A Biblical Marriage

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, 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.

–          Ephesians 5:21-33


“I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple, to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast.  I believe that if we had not fallen … patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government.  But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that ‘all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.  The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. …

“Equality is a quantitative term and therefore love often knows nothing of it.”

–          C. S. Lewis, ‘Membership’


Controversy Alert!  Okay, if you have reached this point without turning the site off, you are prepared.


When I read this portion of Lewis’ essay, I had just listened to Chad Prather’s latest video.  In it, Prather “celebrated gender inequality”.  In a humorous way, he pointed out that women could do things that men could not do.  What had prompted the rant was the viral video of the breastfeeding police officer in Argentina.  His initial point was that whether you were offended by public breast feeding or not, a woman can do that and a man cannot.  He went on to talk about child bearing, but ended with a plea for chivalry on the part of men.  Women can change tires, unclog sinks, and open a door all by themselves, but if a man offers to help, that does not diminish the woman.  It just proves that the man has been taught good manners.  He even said that if it were not for woman, manners would not exist.  Okay, enough of Chad Prather’s comedy – but sage advice nonetheless.


In Ephesians, Paul spells out a perfect Biblical marriage.  Why does it not work?  Lewis answers the question, sin.  And before you start pointing out the sins of your spouse, remember your own.


I was horribly naïve and am still too much that way.  I made a mistake of believing what my parents told me.  My parents were taciturn.  There was not much there, but I listened – and none of it worked.


These days the kids wonder how much tongue to use on a first kiss, but when I grew up, polite people did not use any tongue at all.  But kissing is far too simplistic a measure of what follows in a marriage.  That public display of affection at the end of the wedding ceremony does not tell the story of what will follow.


Men, if you truly loved your wife as Jesus loves you, you would never treat your wife’s submissiveness as free license to corrupt that power.  I try to make no decision without discussing it with my wife.  We try to look at the pros and cons together.


Some people want idyllic families as seen in the 1950s TV sitcoms.  Earth to people like that – It doesn’t work that way.  Don’t get me wrong.  I would love for TV sitcoms to go back to that kind of show rather than make fun of the brokenness of the world.  Not to put my head in the sand, but to show an ideal, rather than to portray the brokenness as being a ‘value’.


Is your house spotless?  Who keeps it that way?  Does the spouse insist upon it, but never lifts a finger to make it so?


Why do I ask?  My wife and I are not great housekeepers.  Once the boys were gone, it did not matter that things were not dusted.  When company comes over, we get in a frenzy to prepare – and please do not get curious about the spare bedroom (hint, hint).  We know what ‘clean’ means, but if either of us forced our concept of the ideal housekeeping on the other, there would be strife.  We love each other too much for that.  So, my wife’s Hummels have dust on them.


Too many spouses look at what the other spouse is not doing.  If it is important to you, do it yourself and don’t complain.


Lewis’ last sentence in the quote above is a good conclusion.


“Equality is a quantitative term and therefore love often knows nothing of it.”


Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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