Ephesians 5:22-24 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.I was recently listening to an interview with Rebecca St James, and she was talking about meeting her soon to be husband, Jacob. The reporter asked her how she knew that he was "the one." She said he was godly. She was in prayer, the Word and seeking godly counsel, but she also said God confirmed the fact through the way Jacob CHERISHED her. She knew he was a strong man, and strong in the Lord, because he had the leadership and confidence to love her and treat her the way Jesus loves the church--sacrificial love/cherishing her.
Of course, I wondered if her husband would change. We all hear, and often experience, that our husbands cherish and adore us more easily in the courting months or years than in the years of marriage following. It shouldn't change with time, but both husbands and wives try harder when they are trying to win the approval and affection of the other person in the first couple of years. We are selfish, and it is only with the help of the Holy Spirit and the truths of God's Word in a redeemed person's heart that we can hope to cherish and obey the way we should in marriage.
Being in a marriage ministry, I hear many complaints from women about their spouse: "My husband doesn't lead like he should." "My husband doesn't give me compliments or do thoughtful things." "My husband doesn't spend time with me." "My husband works too much." "My husband leaves all the disciplining to me and wants to be the 'fun' dad." The list goes on. Most of these comments from wives rotate around the fact the husband does not cherish his wife as Christ does the church. The husband is being selfish or immature in some area, and he is not living up to his biblical role.
So how are we to respond? We know we are imperfect in our role as wives, just as our husbands are imperfect husbands. Yet we are still called to submit to our spouse as Christ submitted to God. What is Christ's example? Well, God crushed Christ on the cross for our sin, and Christ humbly allowed this (Isaiah 53:10). Are our husbands asking us to submit to anything that horribly painful and hard? I sincerely doubt it. True, Christ was submitting to a holy, perfect God, but we are called to submit to our imperfect spouse AS TO THE LORD. In other words, when we submit to our husband, we are also obeying and submitting to our perfect, holy, sovereign God. We can trust God's pefect commands and submit with confidence and thankfulness.
Therefore, we are to forgive and love our imperfect spouse and continue to pursue our role as a wife of righteousness. Despite what your husband is or isn't doing, meditate on what God has asked you to do as a wife and mother and wholeheartedly pursue this! The time you spend complaining about your spouse or resenting where he fell short could be better spent on prayer, scripture reading and serving. Have joy in the Lord despite the circumstances around you! You'll be surprised by how sometimes--not always, but sometimes, as we live in a fallen world-- a joyful and submissive wife results in a loving and cherishing husband, especially if you both are in Christ.
--When was the last time you read Bible verses telling you how to live in your role as a wife? Do you need a "checkup?"
--When was the last time you asked for forgiveness from your spouse? (without him doing it first)
--Have you recently been sinned against by your spouse and chosen to NOT tell anyone else? How did that bless the situation?
--When did you last purposefully encourage and thank your spouse for what he is doing correctly?
--Have you had a positive conversation with your spouse about what makes you feel cherished? (They can't read our minds . . .). On the flip side, have you asked your spouse what makes him feel respected and how you can better submit?
--If you are courting, are you, in a time when it is easiest, feeling cherished by the person you are with? Are you being wise in your relationship choice? Is this person leading according to scripture?
--How does Christ cherish and sacrificially love the church, and how, in scripture, did Christ submit to the headship of the Father?