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"'Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior....  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her....'" (Ephesians 5:22-23, 25).
 "'Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you'" (Genesis 3:16b).
I remember a few weeks before my wife and I were married thinking to myself, "I have no idea what being a godly husband looks like."  I was scared of what awaited me.  I knew that I was stepping into big shoes, yet I had no idea how to fill them, much less walk in them.

Over the course of time and by the Lord's grace, I have learned a thing or two about what it means to be a good husband.  After a little over three years of marriage, I am still learning; by God's grace, I will continue to learn and grow into a godly husband who is able to love my wife even "as Christ loved the church."

God's Good Call to Husbands and Wives
To better understand Ephesians 5:22 and 25, we must first discover a few things about the context into which these verses were written.  In the grand historical narrative, these verses come as a command to do good (empowered by the Holy Spirit) in spite of present evil.

Paul's command for wives to submit to their husbands is a warning against the natural desires of the woman to rule over her husband, especially by means of manipulation.  Recorded in the book of Genesis, God's wrath against Adam and Eve's sin was revealed through His proclamation that "[the woman's] desire will be to rule over [her] husband, but he will rule over [her]."  The woman lacked the God-created mandate to rule over her husband, though she would most certainly try as a result of her sin; assuredly, both her and her family would suffer for it.

Hence, submission is the explicit command given to the wife in Paul's letter.  By submitting to the husband, the wife is actually bringing herself under the Lord's gracious authority.  It is a blessing to her and her family to submit to her husband, "as the church submits to Christ".  The church is blessed by her obedience; likewise, the wife is blessed by her obedience.

If we need a commentary on these verses, we need only look around us.  Our world suffers daily because of the woman's sin, as she tries to usurp power over her husband in multitudinous ways.

The man, on the other hand, receives a different, but equally unnatural command in Ephesians to "love his wife" and "give himself up for her."  Once again, this command comes on the heels of Adam and Eve's sin, where God's wrath was revealed against the man and the woman for their sin: "he will rule over [his wife]."  What the natural man must guard against, then, is domination and passivity.  The man's place is to rule, but not with violence or abuse.  And if it is the man's place to rule (which it is), he must never abdicate his responsibility to passivity or indifference.  The man will, indeed, be blessed greatly if he rules justly and lovingly, "as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her."  On the other hand, if he squanders his position or misuses it, all will suffer as a result.

Hence, ruling rightly is the explicit command given to the husband in Paul's letter.  By ruling in righteousness, the husband is actually attaching himself to the grace of Christ's example.  It is a blessing to him and his family to rule his household well, even "as Christ loved the church."

If we need a commentary on these verses, we need only look around us.  Our society suffers daily because of the man's sin, as he exasperates his children, abuses his wife, or sits apathetically in passivity.

A Call to Righteousness
It is no secret that our gender-obsessed culture is making God's way harder and harder to follow.  But it is also no secret that our gender-confused culture is falling farther and farther into chaos, disorder, and the wrath of God - just take a look at the world around you.  It only makes sense: disobey God and you will "be given over" to the lusts of your flesh, evidence of God's justice against your sin.

What, then, are we to do?

We are to endure even though the truth of God be slandered, walking in the Way of our Savior.

Wives: submit to your husbands.  Do battle against the natural flesh and put to death all that is impure within you: impure thoughts, desires, behaviors, and attitudes against your husband.  Submit yourself to your husband and commit to pray for him.  In so doing, you are submitting yourself to Christ and His perfect way - and in His Way is eternal blessing.

Husbands: lead your wives and your families in righteousness.  Do what is best for your marriage and family, not just what is best for your own self.  Lead the way Christ led, through actions of service, an attitude of love, and thoughts of humility (Philippians 2:5-11).  Do not back away from your call to leadership, but instead own your responsibility; your family will be blessed because of your obedience to the Lord.  His ways are best always; what is modern man that you should regard his "wisdom"?

Neither following nor leading is an easier or less demanding role than the other, let the reader understand.  On the contrary, both are ordained as equal-but-different means of grace to make us more into the image of our eternal Christ.

Putting The Word Into Practice
Practically speaking, I recently heard author, speaker, and psychologist Dr. Kevin Lehman put it this way: "a wise woman asks her husband for his help (leadership)."  It is not that the woman is incapable of solving her own problems, but it is wise for her to submit herself to her husband.  Indeed, submission does not mean one is of any less value than the other; it means willingly placing oneself beneath another of equal value.  Through Biblical submission (as our Lord Jesus exemplified), happiness in marriage can be achieved.

Assuredly, obeying the truth of God's Word will both bless the husband - for he wants and needs to be needed by his wife because he wants to provide and protect his family (it's in his DNA) - and the wife - for she wants and needs to be loved and cherished by her husband (it's in her DNA) and this she will receive if her man feels wanted and needed by her.  If the wife criticizes her husband and rarely (if ever) asks for his help, he will not love or cherish her and both will be miserable.  But if the man loves and cherishes his wife and the wife willingly submits herself to him, to let him lead and provide and protect, then both will be happy (blessed).

Take courage, then, dear Christian.  Take no part in the world's falsehood, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; you have the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11).