Ephesians 5:22-28, Colossians 3:19, and 1 Peter 3:7. What do they have in common? At first glance, they are the essential verses on marriage. However, I would challenge the men in my readership to dig a little deeper to add a new concept to their definition of authentic manhood: submission.
Upon first reading this, I didn’t have a problem with it. As I mentioned before, when it comes to the typical “warrior face” of manhood, I lean more towards the “lover face” (see posts on Series 33 for more details). In other words, I am not a typical alpha male with a dominating personality. More often than not, I will give up what I want so I don’t have to fight it out. It’s a humbling confession, I know, but its the truth. And it is not submission. It is weak and selfish with the hidden intent of ending an argument instead of seeking oneness with my wife, and truly hearing her out.
An authentic man will submit to his wife, in the same way Christ submitted to the Church. Paul puts it this way:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the word.
Christ could not have given himself up for the Church without submission. And that submission is driven first by a desire for Yeshua to obey God and second by a love for His bride. In the same way, an authentic man will give up what he can in order to pursue his wife, even to the point of death. Amanda truly is the most important person in my life.
If I were to let you into my marriage, you would discover something. I treat Amanda different than other people (and not in a good way). My job requires a great deal of patience teaching people how to utilize software to do their jobs more efficiently. Sometimes, I have students who have little or no background in computers and are truly at my mercy to transfer those skills on. I have an innate ability to explain seemingly complex technical ideas in simple terms. So, I find myself patient and encouraging to those around me. However, when I come home, I am a different person. I expect my wife to forgive me when I am stressed out. Amanda becomes the person I vent to about my frustrations. At the same time, I can quickly lose my patience with her. After 13 years, I know she is not perfect and how could she expect the same out of me!
That is the root of my problem and what I take away from my encounter with the scriptures today. My wife should be treated better than anyone else in my life, because she is more important than them. Reader, Amanda is more important than you (at least in my life). Without Amanda in my life I would be crushed, and yet, I don’t seem to treat her that way. Instead of building her up, supporting & encouraging her, demonstrating patience, I often use Amanda as springboard to get things off my chest.
It is natural for spouses to vent to each other, because we love and find comfort in one another. But if that is all Amanda ever hears from me, then I am no better than a dominating husband. It is just another form of trampling, because I am not giving her a foundation to stand on. Instead, words of encouragement should be the main course of our exchange. A great take away from the scriptures today.