“Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:24
When it comes to marriage, there is one picture that both the husband and the wife must have in their minds in order to understand how marriage is supposed to work. They will never understand their individual roles, why those roles are different, and how they beautifully compliment one other without this clear picture. That picture is the Church. How do we know this? Because the Apostle Paul uses the word “church” six times in this passage in Ephesians on marriage.
Here is the simple principle: The way a wife relates to her husband is the way the Church is to relate to Jesus. The way a husband relates to his wife is the way that Jesus relates to His Church. Christ is the head of the Church. The husband is the head of his wife. The Church, as the body, supports the leadership of Jesus. The wife, as the body, supports the leadership of her husband.
This is not only Scripture; it is common sense. This is the way it is in all of life. Children are to be subject to the authority of their parents. Citizens are to be subject to the authority of the government. Employees are to be subject to the authority of their bosses. Every plane needs a pilot. Every ship needs a captain. Every army needs a general. A human body needs a head and that role of headship in the body of marriage has been assigned to the husband.
How should the body submit to the head? How should the wife submit to her husband? In the same way that the Church should submit to Christ – with love. The way a woman expresses her respect and love to her husband is by supporting his leadership. She should do this because 1) She loves Jesus; and 2) She loves her husband. In Ephesians 5:24 we see the limits to submission. The Church submits to Jesus in everything because Jesus will always tell us to do only the things that are right and pleasing. A woman should never submit to her husband if he asks her to do anything that is unscriptural or immoral. A loving husband should never ask his wife to do anything of that nature.
Wives, out of a reverence of Jesus, a love for Jesus, and a submission to Jesus, if you support the leadership of your husband and give him the respect that he so craves and desires, you will be doing your part in helping each of you live happily ever after.
Dear Lord, thank you for the beautiful picture of a godly marriage you lay out for us in your Word. I pray that you would help me to honor you with the way I fulfill my role in my marriage. Remove from my heart any bitterness, rebellion, and selfish intent, and help me to be a selfless, loving, and caring spouse. Amen.