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Building Your Marriage: Some Thoughts From St. Paul
These verses of Scripture from St. Paul are commonly used in Christian marriage ceremonies. They speak of the relationship between Christ and the Church in terms of the relationship between a husband and his wife. As beautiful as they are, they are also very misunderstood and misinterpreted. Look closely and see their wisdom for your marriage.
In Eph 5:21 to 33 Paul writes,
"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 his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, 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."
There are four important points here. First, Christ loves us so much that He wants to marry us, He calls us His Bride, and He uses marriage as a picture of His relationship to the Church, and to each of us as his followers.
Second, there is the "S" word. Submission. Submission does not imply INFERIORITY. God made Eve out of the side of Adam, to be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh - his equal - his companion. To say that submission somehow implies inferiority is to say that Jesus, when he submitted to the Father, was somehow inferior to the Father. Submission does not imply inferiority in any way. It is a voluntary reliance on another. In fact, the Apostle Paul says that we are all to submit to each other. Wives to submits to husbands, husbands to wives, both to Christ.
Third, husbands are to be the leaders of the family, the Pastors in the home. And men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and even died for it.
And finally, just as Jesus is preparing his bride, the Church, for the day when she will be presented in Heaven without spot or wrinkle, so husbands, as leader, are to prepare your wives to stand before God one day. Always remember that leadership in the home is primarily a spiritual responsibility.
May God richly bless your marriage.
Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.
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