I finally found the perfect picture of our marriage from our wedding.
Isn’t it beautiful?
The marriage passage in Ephesians 5 has always been a problem for me. I grew up hating it because it really makes the wife out to sound like an emotionless slave who does her husband’s bidding at all costs and basically has no opinion of her own. (Think, “Yes, master.”) I also didn’t understand it because my parent’s happy marriage didn’t function that way. So, I mostly just avoided it, until recently. We recently heard a sermon series preached over this passage that was freeing for both Alex and I. Basically, we’ve heard misinterpreatations of this passage all our lives. You see, as most of you know, in ancient cultures, women were little more than slaves. They were a possession. Husbands barely interacted with their wives. As he writes this passage, Paul tells Christian husbands to “agape” their wives. Agape is the Greek word for the love that only God can give. This was a radical idea because it asked husbands to love their wives in a way that was impossible for them to do it by themselves. A marriage has to be Spirit-filled (verse 18- which is the actual beginning of the marriage passage) in order for agape to be possible. One part of Christian living is submission (voluntarily placing yourself under) and Paul asks that everyone submit to everyone (which links verses 21 and 22, which are usually separate.) Almost everyone sees the “wives submit to your husbands”, but they forget the part where Paul commands husbands to “agape” their wives.
The verse that really gave me trouble was verse 23 which says, “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.” Pete Briscoe, the pastor at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, explained that this passage was about oneness- not a formula for who’s in charge of who. In verse 32, Paul mentions a “profound mystery”. Wherever that word is used in the New Testament, the mystery is always 1 + 1 = 1. (Huh?) As an example, 1 Beth who sins + 1 Jesus who saves = 1 new Beth who has Jesus in her. So, the mystery of marriage is that when you become husband and wife, you become one.
With that being said, many people interpret “The husband is the head of the wife” as “The husband has authority over the wife”. WRONG! The Greek word for head is…head (kephalos)….head, as in a head that holds the ears and mouth and nose. Can a head move or act separately from the body? Can the body move without the head? Paul is saying that the husband and wife are one! That frees us from the “me against you” mentality and lets us work as a team, as one.
Thus the creepy, but accurate, picture of our marriage.
(Facebook readers, go to welderbeth.xanga.com to see the full blog)
(If you are interested in the really cool sermon serieis, click here. The sermon series started January 17th and goes until Valentine’s Day.)