Ever heard the phrase “happy wife, happy life?” Or laughed at a friend and cajoled him for crossing his wife saying “you’re in the doghouse now buddy,” or “guess you’ll be sleeping on the couch tonight!”
I hear these phrases and I cringe. Why are so many men afraid of their wives? Afraid of displeasing them? Why do they LEAVE their beds when they fight, rather than sorting things out? Why do so many women endorse this lifestyle? Do they want cowtowing men for husbands? Honestly I can’t figure it out. Here’s what I do know:
Ephesians 5:22 – 33 states
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Now, this is a very tricky verse. Men, if you have to bring it up all day every day, you’re failing at being a husband. You are to lead your houses spiritually and in any other way you can. Lead does not mean the same thing as drag. As Tommy Nelson said in his Song of Solomon series of DVDs, (and I’m paraphrazing) “women, this is your verse to memorize and men, yours to never repeat.” I think there is great wisdom in that. A wife should feel, more than anything, loved by her husband. As evidenced by Ephesians 5:25.
So this is not about chauvinism or feminism or our humanly notions of relationships, it’s about turning to God for guidance in those relationships. And the above is God’s plan for the running of a household. I have feminist friends who decry this verse, abhor it, use it as proof that the Bible was the product of men looking out for their own interests. But I ask you, who has the better end of this deal?
Women, you must submit to your husbands, yes. But who must they submit to? Jesus Christ. And again, this is the part we like to forget. Probably because this is the part that makes men hold themselves responsible not to some middle management drone, not to Bob in accounting, but Jesus Christ the son of the almighty creator of the universe. That’s a high hurdle indeed, one we men will never ever clear.
I have been leading my wife in our marriage for nearly 7 years, which is telling because we’ve been married for nearly 8. We had a tumultuous first year of marriage because we ignored God’s plan and attempted an equal partnership, because this was the best compromise I could make at the time. The result was catastrophic failure, falling to our knees, begging forgiveness and swearing allegiance to God and his path.
In that 7 years I have made errors. I have lead us in the wrong direction at times, and let me tell you, that is so much worse than I ever imagined. I am responsible before God for my wife. It took me a while to realize the implication of that, but what she does is only the result of my leadership. I promise you, had this been a corporate gig, I would have been fired long ago. I will tell you flat out, if God would allow it to be the other way round, I would submit to my wife and thank God for such mercy.
So there is no chauvinism in saying wives should submit to their husbands. However, in fact there is misandry in saying that husbands should fear their wives. It’s unbiblical, counter productive, and a world away from God’s will.
So please, stop doing your wife’s bidding and cowering before her totalitarian dictatorship. Please, strap on your boots and go to work and provide for your families. Please, lead them in the direction that God sets before you, and please pray about what direction that is. Please men, broaden your shoulders, stand up straight, and lead your houses. Stop fearing your wives and be pillars of the will of God. Stay in your beds when you are angry with your spouse and talk about what is wrong. Do not abandon your bed for fear of your wives. Do not leave the house because you are fighting. You took an oathe before God to be a husband and you should honor that oathe by fighting for your marriage without reserve.
Since doing so in my marriage, blessings have been heaped upon my household. I can’t recommend a better remedy for a happy marriage than Ephesians 5:22 – 33. You can never go wrong with God’s word.