Submissive Wives, Sacrificial Husbands…
Few verses stir more debate in modern society than today’s verse:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. -Ephesians 5:21-27, NAB
How can a “modern” Church still hold tightly to these beliefs? In today’s society, should women still be submissive to their husbands? As old-fashioned as this verse may sound, it has a purpose, but that purpose is only revealed if you read the entire verse.
The first, and most highly contested, portion of this verse tells women to be submissive wives to their husbands. This is a free choice of her own will. No woman is forced to do anything – marriage is not slavery. And if a husband is making moral, unethical choices – especially those that contradict the Word of God – she need not follow.
Still, for modern women, this is a difficult pill to swallow, but the second half may bring more comfort. Unfortunately, many leave off the role of the husband in this union, where men are charged with the task of sacrificial leadership: always putting the needs of their wives, and their families, before their own. They must be sacrificial husbands.
How did Christ lead the Church, His bride? By sacrificing everything on the cross. He humbled Himself and became man, He devoted His life to serving others, He submitted to great pain and agony before His death, and finally, He gave the ultimate sacrifice – His life – on the cross. Men, are we truly following that example?
Choosing to watch sports all day, instead of helping around the house, is not sacrificial leadership. Letting your wife deal with cranky kids, while you spend all day Saturday golfing, is not sacrificial leadership. Working long hours to further your career, in lieu of spending time to further your marriage, is not sacrificial leadership.
According to today’s verse, women are called to be submissive to their husbands, but more importantly, men are called to sacrificially serve their wives, willing to give up everything for their sake, just as Christ did for His Church. Men, are you man enough to take the challenge?