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Bible Reading / One Week to a Healthier Marriage

Day 3 | What it Really Means to Submit

Read: Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:25

Few verses in the Bible are as misunderstood and misquoted as Ephesians 5:22. Many people are quick to point to this verse about wives submitting to their husbands without considering the context Ephesians 5:25 gives it. 

These verses come from a letter Paul wrote to the people in Ephesus. He was writing to a culture that, at the time, saw marriage as a joke. It was normal for men to have affairs and sleep with prostitutes. Even in Jewish culture, men could divorce their wives for any reason (but women didn’t have the same right). 

The instruction to “love your wives as Christ loved the church” was radical – and still is now. To love someone the way Jesus loves the church is to make huge sacrifices for their good. (Think about it – Jesus died for his church.) To ask a wife to submit to her husband isn’t repressive when she’s submitting to a husband who would die for her. 

These verses aren’t giving one spouse permission to rule over the other. Instead, they remind us that marriage requires us to mutually sacrifice for the good of our spouse and to serve each other. When one person does their part, the other is naturally inclined to do theirs.