Theme of the Week: Marriage
Bible Verse: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19
Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:18-25
Have you ever wondered about cultural norms in Bible times? What was normal and accepted behavior that constituted some of the things that needed to be said? Today’s passage comes across that way to me. What was happening that Paul felt he needed to tell the Jesus followers in Colossae not to be harsh with their wives?
Granted, I am sometimes harsh with my wife, but I know that’s not how I am supposed to be. I don’t think I need instruction in that direction. I certainly need someone to call me out on the issue if and when they see it happening, but I don’t think I need to be taught that being harsh is not the right way to relate to my wife.
Paul was writing in a patriarchal context where women were not necessarily valued and where most marriages were arranged. This view and cultural context often led to domination and domineering. Paul’s words would have been a paradigm shift for the husbands who read the letter.
What Paul is encouraging is an evaluation of the way husbands saw, spoke to, and treated their wives. It was a call to self-control. Paul was challenging husbands not simply to react, but to stop and consider their words and actions toward their wives.
In that light, even those of us who have grown up in a culture that has taught us that being harsh is unacceptable, have something to consider. Paul’s call to the Colossian husbands not to be harsh with their wives echoes down the corridor of history to call us to attention to the way we treat our wives today. It is a call to reflection, to deliberateness, and to concern.
Husbands, reflect on the way you interact with your wife. Do you act with purpose and goals? Are your words and deeds motivated by selfish concerns or by a self-giving love that reflects Christ. Paul’s simple exhortation to the Colossian husbands asks us not simply to avoid being harsh, but to deliberately and consciously reflect on how we treat our spouses.
Prayer: Jesus, sometimes I need the simple instructions. Sometimes I am so caught in my habits that I am convinced they are not simply acceptable, but good. Help me to see where and how I can love my wife better and where I may need to confess and restore my relationship with her.
Reflection: When was the last time you evaluated your interactions with your wife? Take some time today to replay the last argument you had and ask yourself some hard questions about your words and tone. Were you harsh? How can you restore your relationship?
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