Marriage: The Calling

07 July 2013

When I first got married I honestly just winged it. When I say winged I mean I did whatever felt natural to me even if it was not conducive to my marriage. I had no example or marriage playbook to follow – or so I thought. My husband and I had completed premarital counseling but there are just some experiences that counseling still cannot prepare you for especially if you do not understand your calling in marriage. One day I finally realized that what I was doing was not working and that I needed some direction on how to be a better wife. I searched for a few books but nothing stood out. I told one of my friends what I was looking for and she recommended that I read a book that she credits to reviving her marriage. 

I was pumped to start reading it – I knew for sure that this book would have all the answers to making things easier for me. I knew this book would teach me how to be a wife. But then she told me the title and all of a sudden I was second guessing everything she had said. The book is called “The Surrendered Wife”. What I didn't understand was the part of the book’s title that said “Surrendered”. What was I supposed to surrender to? Even though I was a little hesitant to read the book I picked up a copy and decided that it couldn't hurt. Within the first 3 pages the author mentions that in order to be a Surrendered Wife faith in a higher power was necessary, immediately I had a revelation. If God brought my marriage together surely he had a plan for keeping it that way. I eventually finished reading the book but not before reading up on biblical expectations for marriage.

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In my search for instruction I read so many scriptures about what value it was to be a good wife. In Proverbs 12:4 I read a “worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones”. What? Am I really like cancer to my husband when I am flipping out, nagging, and being bossy? Well how do I fix that? As I continued to read I fell into what I believe is one of the most valuable scriptures to marriage – this passage explains both the man and the woman’s calling for marriage, and can be found Ephesians 5: 21–33. I am not going to write it all out but let’s just see what it says about the calling of a wife.

The Calling: Wives

Ephesians 5: 22 – 24 Says wives are called to submit to their husbands as Lord. Your husband is to be the head of your family – and we are to revere him and respect him as a leader. Now wait! Before you click that red X on your browser read me out! Submission is not equal to being a doormat, it does not mean allowing abuse, it does not mean never speaking your mind and it does not mean being weak. It takes a strong woman to answer her calling of submission in marriage. Strength is required to love when you want to be angry, strength is required to keep control of your mouth when you want to spew unkind thoughts, it takes strength to allow someone else to take the lead while you follow, and it takes strength to encourage a man when you may feel discouraged yourself. Submission is strength, and having faith without being in control. Yes we are called to submit to our husbands, but our submission is ultimately to God. When you love God you desire to please him and one way to do that as a wife is to submit to your husband.  

Women are called to: Submit. Respecting, honoring, helping, representing, encouraging, complementing and loving our husbands all fall under submission.

In submission we should be respecting our husband’s thoughts, desires, and faults. We should be representing our husband by speaking well of him to others, your husband should never worry about what you are saying to others about him. Like in Genesis 2:18 God created a woman to be a helper to the man – being a helper doesn't sound as fun but remember women were also created in God’s image. Is God not the greatest helper? So we should be privileged to share in his character. We are called to help by showing God’s compassion, grace, and love – as women we reflect God’s image of help to the world and to our husbands. We can help our husband to see his identity in God, and to see his need for God. In submission love overflows and will become fuel for husbands to answer their callings. Remember we are called to submit but God is the boss, husbands are just his earthly manifestation to lead, guide, love and protect us. Marriage is similar to ballroom dancing – one person must lead, the other one must follow.

The Calling: Husbands

If you are thinking that your husband gets off really easy in this marriage thing you are wrong. While as women we are called to submit Ephesians 5: 25 – 33, (that’s nine whole verses) says that husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Remember Christ loved the church sooooo much that he died for us. When you reflect on the Crucifixion of Christ, the most monumental act of sacrifice, suffering and surrendering – submission sounds like a walk in the park. Husbands are to sacrifice for their wives even to the detriment of themselves. Husbands are also called make their wives holy, to cover us with God’s word. They are to minister to us and guide us towards a deeper relationship with God. Husbands are also called to love us like they love themselves – that includes feeding, protecting, and caring for their families.

Men are called to: Love. Sacrificing, guiding, providing, protecting, leading and submitting all fall under a man’s calling to love.

Just because a man leads it does not mean that he does whatever he wants – his decisions should always reflect his concern for his family’s well being. So that means our husbands are to love, live and sacrifice for us like Christ did for the church. When a man answers his calling as a husband God places the responsibility of the marriage on his shoulders – he is to submit to God while leading his wife. If a wife fails so does a husband, as the husband was called to keep a wife holy and without fault. A husband should take ownership of his failures, he should be considerate of his wife’s feelings, giving up his wants, needs or even his own life for her well being. Men are made to love sacrificially this love was made in God’s image to reflect his loving relationship to his people. 1 Peter 3:7 reminds men that they must honor their wives and revere them as the weaker sex – and to remember to treat their wives as equal to them. Weaker does not mean less valuable because we were both made in God’s image. The bible then states that men who mistreat their wives will have their prayers hindered. That’s a lot right? It sounds like a lot more responsibility than we originally thought. 


The Calling: Husbands & Wives

Men and women both have to put in effort to make a marriage work – that work is equal yet different.

We are called to: submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)

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In submission there is also freedom – the same freedom that comes when we give our problems to God can be found in submitting to one another. If you do not have a husband practicing submission would be highly recommended before you say I do. You will find it easier to submit to a man who has answered to their calling to sacrificial love. We are not called to submit to abuse or any request that would move us away from God. Submission does not call for a consumer love (a love based what you can do for me?) instead it calls for a sacrificial love (a love based on what I can do for you!). Marriage is to serve as an example to the world of Christ’s love for the church. In a marriage the man represents Christ and the woman, well we represent the church. We have to understand how Christ gave joyfully for us so we can give joyfully to our spouse. In a marriage everyone submits, this is our calling!

This post was originally featured on : Blog By Christian Women

Be sure to check out the previous installment to this series:

I hope you will join me for the next installment in this series posting next week  Marriage: The Work

2 comments:

  1. I am stalking your blog right now, so sorry for all the comments! Through reading this post my entire heart and soul was saying, YES!! YES! Amen, girl! I loved every sentence. Such powerful words from the heart of a wife. I so love coming to your space because I always find such meaningful posts that translate back to the heart of Christ and what is expected of me. Thank you for always being such a wonderful inspiration!

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