Thank you for joining me for another Word Study Wednesday. We are still studying the book of Ephesians and this week we will look at chapter 5. Unfortunately I cannot do a verse by verse study due to time constraints, but I would like to focus on verses 22-33.
What should a Biblical marriage look like according to the book of Ephesians? This is a sore subject for many Americans because of women’s lib and the dumbing down of men in the media. In many sitcoms, today, men are portrayed as idiots and the wives are the disciplinarians and the cool ones, but is this how a marriage should look? Let’s take a look at the woman’s role in a Biblical marriage:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Eph 5:22-24 (NKJV)
This word submit means to submit self unto and this is to be a continuous and repeated action. For a woman to be subject to her husband, she has to choose to submit. In many countries , this is not even questioned because women don’t have a choice, but in free countries like America, the woman needs to choose to submit. However, this does not mean that the woman is to be a doormat. This Biblical picture of marriage only works if both the husband and wife are Christlike in their behavior. Let’s see how the husband is to treat his wife:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. Eph 5:25-29 (NKJV)
When the husband is commanded to love his wife, we need to know the Greek word for love in this verse. There are 4 different Greek words which are translated as love in the English language. I will list them below:
eros – sexual love or passionate love
agape – refers to the love of God, which is not based from feelings. It is an exercise of the will and a deliberate choice. This is the type of sacrificial love that Christ showed us when He died on the cross.
phileo – love between friends
storge – the love between parent and child
In verse 25, the husband is commanded to agape love his wife. This is a sacrificial love. If a husband loves his wife in this way, then it would be easy for the wife to submit. This type of love/submit relationship is a picture of Christ and the church. This type of love is not selfish or demanding. A Biblical marriage which has this love/submit relationship can last a lifetime, but both husband and wife need to play their part. America has a divorce rate of 50% if couples even choose to marry at all. Divorce usually happens when one or both of the partners choose not to follow God’s word. If two married believers will base their lives on God’s plan in the book of Ephesians where both learn to Sit, Walk, Stand and Bow, their marriage will last a lifetime. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. I am not an expert on marriage, but my husband and I just recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Both of us would agree that the principles in Ephesians, when followed, lead to a happy marriage. In Ephesians we learn, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” Eph 4:26 (NKJV). If you want your marriage to last a lifetime, then don’t go to bed angry with each other and never hold a grudge. Try to settle your differences before bitterness has time to set in. Study the book of Ephesians together as a couple and determine to follow what God says to do in this book. If your marriage is in trouble, then pray for your spouse. Be willing to make changes in your relationship, even if your spouse is not willing to change. Remember that it takes two to argue. You might be amazed at how your spouse will change when you are willing to make changes first. If you think you are headed for a divorce, then see a marriage counselor. Every marriage cannot be saved, but I wouldn’t give up too easily. If you want to save your marriage, then find a Godly person, whom you can trust, and pray with them over your marriage. My motto is, “God can fix anything with prayer”. This may sound childish, but this is how strong my faith is in prayer. I hope this study helps you to better understand a Biblical marriage. If you are unmarried and want to marry, then use the book of Ephesians as your guidebook in finding a spouse. Your spouse should resemble the Christian life which is described in this book. If you are careful in your selection of a spouse, this will help your marriage to last for a lifetime. I do not recommend marrying someone thinking that they will change later on. I have counseled many women through out the years and people don’t like to change. Be careful whom you choose to marry and don’t marry an unbeliever. If both of you follow Paul’s example in the book of Ephesians, you should have a happy life.