“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord… Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:22, 25)
Lesson #1: Paul doesn’t say, “Husbands, tell your wives to submit.”
This seems fairly obvious, and yet, many husbands and wives completely miss the point of this verse. The bible tells husbands and wives what they are each responsible to do. At no point does it tell husbands and wives that they are responsible for the actions of the other.
As a husband, it is not my job to tell my wife to submit. That’s God’s job. My job is to love. Whether or not I feel she is submitting correctly, that doesn’t change the fact that God told me to love her as Christ has loved me.
Lesson #2: God’s command is impossibly high.
Not only does God tell me that it’s my job to love my wife (whether or not she is submitting); but He also gives me a standard to live up to:
“Even as Christ loved the church.”
So, according to a biblical model of marriage, I’m supposed to love my wife in the same way that Christ loves me. Now, forgive me for asking, but that seems… just a little bit… entirely ludicrous, right? And yet, that is God’s command. Which means it’s entirely within my reach. I am biblically mandated to love my wife an impossible amount. Fortunately, nothing is impossible for him that believes.
I’d like to point out that the husband’s commission is much higher than the wife’s. She is commanded to love me like the church has loved Christ. And historically, the church hasn’t always set the bar so high. So if I feel my wife isn’t living up to her end of the deal, what is my response? To love her an impossible amount in response.