Today's guest post is from my real life friend Jean Strating. Jean and her husband Jack have been married for 41 years and have three grown children. Jean is not a blogger, but she does have a passion for studying and sharing God's word. Here are some of her thoughts about Biblical submission, a topic that is so often misunderstood.
If Momma Ain’t Happy Nobody’s Happy - Part 1:
How many times have we heard, “If momma ain’t happy nobody’s happy”? I even have a friend who wrote a song with that as the title. But why isn’t momma happy? Is she sad or is she not getting her way in the relationship with her husband?
Marriage is a covenant made with God and a partnership between two people. What does God expect of us in this covenant partnership? In Genesis 2:24 we are told and man shall leave his father and mother and cleave (hold fast) to his wife: and they shall be one flesh. In Hebrews 13:4 we are told to let marriage be held in honor by all. Sounds easy enough, right? Get engaged, have a nice wedding, move into your own home and become a family. Then why do so many of us feel we are not doing a good job as a spouse or are not happy in marriage?
The Apostle Paul writes about marriage in his letter to the Ephesians. What would a single man living in New Testament times know about marriage? It seems he knew to compare marriage to the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22 – 33). The relationship of the wife to her husband is to be “subject” to him as the Church is subject to Christ. The Greek word for “subject” (adj.) means in submission to or in control of.
You may be thinking, “Whoa! I’m not under the control of any man, including my husband!” But look deeper into the Ephesians passage where it talks about love and respect. If I don’t love and respect my husband how should I expect him to love and respect me? If I am my husbands’ partner and want my own way it would be like two horses harnessed together, each pulling in a different direction, and getting nowhere.
Likewise, if my husband wanted his way it would be the same thing. When two become one it is not only a sexual reference but could also be looked at like that team of horses; separately they may have the freedom to go their own way, but when they are harnessed together they become one team and so it should be with us.
If a man loves his wife as he loves himself and the wife, in turn, respects her husband then the issue of control should rarely come into the relationship. I believe in the spiritual headship of a husband, but that does not mean he has been given the right to use a heavy hand to make his wife submit to anything he wants. Rather it gives the husband the opportunity to grow in Christ with his wife and demonstrate his love of Christ by the way he loves his wife. He should not only love her romantically (Greek = eros) but also rationally seeking the welfare of others (Greek = agape). Even if the romance dwindles with time and/or children the rational love must be sustained.
(To be continued)