Everything needed to have a happy marriage can be found in four verses in Ephesians 5 if you understand what it is truly saying.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:22-25
Note that it doesn’t tell the wife to love the husband, only for him to love her and for her to honor that love with faithfulness to him and submit to his leadership. Not out of law but out of love. (The same roles as Christ and the church.)
The Man’s Role:
So why was the wife not commanded to love her husband? Because it’s his roll as the archetype of Christ in the marriage to love her first, and her role as the archetype of the church in the marriage to react to that selfless love (not law, rules, or commands) by falling in love with the one that loved her first and then she will desire to honor him with faithfulness and submission. Even as the true church is to Christ so is a wife to her husband.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
This is why the natural order of relationships historically has been for the man to be the initiator. It’s the guys role to ask the girl out, to demonstrate his love with sacrificial gifts and actions, and to propose to her. It’s simple, men can love but women can only fall in love, in the same way that Christ can love but the christian must fall in love with Christ. Once the Christian truly falls in love with Christ, then faithfulness, servitude, obedience, passion, and the like comes naturally as a by product and by default fulfills the law that could not be fulfilled by commandment alone. This is why Christ said in Matthew 22 that The Greatest Commandment is to love God, because all the laws and prophets hang on that one commandment. In other words, if you truly love Him you will keep the rest of the Commandments to honor Him by default out of love. It becomes effortless and even enjoyable as you ever seek for new ways to show your love to Him in reaction to the fact that He first loved you. The wife’s role in the marriage is the same and she is designed by God to react in this manner.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
The Woman’s Role:
At first glance of the Ephesians 5 passage it seems like the woman gets the raw end of the deal being that she is told to be submissive while the husband is only told to love. However when you truly examine what is being said you realize that in reality the husband actually has the more difficult part to play because his role is actional and hers is only reactional to his action. In reality every woman wants to be loved and every man wants to be respected. If the husband is doing his part to sacrificially show that love with his actions then it is the woman’s role as an archetype of the church to love him back and if you truly love then you will honor him with faithfulness, reverence, and sacrificial service to him, the family, and the home. However, if the husband is doing his part to love the wife and she chooses not to return that love to him but rather love herself more then her husband as Gomer did in the book of Hoesa, then she will stray and become an adulterous bride. Again the parallel to the church in this scenario holds true. Selfishness causes many in the church to betray the faithful and sacrificial love of Christ and become spiritual adulterers having no reverence, servitude, submission, or faithfulness to Christ, their spiritual husband.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:2-3
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” – Revelation 2:4-5
Spiritual adultery (which is idolatry, even self idolatry) is just as serious to God as physical adultery, and physical adultery is just as serious to God as spiritual adultery because they represent one in the same. This Christ and the Church archetype is again illustrated in the role of the husband going away to work for a time to provide and prepare for the home while the wife tends to the teaching and raising up of the children as they eagerly anticipate his return together. This is not unlike Christ going to prepare a place for us (His bride), as the church (His bride) focuses on teaching and raising up spiritual children, as we eagerly await His return. The wife is ordained of God to teach and instruct the children, govern the home, and serve the house hold those things that are provided by the husband. All while returning his love (shown to her through acts of sacrificial selflessness) with praise, reverence, respect, and faithfulness. This is a reflection of those ordained of God to leadership in the church who do all these same things for Christ.
When we step back and look at our marriages for the sacred archetype that they were always meant to be, we realize what an intricately beautiful duty we have been given to honor this final sacrament to the fullest of God’s command and plan. Like the Priest of old acting out the story of Christs’ purpose and first coming with lambs and doves, we (The priest of the New Testament) act out Christs’ purpose and second coming with our very lives through marriage. So now you know the real reason why the devil is working so hard in this last hour to destroy, desecrate, and blaspheme the Holy institution of marriage and the family, and why we should work even harder, as the New Testament priest, to uphold it.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” – 1 Peter 2:9
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” – Revelation 1:5-6