Theme of the Week: Marriage
Bible Verse: “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.” Ephesians 5:25-28
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33
There’s more depth to the idea of “one flesh” than merely a sexual relationship. Paul’s words to Ephesian husbands sheds a bit of light on the topic.
I’d always thought of the verse at the end of Genesis 2 as simply talking about the biology of marriage. While that is certainly a part of what the writer is alluding to there, sex probably doesn’t exhaust the meaning of “becoming one flesh.”
In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about loving our wives as loving our own bodies and that whoever loves his wife, loves himself. This starts to reveal what it really means to be one flesh. It is not simply that two people have had a sexual relationship, but that they are bound together and committed to one another and that what one does affects both partners.
This is taking the golden commandment into the marriage relationship. Instead of doing unto others what you would have them do unto you, it is do unto your wife as you would do unto yourself. You take care of your body (or at least you should) so, you take care of your wife. You look out for your best interests, so you look out for the interests of your wife. You get the idea. You look for things that you enjoy, so you pursue things that she will enjoy.
All of this makes logical sense. There’s a reason the adage “Happy wife, happy life” exists. But Paul’s argument is grounded in something else. Husbands are to love wives the way Christ loves the church. Jesus gave himself up, literally, to make the church a better bride. Jesus was not concerned about rights or goals. He was consumed with the desire to make his bride perfect.
This is our call. We give up ourselves for the good of someone else. Jesus said that the greatest love is to lay down our life for someone else. This does not always have to be literal. We can lay down our lives every day for the betterment of another. Husbands for wives, fathers for children, friends for friends. This is the example Jesus set. This is the pattern we are to follow.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the sacrifice you made to make us holy. Thank you that you look for our best even when we do not. Help me to follow your example and to look for the good of others in my life, my wife, my children, my friends.
Reflection: Is there something in your life you are unwilling to sacrifice? What and why? Spend some time reflecting on the place of that thing in your life.
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