him that we know what love is. He knows us and knows how we need to be loved. Follow that example. Never settle for less than you can give or get.
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)