Different by Divine Design

Many couples cite irreconcilable differences as their reason for ending a marriage, but the truth is, every couple has them. Men and women are different by divine design, and these differences are what brings balance into the relationship. Two people don’t have to agree on everything all of the time in order for their marriage to be what it ought to be. But when the two agree on and commit to living by godly behavior and practices, then the honeymoon fire will continue to blaze.

The most basic command from Scripture regarding husband-and-wife relationships is found in Ephesians 5:22–25. Though we looked at it in the previous chapter, let’s read it again:

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.

I know just what some of you husbands are saying: “Lord, I know You want me to love my wife as You love the church, but You’ve never met my wife!” And some of you wives are protesting, “I know I ought to submit to my husband, Lord, but he just isn’t the man he’s supposed to be.” What do you do when you feel that way? Do you continue to complain and insist on justifying your behavior, or do you do as Colossians 3:12–13 says to do: “Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you”?
The development of personal godliness is the single greatest contribution you can make to your marriage, even if your mate is not a believer.

Let me point out an important application to this passage from Ephesians before moving on. The part that tells wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord has been misused and abused by more than one man, to be sure. Some have twisted this verse to tell wives they must submit to whatever their husbands say because the submission itself is what is fitting to the Lord. However, in reality the verse is urging wives to submit to their husbands in what is fitting to the Lord. In other words, wives are to submit to their husbands in those things that are acceptable to the Lord. That means, ladies, that you do not have to submit to a man’s wish to bring pornography into the home, saying it will enhance your marriage.

That is perversion and not fitting to the Lord. Similarly, you do not have to submit yourself to a man’s habitual drunkenness or physical or verbal abuse. The basic Christian principle of “we must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29) applies. On the other hand, ladies, if you are refusing to submit, make sure that what your husband is asking of you is not fitting to the Lord and not just something you don’t want to do.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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