Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (ESV)
The marriage relationship is under constant attack. When two people from different backgrounds and families decide to unite together for a lifetime covenant there will be challenges. In fact, we know that divorce is rampant. I am convinced that the only way for marriages to be successful is for them to follow the guidelines that God himself gave.
Here's the challenge. We may agree in theory that God's way is best. We may even sign a marriage covenant that says that we will be together until death parts us. But, doing things God's way is not always easy. The world around us will actively rebel against God's ideals for marriage, and some of our friends will encourage us to reject God's plan because it is just too hard.
This verse and the following verses in this section of Ephesians give us some of God's guidelines for godly marriage relationship. They are not easy. They are not politically correct. And they have not always been used appropriately. Some prideful and controlling partners have taken these verses out of context to force their spouse into doing what they want them to do. We cannot promote that kind of abuse.
I will try to speak to these verses as a failing servant of the Lord. I have many times failed in my marriage relationship. My poor wife has been the victim of my sinful and foolish choices. So, I have to approach these verses with that perspective. I come to the Word of God, hoping to show how we should act, knowing that I myself have failed in always following it. Thankfully, God is gracious.
We will look at this verse in more detail in tomorrow's devotional. In the meantime, you might want to read through this whole section in Ephesians 5. Try to read the verses with an open mind, knowing that God's ways, although hard to follow at times, are always best and for our ultimate good. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to hear what you need to hear.