By Val Black
A verse of scripture that is sometimes taken out of context and used to implement a married life of domination of a husband over his wife is Ephesians 5:22-23 which states, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
My wife and I once had as friends a married couple in which the husband, a former pastor, used the above scripture to justify verbal and light physical abuse of the wife. It became so extreme that the wife’s health began to deteriorate until finally, the marriage ended in divorce.
Before the divorce and at their request, I counseled the two but was not aware of the husband’s abuse until just before the divorce. The husband was adamant in adhering to the belief the Bible taught the woman was to submit to the husband, unconditionally.
I pointed out the next verse to the husband which says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”. (Ephesians 5:25)
Also 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
It was then that he ended our correspondence and I have never heard from him again.
The wife continued to correspond and accepted advice to seek a good church and become active in it. She did and found a good pastor and Christian friends who were able to counsel and help her.
Husbands, love your wife just as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25), not a particular denomination but THE Church of Jesus Christ. Treat your wife as you would treat yourself, but even better, and you will soon find your prayers being answered, you will experience a love from your wife that is a true, unconditional love, just as Jesus Christ loves His Church.
Husbands remember this, you and your wife are ONE “flesh” in God’s Eyes (Mark 10:8), meaning you are in a covenant relationship with your wife (Malachi 2:14), just as you are in covenant relationship with Him (Jeremiah 31:31-34).