If you are arriving at this post without reading part one, then go back to yesterday. More from Nina Roesner.
1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
When you are harsh with your wife, you are not being loving. Remember when you first started dating? Maybe even in the early months or first year of your marriage, how gentle, kind, understanding, and honoring (respectful) you were towards her? Do you see that you are damaging your relationship with God when you stop being like this with your wife? Do you see that God does not even want to talk to you if you are dishonoring or not understanding towards her? She is as precious to God as you are – and she is your equal in His eyes.
Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV)
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
In our current culture, “head” means, “in charge of.” In the Bible, however, “head,” means literally “the head,” of a person (most common) or an animal, and is used in reference to decapitation. When this passage was written, it was “the heart” that ruled a person – so to say that “the head” in the above passages means that you are in charge of your wife is inaccurate. What this verse refers to instead is that you are the one that “brings life” to your wife – like Christ came to give His church life – abundantly so. Are you doing that? Do your words and actions bring her life? Or do they bring her discouragement and emotional death? And before you misunderstand something, know that you are responsible to God for your family – she is your equal, but the Genesis 3 account is clear. God holds Adam accountable. And God created Eve out of Adam’s rib, instead of out of the dirt, as he created Adam and the animals. But these verses say something completely different than what you may have thought in the past – they are not about ruling over her.
Ephesiasn 5:25-33 (ESV)
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Your love is to be sacrificial toward your wife. That might mean doing things you aren’t really comfortable with. Do them any way. You’ll get used to them. Your actions and words are to bring life and take care of your wife. You are not to be subject to your parents, either – they no longer matter as much as your wife does. Yes, your wife is to submit to you when the two of you cannot agree on a decision. And yes, she is to respect you.
You are to love her unconditionally, as Christ loved/loves His church, sacrificing Himself for us, loving us regardless of our behavior towards Him. You are not off the hook even if she is not being respectful or submissive.
James 4:17 (NIV) Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
Are you intentionally withholding love from your wife? Do you know what her love language is? Know this is disobedience, and disobedience is sin.
Now check what Jesus Himself says to the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2:
2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Jesus is telling you (and your wife) that He understands how hard you have worked. He knows you have been at it for a long time. He knows you haven’t given up yet. He knows that you have suffered for His name. He knows this. But in His heart, He wants you to know that He has something against you: You have forsaken your first love. He wants you to do the things you did at first in your relationship with Him. He wants you to remember, daily, the depravity of your soul, the depth of your sin, and respond with repentance, worship and love for Him at the great gift He gives to you. He wants to be first in your life, not in the immature infatuation sense, but rather in the deep, steadfast, mature, focused love of Him as the most important One in your life sense. If you do not, He will issue a consequence. Repentance is not repentance without changed behavior.
Do not miss that this is the Ephesian Church. Most Bible teachers use these verses in application to marriage, also. And there is research that demonstrates that to reignite your marriage relationship, one of the most helpful things you can do is do what you did in the beginning.
Your wife’s heart is similar to God’s.
She needs daily reassurance of your love. Your God wants daily pursuance of Him.