The second half of Ephesians 5 is such a popular passage. It’s often read at weddings because Paul outlines the relationship of husbands and wives, which is really supposed to be an image of Christ and the Church.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of the marriages I see don’t represent Christ and the Church. I’m not ragging on folks either because when I’m really honest, much of my wife and I’s marriage hasn’t been a good representation. It’s a lot easier to be selfish. Looking out for yourself first, without looking out for your spouse and their needs is a big problema. Easy to do; tough to correct.
But after twelve years of marriage, it seems like my wife and I are finally starting to make substantial progress in the right direction. It hasn’t been easy, and I don’t expect it to be. But standing up for your marriage is a worthy cause. The world needs more good marriages. They have the potential to show us so much right and good.
Now, here’s what Paul says to husbands:
Husbands go all out in your love for your wives.
Isn’t that beautiful? When someone goes full throttle in pure love for someone. I’m really trying to get better at that, with God’s help.
Last thing, and then I’ll wrap this up…
I’ve heard this passage in Ephesians preached so many times with so many variations. At the end of the day, it seems like there are two camps of people: those who get it and those who don’t. The people who don’t get it, it comes out as legalistic, authoritarian, and ugly. The people who get it, it comes out as something lovely, admirable, and good.
What I’m speaking about is this:
Ephesians 5:21 sets the stage for all the talk on husbands and wives. Some translations have rendered it “be subject to one another” or “be submissive to one another” but I think that’s an unfortunate translation. Sadly, it’s been used to keep many women down and in abusive relationships, whether physically, verbally, emotionally, etc. The translation that says it best, in my estimation, is from The Message. It reads, “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.”
- Be Courteous– polite, respectful, considerate, well-mannered
- Reverent– showing deep and solemn respect, adoring, devoted
- To one another– to people and individuals in relationship
- Out of respect– a feeling of deep admiration and appreciation of one’s character and abilities
- For Christ– the Good Shepherd, the Redeemer, the Savior, Jesus
What a line?! “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.”
When you can do that, you win! You win as a husband, as a wife, as a parent, as a boss, as an employee, as a friend, as whatever role you’re in.
May God help us all do better in our relationships, being more courteously reverent to one another.
PS: I wasn’t sure where to fit this in the text of the post, but there are a few things that have helped my wife and I’s marriage over the years: 1) being honest with each other, no holding back; 2) marriage counseling; 3) friends who really care, really listen, and really challenge us to be better; 4) drawing boundaries; 5) personal counseling; 6) dedication to personal growth and our relationships with Jesus.