The following is a guest blog post by Bryan Raszinski. Bryan is a Religion undergraduate at Liberty University.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:22-30, NASB)
Going back and forth the last few years to college and then home has definitely changed the way I see things and what it takes to be a man of the gospel ; a man who, on a daily basis, declares he is going to take up his cross and follow Jesus no matter the cost. I have also learned a lot about marriage in its self and going back and forth have seen two parts that I think need to be addressed because, for the most, one or the other is given the priority and the one that is not given priority seems to be ignored (this is not the case for every single couple getting engaged to be married I am sure but the trend seems that most are this way). At school I see the practical readiness of marriage set while the theological readiness seems to take a seat it should not and at home I see the exact opposite the theological readiness takes the priority and the practical readiness takes the seat. Both are essential before tying the knot and while no couple is ever completely ready to be married and knows how everything will go, the important thing remains that in order to even get engaged these two things need to be settled and discussed so both the future husband and wife know what the other expects from them.
The Theological aspect of marriage is important. It is the foundation that sets the marriage to mirror what marriage is supposed to mirror Christ to the church. As we look in Ephesians chapter 5 we are given the responsibilities of both the wife and the husband. Theologically, the wife is the church and like the church she is supposed to give the leadership position to the husband who is, theologically speaking, suppose to be imitating Christ to her. Biblical submission is not becoming a doormat that the man steps on and uses. The church is the bride of Christ (cf. II Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2, 9). The wife’s submission to her husband is beautiful in the eyes of the Lord and glorifies His name because she is allow herself to be led and giving the man his rightful responsibility to lead. She is to learn how to be self-controlled and love her husband and be joyful in her submission so as to not revile the Word of God and think of it as slander (cf. Titus 2:3-5).
The husband’s responsibilities are not more important or better than the women…but biblically speaking as a leader he is expected to do more and be more. He is to be an imitation of Christ as Christ is to His church. The husband is to love her in a sacrificial manner and be prepared to give things up for her in order for her to be edified and led to become more like Christ. One of the husband’s main responsibilities is to be the most influential person in his wife’s spiritual life and helping her in Sanctification (being set apart and made more like Christ). The main tool used in this process is the Word of God which will bring and build her up and give him the opportunity to have a Women of the Word who obediently learns from the Word and applies what she learns in her life on a daily basis so as to present these truths to her children and glorify the Lord generation to generation. The Husband is the chief person in her life that leads her spiritually and aides and helps her in her struggles when she needs that support. The husband needs to think of his wife’s body as his own. For the institution of marriage set biblical is that the two become one flesh (cf. Genesis 2:24). The Husband is to treat his wife the same way he would treat himself and not abuse or defile his wife in any way. So looking at porn, being obsessed with looking at other women, hitting her, or any other sinful action should be dealt with and conquered before thinking about marrying.
The Practical aspect of marriage is something I do not see as a priority in my church especially in the college-aged people who I know and am around a lot when I am home. This is not saying that none of the young engaged couples did not talk about this, this is more of something I see as something not mentioned or publicly asked or mentioned as an important reason to discuss before getting married. My college ministry does excel at theologically preparing the young couples but being at the college I go to for almost 3 years, I can see how important practical readiness is too.
Stemming from the theological foundation, a man is the leader and therefore needs to lead the family in providing for them financially as well as spiritually. The future husband needs to have plans as to what his career is going to be and how much he will make so as to properly plan on where they are going to live and if the wife will need to work at the beginning so her husband can further his education so that a job will be more readily and he can make more so as to properly provide for his family. The wife should be able to voice her opinion on these things without worry of being totally ignored by her husband. That is not proper leadership on his part. Her opinion should matter a great deal to him and if possible decisions should be made together although if it is left up to one the husband takes the role as the final say so as to lead himself and his wife. The burden of final decisions for the family should never rest on the shoulders of the wife.
Other things that need to be discussed are things like how many kids do they potentially want to have and where they want to settle down and live. The husband really should have a job or plan like I said earlier to further his education so as to get a job suitable and more permanent. At the college I go to these things are encouraged to be discussed.
These two aspects of marriage are important. Both must be connected and balanced for when one is prioritized the other one takes a seat and gets dusty because it is forgotten or deemed unimportant and never mentioned. Marriage is beautiful when done right for it imitates the greatest relationship in existence the love Christ has for the church and he obedience the church as for Christ.