Marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with his body. The husband is to love his wife as she responds with respect. This is the recipe for a thriving and fruitful marriage.
We really could just stop there but those of us who are married know it’s not that easy. When we look at the lengths to which Jesus went to make his bride his cherished eternal partner, we don’t see him demanding a response. We see Jesus dying for mankind and extending his love for us before we ever loved him back. So should a husband love his wife.
A marriage in proper order is not when the man has authority over his wife but when the husband is bringing unconditional love into the relationship that produces the fruit of respect from his wife.
Who’s In Charge?
I’ve heard it said that the husband being the head of his wife means he makes the important decisions. Where does it say that? Nowhere. I’ve heard it said that the husband is his wife’s covering, wrong again.
The husband being the head of the wife means he’s first and foremost tasked with loving his wife. Not just love his wife but love her perfectly, which is how Christ loves us.
So if it’s about authority then it’s about obedience, and the husband must be in perfect obedience first.
Being the head means he goes first, he starts the process, he loves first. Don’t believe me? That’s actually the exact description Paul gives in Ephesians 5 of how the husband is the head, he equates that “position” to Jesus loving us while we were dead in our sins.
The husband is not his wife’s spiritual authority, he’s her leader in love, plain and simple.
The Top 5
Here’s a practical exercise for your marriage, feel free to use it. Each of you make a list of the top 5 things that your spouse can do to show you love and respect. Then swap lists and DO THEM!
Here are some guidelines:
Your list cannot violate your spouse’s conscience. You can not ask your spouse to do anything against the Word of God and you can not ask them to go against any healthy boundaries they have set for themselves. This includes sex.
Using your list as a weapon
The Top 5 list is not to be used as a source of division. If you do not immediately see your spouse doing the things on your list, give them time. Communicate about it and remind them in a loving way. We all have developed patterns over time, it takes time to change our behaviors and create new habits.
You can not say “you must not love me because you’re not doing the list,” or some version of that. Don’t wait for your spouse to “do” your list before you “do” theirs, LOVE GOES FIRST!
When your spouse gives you their list, read through it and internalize it. See yourself doing the things on the list. Ask your spouse why they like those things so you understand what’s going on inside them when you do these things.
Above all…communicate!!! I can not stress this enough, talk to each other, tell each other how you feel. Tell each other thank you. Say those kind things you’re thinking. The world recognizes that we follow Jesus by our love for one another, I pray your marriage is a testimony of your faith in Jesus by your extravagant love for one another.