“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
The marriages that go the distance understand the secret of lasting love. It’s always fun to interview the couples in these marriages. One of the common denominators I’ve discovered about them confirms the clue that Paul gives us in Ephesians 5:21 when he says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It’s the third clue for solving the marriage mystery. If you want to understand how one plus one can equal one, you have to begin with the word submission. Before Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church, he says to both the husband and the wife, “submit to one another….” How well are you doing that? An Old Testament character named Amos asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV) Agreement is the result of mutual submission. It’s a voluntary yielding of my will to the greater purpose of finding consensus that promotes unity. It’s being on the same side of a struggle. You know what being on opposite sides of a struggle is called? A fight! Jesus said that a house divided against itself would never stand. Marriage is never about my way – but “our” way. This clue is best found in the hallway of life. Do you walk hand-in-hand with your mate in the hall of life? Think literally for a moment. Do you hold her hand? Do you consider her opinions? Do you adjust your own desires or schedule to accommodate her? Do you work through issues, or do you walk away from them determined to have your own way? To walk hand-in-hand implies that you two are both of equal value to God. While the wife may be told to submit herself to her husband, it in no way implies that he is superior. It just means that he is accountable to God for the spiritual leadership in his home. How you respond in the hallway of life determines your emotional oneness. One of the ways the husband submits is found in verses 28 and 29. “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” If it’s been a while since you have taken your spouse by the hand, why not take a walk together? It’s a great opportunity to talk about the issues that have challenged you as a couple until you come to a mutual consensus.