Being a Good Wife 101: Paul’s Love-triangle of GRACE

Ephesians 5:21-28

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

Someone suggested to me the other day that the Lord of the Rings had a love triangle… I didn’t pick it at first but there is definitely some love triangulating between Frodo, Golem and The Ring. Love-triangles end in disaster. Someone always gets hurt. Especially in The Lord of the Rings… Frodo loses a finger, the Ring is finally destroyed and Golem ends up medium to well-done.

But would you believe me if I told you that Paul tells us that there is a love triangle that should be in every marriage? Paul teaches that each marriage should have a healthy, biblical love triangle with GRACE as its foundation. It’s Jesus Christ’s GRACE that enables husbands and wives to love each other.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Eph 5:22)

Paul is teaching that in order that wives submit to their husbands they must first submit to Christ. That wives should submit their husbands as to CHRIST. So what does submitting to a husband as to Christ look like for a woman?

The problem is this … two of the three people tangled in this love triangle are self seeking, greedy sinners. And the third, well He is nothing less than PERFECT!

It’s pretty unfair that wives are asked to submit everything to someone who is going to continually let them down. Let me use myself to paint a picture: I am often late. I am easily angered. I am tempted and often fall into sin. I am forgetful. (That’s my wife’s pet hate: My forgetfulness)… [Pause] Rarely I fail to love my wife but Often I fail to love her just as Christ loved the church. The list of my shortcomings is endless. What’s incredible is my wife is asked to submit everything to me as she would to Christ… now that is massive. The husband is not Christ. I am not Christ. Christ is perfect. The husband is a sinner. So why does Paul ask wives to submit to sinful husbands?

The answer is Grace. Undeserved forgiveness. A wife has to show her husband GRACE when he fails. GRACE empowers the wife to submit to her husband even when he is unworthy of submission. Christians we are supposed to reflect the image of God. And in our marriage it’s no different. By showing GRACE to her husband a wife reflects the GRACIOUS glory of God.

What does this mean? What does it mean to show your husband GRACE? Well just because a husband is a dirty-rotten sinner, it doesn’t mean that his wife no longer has to submit to him. What Paul doesn’t say is ‘wives submit to your husbands while they are doing a great job at reflecting Christ’s glory’ but rather ‘just as you submit to Christ, also submit everything to your husband’.

You see it’s like this. Wives need to experience Christ’s grace toward themselves, and REFLECT that GRACE to their husbands. Did you get that? Wives need to submit to Christ, experience His grace towards themselves, and reflect that GRACE to their husbands while also submitting to them.

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.When a woman places herself at the foot of the cross, it makes her husband’s job ten times easier. When a woman first trusts the Lord, only then she can then fully trust her husband. If she doesn’t fully trust the Lord then she will be bitterly disappointed when her husband continually lets her down. But if she trusts and submits to the Lord, she is then empowered to reflect Christ’s mercy to her husband when he inevitably fails. Let me say that in another way. A wife’s job is to reflect Christ’s mercy and grace to her husband.