Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wife, submit. Husband, love.

I was in conversation this morning with someone, a non-Christian, who said that he found the perfect way to behave at work, i.e. basically, not to be aggressive, but assertive.

He then said something that caught my raised eyebrows: while that is true in a workplace, it is not so in a marriage. He said he has yet to find a "solution" to a marriage. He said that in a marriage, it is a different ball game with emotional attachments and workplace strategems will not be applicable.

What I did was to tell him about Ephesians 5:22-27. I obviously could not recite from memory all of the six verses. I just said that as a Christian, we take Paul's words for wives to submit to the husbands and the husbands to love their wives as Christ has loved the church.

He was immediately on the offensive, stopping me at mid sentence. I had to stop him to allow me to complete my sentence, to conclude with what husbands need to do, after which he reverted to his offensive mode. He totally rejected what I had shared with him saying that what was written 2,000 years ago was in an environment no longer applicable to our modern age. I asked him why shouldn't a wife be submissive to her husband - he kept reiterating that there shouldn't be any submission at this age, full stop. With that, I decide to rest my case and let him be.

But my prayers will be with him. He has revealed that he has some issues with his wife. In fact, they just quarrelled the night before. I have for him my symphaty.

For one, "the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb 4:12). I pray that what I have briefly quoted to him in time will penetrate to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow and judge his thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Pray with me.

And do you agree that only in Christ can Ephesians 5:22-27 be real? For a wife need to submit to the husband whether or not he loves her and the husband must love the wife, in the same way Christ loved the church, whether or not she submits to him. For such a submission and love, it is only possible in Christ, especially if it is one-sided.



  1. I am a very strong willed person and one of the hardest things for me in my long marriage was learning to TOTALLY submit. I must tell you, it is the most rewarding thing possible. I wish it hadn't taken me 25 years to learn it :o) but thankful I did learn and the past 25 years bare the fruit.

  2. Emerson Eggerich says that that passage challenges each partner because love is not the native tongue of the male and respect is not the native tongue of the female.

    It is a challenge for a man to unconditionally love his wife and an equally difficult challenge for a wife to unconditionally respect her husband.

    But who ever said that marriage is easy.. that is why marriages need God to be successful :)

  3. Yes, Christ is definitely needed to break the "Crazy Cycle" that Dr. Eggerich's talks about in his book "Love and Respect." What he says is so simple & so true but not easy.

  4. You certainly need not be Christians to understand or practise this. Otherwise, all non-Christian marriages will be miserable!

    Your friend's assertion that 2000 year-old writings are no longer relevant is, i believe, merely an excuse for what he has already decided not to believe/accept. As CS Lewis pointed out: if a person who does not believe in ghosts actually sees a ghost, he will find all sorts of reasons to explain away his experience to ratioinalise it according to his pre-existing beliefs.

    but as the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 - "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time."

  5. Actually, it's "wife, respect; husband love." The verse you are referring to does not contain the wrongly translated "hupotasso."
    It is "wives to your husband, as to the Lord." Paul's encouragement to both women and men is culturally important.
    Pearlie, if you are interested in a different take on this, please email me.

  6. KB, Julia,
    Haven't heard of him - thanks for the heads up, will check him out.

  7. Karen,
    Thanks for the highlight. I did not check the Gk version - now that you brought it up, I will be checking out on it. Funny I did not remember it being mentioned the last time I took a class on Eph :/

  8. Chee Seng,
    It is true about the will of men - we pray for his heart to be open to the Word of God.

    You certainly need not be Christians to understand or practise this.
    I beg to differ. Non-C would need to come to a workable relationship and very rarely one that is submissive or one that is sacrificial, and even if they do, it will not be in the basis of Christ's love for the church.

  9. Here's an article by a couple who are ministers and biblical scholars:

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Having problems posting a link.
    There's an article by Drs. Eddie and Sue Hyatt on the
    www.godswordtowomen.org website. It's called "Who's the Boss?"
    You might be interested; there are many articles here by very godly scholars who are adept at the Greek.
    My point is, and has been proven by lexicographers on the languages of the Bible, that God's plan is the partnership that He started before the Fall. Jesus brought us all freedom.
    I'll hush now. ;-)

  12. Loads of thanks Karen! and please don't hush :D I will take time to get to these articles and sites.