22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:22-33
The Two Will Become One Flesh
by Marlin Keel
Can you imagine the reaction from Adam when he first looked upon the helpmate God had created for him? The uniqueness of her beauty must have far exceeded any expectation Adam might have had. The experience is much the same today when young men first see the young lady they realize is the wife-to-be whom God has prepared especially for them.
And she was called, ‘woman.’ “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27). “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). With creation complete, God ordained the special marriage relationship between man and woman.
In our focal scripture for today, Paul is inspired by the Holy Spirit to unlock the mystery of the God-ordained marriage relationship between a man and a woman. The solution is simple: it’s all about love. First and foremost, we are exhorted to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30).
A husband and wife who first and foremost love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength have an exceptionally strong basis on which to build their marriage relationship. They walk together equally yoked in the Lord. The individual challenges issued to the wife and to the husband in verses 22 through 33 appear less daunting when such love defines their relationship.
Husbands are commanded to love their wives as “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Paul is writing to you and me. Make it personal. Insert your name in verse 25 and read it aloud. For example: Marlin, love Donna just as Christ loved the church and give yourself for her. I am so blessed to have Donna as my wife. How much more blessed would I be and would Donna be if I consistently exhibited such selfless, pure and sacrificial love to her? How much more blessed would our marriage be? Think about your marriage in the same manner. Think about the prayer and energy that need to be invested daily in the marriage by both husband and wife to achieve and maintain such a love relationship.
Loving our wives as Christ loved the church brings forth many other positive qualities that include respect, honor, sacrifice, serving, recognizing needs/meeting needs, peace and joy. In addition, such love elevates sex in marriage to the highest and most intimate expression of trust and sharing in this relationship.
- For a more complete picture of how Christ loved the church, do a word search of ‘love’ in the Bible. Read and study the ways that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.
- Read and re-read 1 Corinthians 13.
- Read and re-read Philippians 2:5–11, the “mind of Christ” scripture.
- Pray for your marriage and your spouse daily.
- For those who are not married: have you prayed for your future spouse?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.