God and Marriage

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.
-Ephesians 5:32

This mystery that Paul is referring to is marriage. During the State Youth Conference of Mississippi Free Will Baptists, the speaker for the service made an interesting point. Women often complain about the "submit to your own husbands" part, but men actually have a much higher standard to live up to - "love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,..." There is more to that verse, but if you stop there, you realize that this is almost impossible. Or at least it seems that way. I'm not saying that men are better because they have a higher calling or a bigger job to do. I'm not saying that women are lesser either because their job may not seem as hard. I want to take a few minutes to compare marriage and our relationship to God.

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I'll start with the men. We are called to love our wives as much as Christ loves us. That means we love them no matter what they do. You see, there is literally nothing that we can do to make God love us more or less. That's unconditional love. We are called to love our wives even when they don't submit to us. Many times we get the idea that we don't have to do something if the other person isn't holding up their end of the bargain. That's a contract, not a commitment. No where in your marriage vows do you USUALLY find, "I will love you and stay with you, if you cook dinner for me, give me what I want when I want it, always say I'm right," and so on and so forth. You don't find that anywhere in vows, mainly because no woman would marry you if you did add that stuff to it. Our vows are always filled with, "I will always love you...You're the best thing that ever happened to me...I hope to love you as much as you love me...etc..." We commit to unconditional love, but we hardly ever mean it. We may think we do, but our hearts don't act like it. When our wife does something we think is stupid or we disagree with, our hearts rarely react with grace and understanding. We argue and point out why we think their idea is horrible and why our idea is better, and in the end we end up causing so much damage in the wake of our pride (my idea is always better than yours), that we break the hearts of our wives. We have to strive daily to be proactive, seeking ways to love our wife, and reactive, thinking of how we can respond in loving ways, when it comes to God's will for our home.

Women are called by God to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord. By the way, guys, this is not where you get to say you are God because you are not. This doesn't meant that she serves you like you're God either. Ladies as you submit to your husbands, you trust them to lead your home. Do you ever question their ideas, yes, but maybe not in public. I wouldn't be half the man I am without the support and encouragement of my wife. Support may even be a better term than submit. Wives, when you submit to your husbands by trusting and honoring them in public, it builds them up. You give your husbands strength. If you're tired of your husband being lazy and defeated all the time, you may need to make sure you're not the one who's beating him up. Again, this call isn't for wives of good husbands only. Paul points out that the submissive loving heart of a wife can eventually win over a husband. Wives, you must constantly watch and guard your husband's heart. We, men, are more fragile than we appear. If you tear us down, we will crumble. We, men, crave the support of our wives, so strive daily to be proactive, seeking ways to build up and encourage your husband, and reactive, thing of how you can respond in respectful and supportive ways, when it comes to God's will for our home.

This last note is for both, husbands and wives. We all need to practice grace. We all need to be willing to look past the lack of love and respect from our spouse and continue to respond in loving and respectful ways. If you choose to fight back, you will never grow close together; you will drift apart. The most important part of marriage is that it reflects your relationship with God. If you neglect to love and respect one another, you may need to check on how often you spend time loving and respecting God. If you are close to God, it will show up in your home. If you love God, you will love your wife. If you respect God, you will respect your husband. The two go hand in hand. If you love God, you want to spend time with Him. How many times do we say we love God, but never open His Word and spend time with Him? In marriage, how many times do we say we love each other, but never spend time with one another? Love is not without action. Don't misunderstand me. We don't go on dates or read our Bible to prove that we love each other and God. We must strive to love God and each other, and the rest will follow.

So if men are called to love their wives, and wives are called to respect their husbands, what are ways in which we can show love and respect in our home? Comment below. Please be serious and helpful, not joking and destructive.