Wives and Husbands
21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to Himself as a glorious church, without stain or wrinkle or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.
28In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. 30For we are members of His body.
31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This mystery is profound, but I am speaking about Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 gives us the great, and often controversial, admonition concerning marriage. Husbands love your wives, wives obey your husbands.
Sometimes the church has used this to encourage men to love their wives, on the premise that this is what they really want/need. That women want to be worshiped and adored. The feminist undercurrent has minimized the women obeying their husbands as being patriarchal. The idea being that the husbands need their ego stroked or something.
But what if our thinking is wrong? What if these encouragements are actually to benefit the giver and not the recipient?
First, let’s look at the husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church. While throughout the Bible God has loved his people, many, many times scripture refers to Israel as a harlot. In fact, this is pretty much the premise of the book of Hosea. A guy marries a prostitute and spends the whole book chasing her around because he loves her.
Women, in general, don’t really want to be loved. Every woman out there has some creepy dude that idolizes her, adores her, would follow her around like a puppy. All but the most insecure women reject these kinds of men.
Men want to love. Men get fixated on one particular thing and will love it for their whole life. You see this everywhere in culture. Sports teams, cars, heck even George Clooney chasing down his beloved Dapper Dan in O Brother Where Art Thou.
Guys will be loyal to their sports team through thick and thin, while most women couldn’t care less if the Giants or the Jets are playing. Guys will drive a Chevy or Ford their whole lives, even if it’s unreliable and they have to spend every weekend working on it. Women just care if the car starts. There’s a reason no one has adapted Moby Dick with a woman as Captain Ahab, most women would think chasing a white whale was completely dumb.
So maybe, when Paul says to love your wives like Christ loved the church, he means to love her in spite of the fact that she isn’t going to love you back the same way. When she’s crazy, or interested in someone else you have to be stalwart and consistent.
In fact, Paul likens the love a man should have for a woman to the love a man has for his own body. To see what he means by this, let’s look at this passage from Corinthians:
Run Your Race to Win
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. 26Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. 27No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
You don’t nourish your body with whatever it wants, feed it fatty foods, take drugs, let it sleep til noon and be lazy on the couch. Not if you love it. People that really love and cherish their own bodies put their time in at the gym, eat clean, don’t drink excessively or do meth.
Likewise, husbands should challenge their wives, encourage them, not cater to their every whim.
Conversely, women are notorious for wanting powerful men. The old adage that women love bad boys is so true. Have a motorcycle and tattoos and a cavalier attitude, you are a chick magnet. The ladies love it.
This correlates with what every modern site about dating and attracting women will tell you. Be powerful, make yourself better, don’t chase, tell women what to do.
But what is most men’s natural state? Many, many men just cave to a woman’s every whim. This even comes down to all the memes complaining about women deciding where they want to eat.
Most husbands can’t even decide where to have dinner. Women hate this. They want a decisive, in charge man. Hence Paul’s advice to obey and submit to your husbands. Is this because men want to be in charge? No. It’s because women want a decisive powerful man in their life, so they need to empower this guy. Let him be in charge, encourage him to be in charge.
The most powerful, independent, strong women I’ve ever met will absolutely cave to a guy that asserts an opinion. They love it. Many women I know are opinionated and strong-willed with everyone they meet, except their husband. A smart woman will listen to Paul and encourage her husband to be that guy because it’s what SHE needs.
Again, if we look at scripture, Christ doesn’t love the church by putting her on a pedestal and catering to her every whim. No, Christ tells his church she has to give up everything and follow him.
The Rich Young Ruler
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words a]”>[a]he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
Imagine how different your dating life would be guys if you had this attitude. If you went and told the woman of your dreams she had to give up everything for you.
Women test men to validate their love. This is commonly referred to as a “shit test”.
‘Shit Tests, in my definition, are her way of finding out whether or not you’re a remarkable Man.
I’m not talking about her finding out if you’re potentially a pro football player here; I’m just talking about a guy who knows what he wants and is willing to go after it.
Shit Tests: Why You Fail Her Shit Tests.
Vulgarities aside, this is a modern way to express a principle as old as the Bible. The Bible is full of places where people tested God. What did God do? He had zero tolerance for it, which is exactly what guys should do. Don’t cave into a woman’s tests, don’t respond negatively, or at all if you can avoid it – just continue to love her. God is sovereign and cares little about our whining and temper tantrums, He’s still in charge and he knows it. Men should live their lives this way.
One caveat here that I will add, just in case someone reading this is a moron. I am NOT promoting abuse, or just being a jerk all the time in general. God a caring God, he loves us.
9Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Be good to the women in your life, just don’t be a doormat. And women, submit to the men in your life, encourage them to lead a little bit.