Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for herto make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Marriage is a visual aid of the relationship between Christ and the Church. The way a husband loves a wife and gives up everything to feed her and care for her is supposed to be a visual aid of the way Jesus loved the people who would become the Church and gave up his life so that they could come to know him intimately.
This is why marriage is important. If we are not married, but we know someone who is, we should be supporting that person in his or her marriage, because that will be a good visual aid for the gospel. If people see husbands loving wives and wives respecting husbands then they will see a picture of the love between Christ and the Church.
As Paul writes these words he is weaving in and out between theological statements about Christ and the Church and pastoral instructions for husbands and wives. He quotes Genesis 2:24 which says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Paul says that this applies to Christ and the Church. In other words, Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us. This means that we are now accepted, adopted and united with Christ. This is the good news that we want to share with the whole world. We are saying to the world that reconciliation is possible. That is our message. So our marriages need to give the same message: Reconciliation is possible. Our marriages can show the world that unity is possible, peace with God is possible, forgiveness is possible, God is real, forgiveness is real and here is a sign of it –loving and faithful marriages.
Let’s spend some time today praying for people we know who are married. Let’s ask God to protect marriages and help people to display in their marriage a picture of the love that Jesus has for the church.