One of the biggest causes of conflict within a marriage or any relationship comes when a decision has to be made. What do you do when there’s no right or wrong and both sides have valid arguments, but you still have to make a decision? We look to Ephesians 5:22-25 which takes us back to the beginning of the creation account in Genesis to explain this further. We read that God had created everything in the world and he said ‘it was good’ (Genesis 1). In Genesis 2 Adam notices something, the animals both had male and female partners but he was missing a partner. Then God said that there was one thing that wasn’t good (Genesis 2:18): The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The word helper means that he’s going to bring another equal who has complementary gifts, God’s saying, ‘I’m going to make you someone who will complete the longing you have for companionship, but also help to complete your character too.’ Adam’s excited he has an equal that is completing, but has different physical and character parts too, it means that when the two parts are together, they’re complete.
Studies show that these differences that the bible speaks about are true when looking at babies. Boys and girls have different traits. Mark Gungor’s book ‘Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage’ explains: The male brain is made of completely distinct boxes, the boxes don’t touch each other and each box is for a different thing. When talking about work, he brings out his ‘work’ box to discuss, when you change the subject he puts away the ‘work’ box and brings out the next for discussion. Women’s brains work differently, they’re like networks, zipping around everywhere, jumping from one topic to another without putting any boxes away! God designed us like this! This can be why women are better at understanding and engaging with emotions, while Men are better at problem solving in crisis situations. As males mature they need to separate and detach from people whereas women come together, they congregate, they attach. God has created us so differently, but this is why we need each other! Sin however, has corrupted these God designed differences and what was meant to be complementary can be stretched either way to be a significant issue. We need to balance a woman’s need to be connected and a mans need to be autonomous without becoming too suffocating or independent. Knowing this helps us when we’re looking at the time we’re spending together and the quality of that time and how we talk to each other.
Ephesians 5:22-25 sets out two commands. For women, submit to your husbands. For men, love your wives – but it’s in the how that we really understand the biblical Christian view for marriage. Husbands love your wives – He’s saying ‘you know how Jesus died because he loved people so much, well husbands, sacrifice like that for your wives.’ So when a decision has to be made as a Christian man, the biblical way to approach it is to be willing to sacrifice everything, for the sake of our wives. That means you see her need for connectedness and you engage with that so that she can thrive! With that in mind, what does submission mean for wives? It essentially means that knowing how much your husband is willing to do for you in being willing to give up everything, that you become willing to allow him to make the final call in the decision making when it is needed. You’re going to need to allow one person to make the tough call, but wouldn’t you want that person to be the same one who is willing to give up everything for your good? It’s a command for the woman to submit in the same way as Christians do to Jesus. It’s the relationship revealed in Jesus in how he submitted to his Father, showing the confidence he had in knowing that God the Father’s will (even in sending Jesus to the cross) was one of greater perspective than Jesus himself had.
So husbands, love your wives in such a way that she knows you’ll do anything for her good. And wives however you show this work out how to submit to your husbands, knowing that they will give anything to put your needs first, even if in the moment you don’t fully understand it.
Find the full sermon here: Love Sex Marriage: We’re So Different