Recently I was sent a column request. I was asked to write about the Biblical aspects of divorce when it comes to an abusive relationship. This has led to the first two part Preacher’s Point. This week, I will be discussing what should be the relationship between a husband and wife, followed next week by the Biblical view of divorce.
If I had to describe the proper relationship between a husband and wife with one word the word would be “love.” The problem with describing marriage with the word is love is that most people have a distorted conception of what love is.
Most people describe love as a feeling. This can be proved by the fact when you ask someone what the opposite of love is, the answer is almost always, “hate.” Hate is an emotion, but love is not an emotion, love is a state of mind that results in an action. The true opposite of love is selfishness.
The Bible is clear on this. The most known verse in the entire Bible is John 3:16 and the verse begins with, “For God so loved the world that He gave …” In another passage while talking about husbands and wives God says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it:” (Ephesians 5:25). God equates love with sacrifice. Love is the giving of oneself to someone or something else. When we love, we give our time, resources and commitment. When we love we give ourselves. The more we love, the more we give of these things.
I’ve heard more than one woman say, “But he loves me” after she has described an abusive relationship. She has believed the lie. Often the woman will offer an excuse, such as, “He only does this when he is drunk.” He may not know what he has done when he did it but he does know afterward. Therefore, if he knows he acts that way when he is drunk, then if he loves her he won’t ever drink again. He will not put her in danger under any circumstance and if his drinking puts her in danger; if he loves her, he simply won’t do it. As Christ protects the church, the husband is to protect the wife.
Christ puts the guilt of the world on His shoulders at the cross. The husband should do the same. If she does something stupid, he should protect her from embarrassment; even to the extent of taking the blame himself. He should never ridicule or criticize her in public, and even when disagreements come up in the privacy of their own home, the husband should always treat his wife with love and respect, even when she doesn’t deserve it; because Christ shows His love for the church in the same way (Revelation 3:14-22).
Christ cares so much about how a man treats his wife; how well God listens to his prayers is dependent upon it, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Christ’s love is unchangeable (John 13:1), self-sacrificing (John 15:13), inseparable (Romans 8:35) and sacrificial (Galatians 2:20); a husbands love toward his wife should be the same.
When it comes to the wives, she is to submit herself to her husband as one would do unto God (Ephesians 5:22). If you think God is telling us by saying the wife is to submit to the husband that he rule over her with an iron fist and she is to be his slave please go back and reread what God said to the husbands. Giving honour, being compassionate, self-sacrificing and loving are not words one would use to describe a dictator; but these are the words God uses for the proper role of a husband.
The two have become one (Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 2:24). They make decisions together; their goals in life should be the same. They should be in agreement on how the home is run, how to handle the money, how to discipline and train the children.
When disagreements arise, and they will, God places the responsibility on the husband’s shoulders. If they do what the wife thinks and it blows up in their face, because he loves her, he will never say, “I told you this wouldn’t work.” He takes the responsibility and willingly accepts the blame. On the other hand, if she disagrees with him, and whatever it is goes all wrong, she is to help pick up the pieces, encourage him and never say, “I told you so.” She has submitted to his choice and they get through the situation together; loving each other.
Preacher Johnson is oastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indian. He and his wife, Julie, have four grown children and 12 grandchildren. All Scripture references are from the KJV. Blog: www.preacherjohnson.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.