“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)
In this verse, Paul gives a special decree to the married women of the Ephesus church. Many resist this passage and threat it as archaic because women are created equal with men. Why should they (the wives) be submissive? This statement also adds to the misconception men often express about the inferiority of women in general. Both of these reactions fail to understand the basis of the concept as presented in Paul’s comments.
Paul is not misstating his intent. To make sure he is understood he enforces his statement in verse 24. In both these verses, his remarks are connected to their association with the one to be subject to. In verse 22 it is the Lord in general, and in 24 it is the church and Christ relationship.
What this passage doesn’t teach is male superiority over females. There are no Bible references that suggest men are more intelligent than women. No scientific evidence either. This is not about men and women but about wives and husbands in their marital relationship. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands in the same way the church is to Christ.
Christ is the head of the church because he has saved it by the gift of his life. Husbands are head of the marital relationship due to the arrangement made by God in the beginning. Such love as manifested by Jesus for the church is expected of the husbands for their wives. Just as Christ and his church are one so are the husband and his wife one. They are now one flesh, and one is subject to the other only under cover of sacrificial love. The husband must have this kind of love for his wife. In this light, we see that the wife is subject to her husband who loves her and gives his life for her and is a part of her since they are now one flesh.
The church submits to Christ knowing he will only love and protect her as his holy bride. It is a win, win situation for the church. So it should be for the wife. A husband who has become one with his wife and loves her more than himself will never take advantage of his wife’s submission to his lead.
Task for Today: Husbands make yourselves Christ-like so that your wife will find subjection to your lead an easy and profitable thing. Wives, trust your life to your husband as he emulates Christ.