‘Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.’ — Ephesians 5:33
The spiritual riches talked about in the book of Ephesians are without comparison. Ephesians covers so many great truths and then applies those truths to our lives. With the glorious truths of Ephesians as a backdrop, it is important to consider how much time is devoted to the marriage relationships.
In this book, God through Paul will address Jews and Gentiles (2:11-333), church leaders and church members (4:7-16), children and parents (6:1-4), as well as slaves and masters (4:5-9). But, without a doubt, the section dealing with the husband/wife relationship is given a very prominent place in the practical section of the book (5:22-33). The fact that so many verses are dedicated to this relationship should show how important it is in our Christian lives.
The husband/wife relationship is the first relationship addressed in a series of relationships following the need to be filled with the Spirit. The flow of thought in Ephesians 5 can be summarised like this:
- Be a follower of God as His dear children (5:1-4).
- Be not a partaker with the children of disobedience (5:5-7).
- Walk as children of the light (5:8-14).
- Walk circumspectly (carefully) (5:15-17).
- Be filled with the Spirit, which will manifest itself in our singing, our giving of thanks, and our submission to one another (5:18-21).
- Then: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands…Husbands love your wives’ (5:22-33).
There is much that could be said about the particulars of marriage from this passage – how the wife should respect her husband and how the husband should love his wife – but the main point to consider today is simply the priority of the marriage relationship. For those who are married, no human relationship is more important. It is the first place that we apply Spirit-filled living. And it is the one relationship that God chooses to typify Christ’s relationship with the church.
So, let us who are married see how spiritual marriage is. Marriage should be a beautiful friendship. It should be a loving romance. It should be a permanent union. But most of all it should glorify God. Let husbands realise that one of the most spiritual (Spirit-filled) things they can do is love their wives as Christ loved the church. And let wives realise that one of the most spiritual things they can do is submit to their husbands as unto the Lord.