Submitting To One Another in Love
What does this mean? It doesn’t mean doing everything the other person tells us, without question, like some kind of automaton. It means putting the other persons needs ahead of your own, it means being a servant. The bible tells us how to do this. In marriage, it means that the husband is to love his wife the way Christ loves the church.
Husband and wife
Christ loved the church enough to die to set His people free from their sins. A husband should love his wife enough that he would die for her, if necessary. The wife should love her husband just as much. Ideally, a marriage is two yoked together as one. When farmers used to use oxen to plow their fields, back before modern machinery was invented, how do you think the oxen were yoked together? One behind the other? No, it would be pretty difficult to pull a plow that way. They were side by side. One was the lead ox, the one who determined the direction that the team was to go. But what if the other ox, for some reason, decides it doesn’t want to go that way, and just stops. Not matter how much the other ox pulls, because one is standing still, the team is not going to move forward.
The lead ox is usually the stronger one, physically, and therefore sets the course, also, it is harder to start, when you are pulling a load, than it is to keep moving once you start, so the stronger ox takes the lead. But what if the lead ox refuses to lead? What if it suddenly falls to the ox who is used to following, to suddenly be forced to take the lead, and to do what it is not designed to do. It may work, but it is going to be clumsy, because neither ox is doing what they are designed to do, and soon or later, one of them is going to stumble, and because they are yoked, when one goes down, the other is going down too.
Marriages work the same way. When two people become one in the bond of marriage, they each have a role that they are designed to fulfill. The husband is the head of the household, and takes the heavier burden of setting the course according to the will of the Master. The wife’s role is to shoulder her part of the burden, and follow the course set by her husband, and ultimately, the Master. If the husband is fulfilling his role properly, he will do the will of the Master, and follow the course that the Master sets. So by following his lead, the wife is following the lead of the Master as well. If she tries to lead, it throws everything out of balance, and sooner or later, the team is going down. If she does not follow, than the team is going nowhere, and neither can follow the will of the Master. This requires a day by day, and moment by moment, submission to the Master, by both the husband and the wife, in order to make this work. No marriage is perfect, because no believer is perfect, but we are being perfected.