How To Become Irresistible to your Spouse.
Authors: Jeremy and Charity Rochford
Are you ready?
Why do, I ask?
BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT TO GET CONTROVERSIAL!!!!
Or…maybe it won't, and you'll agree with me about everything, and the last sentence was just an egregious misuse of capital letters.
Either way, we’re about to find out.
Because for this post, I want to speak about the balance that we find in Ephesians between "Women submit to your husbands…" and "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church..."
Now, before we go any further, I’d like to ask a quick favor of you as the reader. Please finish this post before jumping to any conclusions of where you feel I might be going with this concept. I fully acknowledge, as someone who’s been a part of ministry leadership, that this topic, and the scripture(s) that accompany it, have been used in ways that have been very misunderstood, misrepresented, and potentially harmful.
That said though, I feel that to break the stigma of what this topic has been we need to have uncomfortable conversations about it.
I’m willing to get a little uncomfortable (and I hope that you are too) if it means that couples will start to see this verse as one of equality rather than a verse of one-sided oppression (as it has sometimes been portrayed).
The heart of this, for me, is that I genuinely don’t want to see any relationship suffer, and while there are times to get deeply theological on some matters, I feel it may be a better use of our time to approach it radically simple and practical.
Men- Christ died for the church-both physically and metaphorically. So, men, that’s your standard for loving your wife. Anything less = no bueno.
Women- (Ok- I’m not a woman, so I will not even go here. Instead, I’ll ask my lovely wife Charity, who is very much a woman, to offer her perspective on this part).
“Hi ladies! Oof, this whole 'submitting' thing sounds pretty rough, right? Some say that word brings up the same feeling as other words like subservient, belittling or even degrading. When Jeremy and I first got married, I thought "We're a team, he won't make me 'submit' to him, so that verse doesn't really matter." But the truth is we can't just ignore parts of the Bible that make us uncomfortable or that we think don't apply to us. Thankfully, although that may have been my way of thinking when we got married 18+ years ago, I've done a lot of growing since then and my feelings have changed.
I ask myself these questions: If my husband is showing his love for me and he is giving me the time, the attention, and the respect that I deserve (and want and need), how should I feel about his leadership in our household? If he’s recognized things in his life that aren't helping him be the best Christian and husband he can be, and he is working on them - phasing them out (i.e.-'dying' to those things,) why would I doubt he has my best interests in mind? If he's seeking God's heart and consistently showing that he's putting our family first in his decision making, would I question where his heart is?
So, how do I feel now? Daily, I am seeing him show his love and watching him make sacrifices for us. He is strong in so many ways and I'm put at ease when I'm with him. He needs me, we're still a team, but I don't have to have the burden of leading us or forging my own path. He has become the leader I desire to follow. I feel cherished and important to him (as the Church is to Christ. - see how I finally got back to the verse?)
Wouldn’t a husband, a leader, like that be worth submitting to?”
I really appreciate my wife’s perspective because while I feel we both do a respectable job of bringing our Ephesians’ call equitably to fruition, the unfortunate reality for most couples is that, far too often, these roles aren't always embraced equally.
Either the husband isn't doing the serving but expects the submitting, or the wife isn't submitting because she feels the husband isn't serving.
And while this might seem like a vast oversimplification of a (potentially) very deep concept & concern, I believe (and have seen) that it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. However, it does take both parties to fully acknowledge, and embrace, the reality that as an act of faith in Christ, we ALL must submit to HIS will.
Ephesians 4:1-6 does a great job of making this simple and clear for us;
“4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Unless I need new glasses, I can’t read that and find any biblical basis for either spouse to act in a way that would be malicious and not seeking to love their spouse as the way Christ has loved us first.
So, if you find your relationship is struggling because of inequity and a lack of active love, here’s how I’ve applied this practically in my marriage.
Step 1: I wake up every day and ask myself, "what can I do to make my wife’s life easier?"
Step 2: I repeat Step 1.
Notice I said “easier," not “perfect.”
There are some days when I'm so busy with work that merely being employed is the only way I can make my wife's life easier because she knows the bills will be paid on time, and she deserves that type of security.
There are other days when I'll have a client or two reschedule their coaching session(s), and rather than using that extra time to watch more hockey or look on eBay for my special interest(s), I’ll make a deliberate effort to fold the laundry, do the dishes, make her coffee, or clean up some of the messes that kids have made - whatever I can in the extra time that I have allotted to make her life easier.
I've found the more deliberate I am about loving my wife through the call in Ephesians 5:21-30, the more she responds favorably and the better our relationship is.
So, how do you get started?
The best way to bring Ephesians to life would be to ask ourselves equally throughout the day; How can I make my spouse’s life easier?
That approach has worked in our ND/NT marriage for 18+ years, and I'm sure it can work in yours.
If you'd like to connect further about what you've just read or to learn more about what we do at Autistic Family Coaching, you can reach Charity or Me at Jeremy@AutisticFamilyCoaching.com or Charity@AutisitcFamilyCoaching.com.
Or you can leave a comment below.