“Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22)
January 12, 2022
Marriage is a Mystery that belongs to an entirely different order than the mere union of a man and woman. It basically regards a husband and wife as symbols of another marriage; namely, the marriage of Lord Jesus and the Church: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
The Goal of an Orthodox Marriage is not only fulfillment of one’s needs; it is rather preparation to heaven. Very often couples get married for the purpose of filling certain needs that they have in their own personal lives. Therefore, they come to marriage expecting happiness, emotional well-being, and personal satisfaction without even having to work for them. When they don’t get these things, they feel cheated or blame their spouse.
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. …. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-30)
In the Christian family the husband is the head and the wife is the heart. “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1Corinthians 11:3, NKJV). This is not an order of domination but rather a harmonious union. It means that within Christian marital equality there is also order. The husband is to serve God as head of his wife, as Christ is head of the Church and the wife is to be subject to her husband as the Church is, subject to Christ. There is nothing here to suggest that the wife is oppressed in marriage, anymore than one would call the Church oppressed in relationship to Christ. This perspective on the male 39 and female relationship within marriage is easily understood in light of the metaphor of Christ dying for the Church and the Church as the bride of Christ. Christ died for the church in love and the church submits to Christ, due to this same love. “ Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Ephesians 5:22-25, NKJV).
Source: Coptic Orthodox Church