Ephesians 5:23. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body.”
I want to remind you again that all the rest of the verses in this chapter are set in the matrix of the filling of the Holy Spirit. The kind of love between husband and wife that is pictured here is supernatural. In ourselves, we find it very hard to live out this passage. With the Holy Spirit, however, we can experience the joy and satisfaction of a relationship that reflects the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church.
There is nothing here that makes a wife of less value than her husband. She simply has a different position. I like to help my marital counseling clients see that the position of the wife is of privilege and protection. There is nothing here that portrays subjugation and dominance–and certainly not ownership! A woman is not merchandise, and no godly man wants to treat his wife as if she “belongs” to him and has no rights of her own. That is worldly thinking, not godly thinking.
There is a mutuality of submission here. Yes, God has designated the husband as the head. God is a God of order. He is a practical God Who understands the human psyche far better than any of us do, however many degrees we may have behind our names. He knows that He created man with more of a tendency to lead, and woman with more of a tendency to support. And yes, I know there are exceptions. In those cases, it is even more important for the wife to deliberately choose to let her husband lead so that she doesn’t reverse what God has ordained, thereby confusing their children and creating tension in the home.
I’m finding it difficult to stay focused here. There is so much that could be said, and should be said. Satan has so confounded this particular teaching of the scripture, mainly because it pictures the relationship of Christ and the church. Satan’s twists and turns of this passage have created so much pain and distress in marriages, for both believers and non-believers. However, I need to finish this verse!
The husband is the head of his wife in the same way that Christ is the Head of the church. That is, he is to practice servant-leadership, sacrificial leadership. He is called upon to put the needs of his wife uppermost, just as Christ gave Himself up to death for the sake of His church. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the body, the church; He gave up heaven itself in order to accomplish His task of redeeming the church to Himself. So is the husband to forsake all others and cleave only to his wife, in a sense “saving” her body through his work and provision of her needs.
There is nothing but beauty here if we can rid ourselves of our fleshly tendency toward resenting anything that seems to infringe on what we consider to be our rights. One more thing to consider: Here in America, way too many of us focus on our rights. The more rights we achieve, the more we demand. Where do we expect those rights to come from? Why, government, of course. The trouble is, the more rights government gives us, the more power it has to take those rights away.