Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Last night Courtney came across a post online which stated that the goal of a husband should be to bring his wife even closer to God them himself. I realized that I have always understood this at a base level but had never really let the thoughts cycle through my mind and into my worldview. I wonder how many men in the Church have never processed this concept fully. Sadly as I look around in the world I see women more and more becoming disposable play things. Men who make a conquest out of sleeping with women and never showing them any form of respect. As our culture pushes the concept that women are equal in every aspect and can lead just as well as a man husbands are beginning to see their wife as an independent figure who can take care of herself emotionally, physically, and often spiritually. I am not attempting to downplay the abilities of women in any area of life, but instead offering the biblical model that is presented to us.
A scriptural model of marriage compares the husband to Christ and the wife to The Church. This should be the starting place in any discussion of marriage roles. The Church was covered in blemishes and yet Christ was perfect. Without digging out too many verses we can clearly see that what Christ did not do was help The Church "get by" while building himself up and meeting his own needs. Instead we see that Christ in word and deed took care of the people who would become The Church, seeking their sanctification even at the cost of his own life. Rather than trying to find the rules contained in the texts as the Jews did we instead should find the character of the Christ. The husband then should essentially be working for the good of his bride to the glory of the Father. We as men are called to serve and lead our wives even unto our own death as Christ did for us.
The husband and wife have become one flesh and growing in spirituality while leaving your wife behind is far from presenting her without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish. Your wife is in many ways an investment, you will get out what you put in. A wife who feels loved and respected will show love and respect. A wife who feels protected and honored will be bold and confident. I love the old phrase "happy wife, happy life" but our duty goes beyond the happiness of our married life. We have an edict from God to present our wives to our Father in a state of perfection.
I can easily take a look around at some of the most spiritual women I know, the women who have love flowing from their hearts to everyone in their lives. I look at these women and find a near universal truth, their husbands are strong, caring, and gentle. The book of proverbs tell us that a wife is a gift from the Father. Like everything else we have been given we are called to be good stewards of the things God has given us. Like the parable of the talents God has put the care of the wonderful yet delicate creature called woman into your hands. When our master returns will he find that you have been faithful with the gift he has given you, or will he find that you have been wicked?
About the Author: My name is Garrett and I live with my wife and 17 month old son Jude in Texas. I am currently enrolled in a ministry degree program. I write with the aim to encourage others to purify their lives and be conformed to the image of Christ. You can find me on the web at http://thefightforpurityblog.blogspot.com/