When marriage is going well, there is a real temptation to make my husband and/or marriage itself into an idol.
Not a day goes by that I am not overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for bringing my husband and I together.
Every good gift comes from God, but Satan is always there waiting to turn our affections away from the Creator toward the creation.
From “Thank you, God, for this wonderful husband” to “Thank you for being a wonderful husband”.
But Ephesians 5:21-33 reveals with beautiful clarity the thread that has been woven throughout the Scriptures – the truth that human marriage is not an end unto itself. It was given to us as a foreshadowing – an imaging – of the marriage between Christ and His bride, the Church.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
This is why wives should submit joyfully to their husbands, and why husbands should lovingly lead their wives. We will never do these things perfectly, but when we strive to obey the instructions in Ephesians 5 in the power of God’s grace, our marriages will paint an image of the gospel. This is the ultimate purpose of Christian marriage.
And I find remembering this is the antidote to husband/marriage idolatry.
Here are some ways my husband points me to Christ and reminds me of the bigger picture:
- He shows me sacrificial love in going to work, despite how he feels about it on any given day. I am reminded of Jesus laying down his life on the cross to save the Church, despite how he felt about it.
- His kindness in pointing out my sin where he sees it, rather than remaining silent out of fear or apathy. I am reminded of the way Christ makes the Church holy, by “the washing with water through the word”.
- His response to almost every concern or worry I have is “have you prayed about it?” or “take it to God”. I am reminded that my strength comes from God alone, and that seeking Him should always be my first port-of-call.
- When he does mess up and sin against me, his imperfection makes Christ’s perfection shine even brighter. I am reminded that earthly marriage is a sign of the greater marriage to come.