Cruising Route 66
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
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. Ephesians 5:21-27
The Book of Ephesians is a multifaceted letter of instruction, encouragement and rebuke. It deals with our freedom in Christ, our responsibility to the church, our relationship with authority, and our power over evil in the field of spiritual warfare. But there is one subject that is most often thought of when the Book of Ephesians is mentioned, a subject that has struck fear in the heart of men and woman over the millennium, is there relationship in that blissful, harmonious state of holy wed-lock, also known as marriage.
One word rises up like a serpent of doom from the deep, dark waters of our fears, threatening to destroy what could have been a wonderful relationship –“submission!”-the fear of “Growing Invisible”
A very young man sent his girlfriend her first orchid on Valentines Day with a note: “With this flower comes all my love and most of my allowance.”.
In the early stages of most relationships, just being together feels so good and satisfying that couples will often fail to see the need to work at building a foundation for a lasting union. Just about every complaint I’ve ever heard could be reworded to say “They are, or I am, becoming invisible.”
First year…. Sugar Dumpling, I am really worried about that cough and sniffle. I’m putting you in bed, and I’ll be bringing you meals from Rozzini’s. I’ve already arranged it with the head chef.
Second year… Listen, darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough, I’ve called the Doctor to come over, so you go to bed and get some rest. I’ll cook up something for you.
Third year… Maybe you better lie down, honey. You’re not looking so good. Nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I’ll bring you something from Taco Bell.
Fourth year… Look, dear, be sensible. After you have moped the floor, fed the kids, and gotten the dishes done, you better make yourself something to eat and go lie down.
Fifth year… You’re look’n pretty sad. To get everything done around here you better take a couple of aspirin, and catch a nap if you can.
Sixth year… For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing all over everything! You’re going to give it to me! Go gargle or something, you’re barking like a seal.
Seventh year… Got it again huh?
In Balante, Portuguese Guinea, on the wedding day the bride is given only one gift, a wrap that serves as her wedding gown. The marriage lasts as long as the gown endures. As soon as the fabric becomes threadbare the marriage is over. If the bride is happy, she will not be seen wearing the wrap. If she isn’t, she’s seen wearing it all the time, rain or shine.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:28-33
Let me give you a few examples of relationships that evolved into marriage and later could have easily evolved into trouble. You may see yourself here.
Bert and Betty are very athletic and love to ski. During the winter they spend much of their time together on the slopes, and during the summer they’re together pulling one another behind a boat. Their faces always have a smile, and they are always out doing something together. Sounds good but, unfortunately, they never do it without another couple and that doesn’t allow for much in the way of a quality relationship, just an active one.
Sam and Sally work together. They spend more time working together in the office than living together at home. They communicate on a regular basis, and their conversations can get quite involved. Unfortunately, it is usually centered on their work. The quality of their relationship begins to take on a three-piece suit appearance. It looks good, but when things get cold it isn’t enough to keep out the chill.
Jack and Jill spend a lot of time together too. They will have a simple dinner and spend each evening together watching TV. Jack gets into the movie, but Jill is bored so she may do something else while listening. If it has been a long day, one or both may drift away, and fall asleep. As comfortable as they are with one another, they must be perfect for each other. You can find Jack and Jill sitting in the booth across from you in a restaurant. Watch and you will see that the only discussion is usually with the waitress.
None of these couples are destined for destruction, and they’re not bad relationships, just out of balance. Togetherness alone is not enough. If the relationship is based purely upon being in the presence of one another, then it will soon lose its magic. Without the foundation described in the 5th chapter of Ephesians, it’s going to be a struggle. We are to make the most of every opportunity, to speak to one another in love and truth. Consider Paul’s admonition that led him to address husbands and wives.
Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:16-20
We are to be careful to develop a relationship that is based on knowing and appreciating one another by submitting and sharing in each other’s lives. Take note that I did not say “sharing of one another’s lives.”
To share of, means to share one another’s prosperity, emotions, bodies, and basically their space. This is a shallow relationship, and not what Paul is speaking about. To share in means partaking in the strengths and the weaknesses, the good with the bad, the joy and the peace along with the sorrows and the battles. It is the battlefield of life that makes tested warriors. It is where two individuals become one, as they become dependent upon one another. This is a relationship with depth.
How well do you know your spouse? The Director of Public Education for the State of Massachusetts tells of a case she dealt with in which a man came to her office seeking a place where he could learn to read. For eleven years he concealed his inability to read from his wife. Each evening he would hold up a newspaper in front of him for over an hour. How easy it was for him to grow invisible.
All it takes to make someone become invisible is to stop looking. Remember, love others as you want them to love you. Don’t let anyone, especially those closest to you disappear.
Until next time,