Many couples today do not have a magnificent marriage. Many do not even have a mediocre marriage. In fact, many have a miserable marriage. And the devil knows that if he can hurt us at home, he can hurt us everywhere — in the church, in the school, in society, and in the nation. So Satan levels his biggest artillery at our homes.
But in Ephesians five, God has given the husband and wife some roles in order to have healthy, Christ-honoring marriages.
We’ll start with the gentlemen. You are to be to your wife what Jesus is to the church. You are to give her three major things.
You’re to give leadership. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (verse 23). Now be careful. Jesus Christ is the Lord and Master of the church, but He is not the Dictator.
Jesus never makes me do anything. And you are going to be have difficulty if you take this to mean you are the boss or dictator. You’re to be the head. It's not so much a chain of command as it is a chain of responsibility. To be the head means that you accept the responsibility.
In addition to giving leadership, in verse twenty-five the husband is told to love his wife as Christ loved the church. What kind of love is that?
A husband is also to give his wife loyalty. He is to “… be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (verse 31). The word joined literally means “welded” or “fused” to his wife. You owe to your wife a sacred loyalty.
Now, let's look at the relationship of a wife to her husband. She is to be as the church is to Christ.
Ephesians 5:22 tells her to submit. Now, this is opposite from the world’s advice of, “Demand your rights.” As a Christian, you don't have any rights. What rights does a dead man have? You're crucified with Christ. You are not our own. And when you refuse God's plan to submit, you are only hurting yourself.
You also owe your husband your support. Jesus has given His work to us. He has no hands but our hands. He has no feet but our feet. You need to exalt His name. You need to advance His cause. Just as the church supports the work of Jesus, you are to support the work of your husband.
Also, you are to have a sharing relationship. “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (verse 30). What a wonderful relationship Christ and the church share, the most intimate of all relationships. There is nothing that Jesus doesn't share with the church. How the Lord manifests Himself to us. And therefore, husbands and wives are to share together.
Now some couples leave divorce as an option if problems arise. But couples that get divorced and those that don’t have basically the same kinds of problems. The difference is not in the problems but in their commitment.
Others rationalize, “I owe it to myself to be happy.” There's a Greek word for that: bologna! When you were at the marriage altar, you made a vow. You owe it to God, your spouse, your children, and yourself to keep that vow.
Or maybe it’s too late for you — your marriage is already broken. I'm not trying to heap more sorrow and pain on your head. You can't unscramble eggs. Take the broken pieces and give them to God. He can and will forgive and restore.
I'm simply trying to tell couples that are married to find a way to work your marriage out in the grace of God. You owe it to yourselves and to God to have a magnificent, Christ-honoring marriage.