TO CHEW ON: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22
In marital relationships the fashion has changed. Nowadays if you say the word “submit” when you’re talking about how a wife should relate to her husband, some would have you wash your mouth out with soap. A wife submitting to her husband is considered so yesterday—no, not even yesterday, so archaic!
[The word translated “submit” comes from the Greek hypotasso. It means “to arrange under, subordinate, subject, put in subjection, subject oneself, obey, submit to one’s control; yield to one’s admonition or advice.”] Nothing ambivalent about that!
In fact Paul has something (controversial to modern ears) to say to every member of the family:
Wife: Submit to your husband as to the Lord. Be subject to (same “submit” word) your own husband in the same way the church is subject to Christ, deferring to him as your head* like the church defers to Christ as its head (Ephesians 5:22-24).
[*Head: kephale: literal head, where the loss of the head destroys life; metaphorical - anything supreme, chief; of persons: master, lord; of husband in relation to his wife; of Christ, the Lord of the husband and of the church.]
Husband: love your wife like Christ loved the church in a selfless, giving way, to the same extent that you love and care for yourself, working for her well-being, beauty, and purity (Ephesians 5:25-29).
As a couple: leave your parents’ home and become joined and intimate as a new entity - Ephesians 5:31.
Children: Obey your parents, honor them (which comes with a promise of well-being and longevity) - Ephesians 6:1-3.
Fathers: Don’t provoke [parorigizo - rouse to wrath, provoke, exasperate, anger] your children. Bring them up, and train them to know and obey the the Lord - Ephesians 6:4.
As old-fashioned as this advice may sound, can you imagine our society if everyone lived by it? God’s design for marriage and the family is to reflect His sacrificial love to us and our submission to Him. It might be out of modern favor but I don’t know of any modern model for the family that sounds more harmonious and functional (but difficult to live out in one's own strength).
PRAYER: Dear Father, I need faith that You know best and Your power to live these things in my imperfect, everyday life. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.