Husbands and Wives


Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Observations: Paul is still talking about how we have been raised with Christ, and what this new resurrection life looks like. It not only impacts our personal morality, but also our relationships, particularly our relationship with our spouses and children. Even though Paul was unmarried he knew the culture in which he lived. Women were mostly considered inferior, but the danger was that now they were one in Christ that they would go beyond the roles that God had set for them, and so Paul reminds them to ‘submit to their husbands.’ Such submission is fitting, or proper, for someone in relationship with the Lord. Paul also knew that it was normal for men to consider themselves superior to women and to treat them in a harsh manner, and so he commands husbands to ‘love their wives.’ Paul uses the word agape. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially. They are to put their wives before themselves, just as Jesus put us before himself. Ultimately, Paul wants husbands and wives to relate in a way that reflects God’s values, rather than worldly values.

Application: How much do we allow the values of our world influence us, particularly in the area of marriage? One Bible scholar made the following insightful comment, ‘Maybe God’s purpose in marriage is not to make too people happy, but to make them holy.’ Often we think marriage is about how our spouse can fulfil my needs, rather than how together we can glorify God. The pursuit of submission and love may be counter-cultural, but God invented marriage, so maybe he knows what he’s doing.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I allow the world to influence my expectations for marriage, and it becomes about me and my needs. Lord, help me understand Your purposes in marriage. Help me to grow in submission, just as Jesus submitted Himself to You and Your will. Lord, help me also grow in love, just as Jesus loved me and gave Himself up on the cross. May You use my marriage and all of my relationships not just to make me happy, but to make me holy, to fulfil Your purposes in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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