What Obligations Do Marriage Partners Have To Each Other?
-- The apostle Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus, laid down some very
good guidelines for husbands and wives. To the men he said, "Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians
5:25). To the women He said, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord" (Ephesians
5:22). That kind of relationship brings about a lack of tension in marriage.
husband should be willing to sacrifice himself for the wife's good. If he loves
her enough that he is willing to give himself for her, even as Jesus did for the
church, then the wife will be willing to submit to his leadership. She will know
that he is always looking out for her good and always willing to put her interests
ahead of his.
By the same token, a wife has the ability to make her husband
the head of the household by urging him to take his proper role as priest in the
home. She should encourage him to seek God, to find out what God is telling the
family to do. She can build her husband up and, by being willing to submit, give
him a sense of responsibility so that he will assume his proper role.
who always insists on "rights" will destroy the marriage relationship. If the
husband says to the wife, "You must obey me because the Bible says so," he is
going to alienate her. At the same time, the wife who refuses to submit to the
husband and fights him all the time will make him apprehensive about following
the Lord. He will start thinking, What if I get a message from God? All I am going
to get is opposition from my wife, so I might as well just follow my own desires
and let her follow hers. Such attitudes will pull couples apart, whereas God's
standards should draw them together.
The husband who departs from God's laws,
and insists that his wife do the same thing, has lost his mandate of authority.
God did not give the husband a mandate to break His law, to abuse his wife, to
become involved in bizarre sex practices, or to lead his wife into stealing or
lying or cheating or drunkenness. But as long as the husband is following the
mandate of the Lord, the wife should submit to his leadership, even though she
may disagree with it.
God's standard is true, yet in many marriages, the wife
is more able than her husband. Regretfully, a woman with great abilities sometimes
marries a man who does not have much ability. This wife must resist the temptation
to dominate her husband. Her husband will sometimes make decisions that the wife
feels are wrong. She must either gently persuade her husband that he is wrong,
or else pray that God will change her husband's mind. A woman has voluntarily
surrendered a portion of her autonomy to her husband when she marries. She must
trust God that His way will work out. However, a husband who wants his wife to
deny God, to engage in group sex, or to commit an act that is obviously against
God's law has lost his authority. The wife's first allegiance is to Jesus Christ
and she must follow Him. She cannot submit to what is unlawful or unnatural.
is important to remember that husbands and wives are partners. Someone has rightly
pointed out that woman was taken from the side of man, not from his head or foot.
She is not to dominate her husband, nor is she to be supine and let him walk over
her as if she were a doormat. A husband and wife are to be partners in life and
are to share a living relationship that acknowledges that the man is the head
of the family as long as he is submitted to Christ.
Excerpts taken from Answers
To 200 Of Life's Most Probing Questions, by Pat Robertson. Published in
paperback by Bantam Books, Inc. and available at your local Christian bookstore.
Scripture references are taken form the New American Standard translation of
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