The husband and wife relationship is easy to talk about when the marriage sails along harmoniously. When it’s going through stormy weather though, it’s a different story. In Ephesians, we read how a couple can maintain harmony in their marriage.
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Our verse for today is the conclusion of the verses written before it. First, Paul talked about the wife’s relationship with the husband. Then the husband’s relationship with the wife.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. Ephesians 5:22-23
I know the word “submit” doesn’t sit well with many women. But Paul defined what he was talking about in today’s verse when he said the wife must respect her husband.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. Ephesians 5:25-26
Let’s clarify just how Christ loved the church. He laid down His life for her. Guys, maybe you can’t identify with what Christ did. You can however identify with this,each man must love his wife as he loves himself.
When the Husband and Wife Relationship Goes Sour
What do you suppose the biggest hindrance to serving and obeying the Lord is? Yes, our sinful nature. It always gets in the way. Especially when a marriage starts to go sour.
When that happens, an unspoken question arises between the couple. The question they want an answer to is this. What should come first, his love before her respect or her respect before his love?
A few years ago I was dealing with a couple in this very situation. She said, “he doesn’t show love to me.” His response was, “she shows me no respect.” So to turn things back around, who goes first? Or maybe we should ask, who stopped first?
If a couple’s dating process wasn’t built on love and respect, then it was built on the wrong thing. Chances are their relationship was built on physical attraction which led to sexual activity.
But let’s say a couple’s relationship started with love and respect. Or it developed into a loving and respectful union. When problems arise, somewhere along the line one or both of those qualities stopped.
It usually isn’t a mutual decision. It would be absurd to think a couple would come to an agreement saying, “As of today I will stop loving you and you can stop respecting me.”
No, one of them viewed the other as not fulfilling their part of the deal. In return, the other one responds with the same type of attitude or treatment.
Before you know it, both the love and respect in the marriage vanish. This resulted in the couple acting like two alley cats trying to mark their territory.
There is no “If” in the Marriage Relationship
Take note, in Paul’s dialect of the husband and wife relationship, the word “if” isn’t used at all. He didn’t say husbands love “if” and wives respect “if.”
Husbands, you must love your wife whether she respects you or not. Wives, you must respect your husband whether he loves you or not. Why? Because you are husband and wife!
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. Ephesians 5:31-31
Think about how you, me, and the entire church have at times disrespected Christ. Yet He continues to love us no matter what.
Men here is a saying I learned a long time ago. Read it and let its meaning sink deep into your heart. “She is not my wife because I love her. I love her because she is my wife.”
Check out these two posts written about love.
Lord, I pray for (your spouse’s name) and me that we would continue to walk together in perfect harmony. Help me to be the (loving husband) or (respectful wife) that will bring honor to you.
Read the entire chapter of Ephesians 5.