Did the title catch your attention? Are you seething with anger at my blatant chauvinism and my obsolete way of thinking from an age and culture long passed? Hold that thought. There is a great deal of resentment towards how the Bible speaks of a woman’s submission to her husband. And in many cases, for good reason. Why? Because in many cases, these verses are taken out of context. Many times man has abused his position as head of his household. And people tend to notice just the parts where the woman submits to her husband’s authority. But that does not mean that the man is to become authoritarian in his affairs. Let’s take a look and see what the Bible actually says about the husband’s responsibility.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and with blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church, because we are members of this body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Pay close attention. Particularly to the word “cherishes.” Cherish. “To feel or show great love for; to remember or hold in a deeply felt way” (Webster). “To treat with affection and tenderness” (thefreedictionary.com). “To protect and care for lovingly” (oxforddictionaries.com). Look at any definition of the word “cherish,” and you will never find anything negative about it. The husband is to cherish his wife as he cherishes his self. So any husband who lives by this simply by this word alone will not be abusive or act selfishly to his wife. He is to be selfless. As Christ did for the church. For God Himself left His position of authority and took on human flesh, got on His knees and washed His followers’ feet. And He willingly laid down His own life for the church. The husband is called to do the same. Husbands, we are to humble ourselves. We are to deny ourselves and serve the needs of our wives. We are to care for our wives. Love them unconditionally. And if need be, lay down our lives for them. While we are the head of the house, we put our wives’ needs ahead of our own. God pursued the church, and made the church His priority. We as husbands should also pursue our wives and make them a priority in our lives.
What, I ask, is more endearing than that? Why would a woman not want to submit to a love like that? You see, the Bible does not say that a woman should submit to abusiveness and live to serve her husband as “lower-class” citizen. She is to be the second most important person in his life. Second only to God. And if a man pursues God, he will always treat his wife the way she should be treated. With utmost respect, sincerity, and unconditional love.