For men only

September 2, 2009

When I was a teen my dad and I used to yell Bible verses at each other:  “Honor your father and your mother!”  “Provoke not your children to wrath!”  I bet you could tell which one I was yelling, and yes that was the translation I used.  I didn’t get it at the time, but my dad was my dad and I needed to honor him, even when he “provoked me.”  It wasn’t my job to fix my dad  It was his job to fix me, or at least to try and shape me into the person he wanted me to be.

Fast forward 40 years.  (Yes it has been a fast 4o years, where does the time go?)

Today I am ruminating on Ephesians 5:22-28

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

I know a lot of guys who read this passage and stop right here, going no farther.  They (We?)  in fact quote this verse to our wives when we want their cooperation, or if we want something else.  We feel that it is our responsibility to remind our wives of a passage that they are most likely aware of.

But we forget to finish the passage:

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

And here’s the rub.  Until I give myself up so completely for my wife that I no longer feel I have the right to demand anything from her, I have no right to demand that she submit to me.  And once I give myself up completely for her, I will no longer want or need to demand anything from her.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. AndDSCN2132 being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)  When we live like that we stop demanding anything, because we no longer need to.  Our wives not only think this is noble, and wonderful and powerful, they think it’s attractive.

So, just as yelling at my dad was neither productive nor proper, trying to get our spouse to do something out of compulsion or coercion rather than love is ineffective.   When we stop trying to fix our spouse and work on fixing ourselves, our spouse gets better.  So self-fixing, or focusing on the things we can change (ourselves) instead of what we cannot change (our spouse) we really end up doing both.  Kind of selfish I guess.

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