Thursday, May 26, 2011


Let me begin by saying the Apostle Paul was not advocating polygamy in Ephesians 5:25. He was absolutely clear on the subject in two of his epistles: 1 Timothy 3:2 says, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...." and Titus 1:6 says, "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife...." Since the leaders of the Church were to be above reproach, and they were to act as role models for believers, what he required of them was certainly the standard for the rest the Body of Christ.

That being said, I would like to share my thoughts on Ephesians 5:25-33. Paul felt the need to tell husbands to love their wives three times in this passage. In verse 25, he wrote, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." In verse 28, he indicated it was the right and logical thing to do, and since a man and wife are one flesh (verse 31), loving one's wife is really loving oneself. And finally, verse 33 says, "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself...."

The fact that Paul repeats his admonition three times reminds me of Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him three times (Jn. 21:15-17). Jesus appears to have been asking Peter to demonstrate his love for Him by feeding His sheep, whereas Paul is actually doing the feeding by instructing the Lord's sheep on how a man was to treat his wife. After all, the Word of God is both the "meat" and the "milk" for the children of God (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12).

In three weeks, my wife and I will have been married for forty-nine years, with us being born again Christians for the last forty years. Recently, someone called to say he and his wife were going through a rough patch, and he wanted my advice. I listened to him explain why it was all her fault, and I shared with him the passages above. Of course, he was familiar with them, and indicated the problem was not with his lack of love, but it was her unwillingness to submit. I pointed out to him that some of what he had told me concerning his response to the situation was certainly not very loving. As with most of us men, we find it easy to love a submissive wife, but we react very poorly when our wife fails to allow us to "rule our house well" (1 Tim. 3:4-5).

Shortly after hanging up the phone, I started thinking about how I have behaved toward my wife in similar circumstances. I recognized that I have been guilty of acting exactly like my friend, and I was overcome with grief. I do not recall ever considering how my words and actions were far from being like Jesus if He were faced with the same situation. And when I thought of how patient and forgiving He is toward His bride, the Church, I felt like a total failure as a husband. As is often the case, my counsel to others seems to be the remedy for "what ails me." My wife thanked me for telling her I was sorry. I hope and pray the scars my words and actions have caused her will heal, and I that I will truly love her as Christ loved the Church.

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