- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Friends and Family Relationships
- Published on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 15:14
Ideally, Christian marriage involves two Spirit-filled believers fulfilling their God-given roles (Ephesians 5:17-33). The husband loves his wife with an unconditional devotion to her wellbeing (verses 25-28); the wife recognizes the responsibility God has given to her husband and respectfully defers to him (verses 22-24, 33). Neither should ever have to remind the other to fulfill his responsibility, because attaining this high standard is enough to challenge each one for a lifetime.
Rather than looking at marriage as male-dominant, verse 21 establishes marriage as "Lord-dominant," where both are in subjection to the Lord and respectfully defer to Him. "Fear" in verse 21 and "reverence" in verse 33 are closely related words. Aware that the Lord has entrusted to them what is best for them, both marriage partners fulfill their differing roles because of submission to Him. Both act because of obedience to the Lord and not because of the other spouse’s obedience to Him. No matter whether these roles are delightful or difficult to fulfill, the strength to obey the Lord in this can only come from the Spirit of God. Christian marriage requires a willingness to be a Spirit-filled marriage partner.
Subjection does not indicate that a wife exists for the benefit of her husband. In fact, he is responsible to nourish her (verse 29). "A woman’s job" and "a man’s job" are not absolute definitions, but a husband and wife define them by mutual agreement. The couple makes these and all decisions in the marriage with the understanding that God has entrusted to the husband both leadership in the relationship and responsibility for the health of the marriage and for the spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and financial well-being of his wife.
Exactly how this works will differ in each marriage, but true subjection is a wife’s glad participation in this God-ordained arrangement.