Ephesians 5:20-23 is an awesome passage of Scripture. This passage addresses the marriage relationship, and I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from this passage. (Note: some of the ideas I’m going to bring up were introduced to me by the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs)
Submit yourselves one to another
The foundation of any healthy, Godly marriage relationship is mutual submission. If there’s anything I’ve learned the few years I’ve been married, it’s that selflessness is of utmost importance. If both the man and the woman can submit to each other and be selfless, they will have the marriage that most people only dream about. Only by laying aside your selfish desires, can you obtain what will bring you true fulfillment.
Husbands, love your wives
Husbands should love their wives in ways that make their wife feel loved. What I mean is, if you do something for your wife that you think is loving, she might not perceive it as an act of love. She might just think you’re taking out the trash because the trashcan was overflowing, not because you have an undying passion to serve your wife in the area of trash duty. Ask your wife what makes her feel loved. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll probably be really surprised by her answers (and taking out the trash might be one of them).
In Ephesians 5, the Bible uses the words nourish and cherish to describe how a man should love his wife. Nourish: help her to grow, provide for her, give her a safe place (in your relationship and in your home) to flourish. Cherish: treasure her, adore her, praise her.
Wives, reverence your husbands
I’d never really thought about the last phrase of Ephesians 5, but it gives wives vital instruction for their role in the marriage relationship. Wives should reverence (respect) their husbands. Tell him you respect him. Show him you respect him. You know how your husband doesn’t get hints about what you want for Christmas? He doesn’t get hints about how you feel about him, either. Some ways you might communicate respect are to thank him for doing something around the house, or speak highly of him to other people (including your parents), or defer to his judgment on a decision.
The funny thing is, if a husband acts unloving (intentionally or unintentionally) to his wife, she will most likely act disrespectfully toward him, which will make him act more unloving toward her, which makes her act more disrespectfully toward him, and on and on. However, if a husband loves his wife, she will respect him, which will make him love her more, which will make her respect him more, and on and on. So, think about some ways that you can communicate your love for your spouse today, and act on it. It will probably feel awkward and stilted at first, but it will come more naturally the longer you and your spouse build your love and respect for each other.