The breaking down of marriages in our country is having a devastating impact on the family, the community, the church, and society. Christian marriage is to model the loving relationship that Christ has toward His church. Therefore, broken Christian marriages imply to the world that Christ has a fragmented relationship with His church.
Paul uses the symbolism of Christ’s relationship to His church as an image for the marriage relationship. Christ is the head of the church and the church is to submit to Christ (Ephesians 4:23-24). As well, the husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to her husband (Ephesians 22-24). Christ loved His church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 4:25). So also, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved His church and sacrifice for them (Ephesians 4:25). The relationship between a husband and wife is a special and mysterious portrayal of the love Christ has for His church (Ephesians 4:32).
In order to present a radiant church to our communities and impact the world for Christ, we need to increase the joy-filled Christian marriages amongst us. It appears that women can enhance their submission skills, while men can become more appealing to submit to. It seems husbands can increase their love, and wives can become more lovable. In moving toward one another in these ways, we move toward showing how Christ loves His church.
Let’s begin with husbands since they are to be the head of the wife. Christ displayed his headship through serving, suffering and sacrificing (Ephesians 4:25, Philippians 2:1-11. A man is to love his wife as himself, and he is to feed and care for her (Ephesians 4:28-29). What are a few practical ways in which men can do this? From my experiences, the majority of women hunger for spiritual and emotional connection with their spouses. A husband can talk about God with his wife, pray with his wife and family, do devotions together, encourage his wife with scripture, attend church together, get into a small group, and serve with his wife to fulfill a woman’s need for love through spiritual connection. To meet the need for emotional connection, a man can love his wife by asking her how her heart is feeling on a regular basis, listening to the events of her day, letting her talk about how she feels about their relationship, giving her eye contact and physical affection, and helping her to feel safe talking with him about anything. Most women need to feel safe with a man by having their spiritual and emotional needs met in order to feel loved in the relationship. As a wife experiences her husband’s love in these practical ways, it enables her to feel safe enough to be vulnerable with him. The ability to feel safe and vulnerable is then what empowers a woman to entrust herself to her husband and submit to him.
Stay tuned for Part II in two weeks.
Question for discussion: How will this impact the way you interact with your spouse?
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Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA