The Bible sometimes uses marriage to describe what our relationship with Christ will look like in Heaven (e.g., Revelation 19:7). In making this connection, God creates a framework for earthly marriages that foreshadows our future relationship with Him.
This framework also illustrates how our relationship with Christ can look now, too. Consider a few verses from Ephesians 5, for example.
“…and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25)
Out of respect for Christ and his submission to the will of the Father, we submit ourselves to our spouses within marriage. Unfortunately, our flesh often rebels against the idea of submission because we think it dictates a domineering relationship in some way. That’s not what God intended, though.
Submission means following a husband’s leadership in Christ. This includes complete commitment to your husband and the relationship. It involves cheering him on instead of trying to fix and change him, and it means building him up whenever possible.
On an individual level, a godly wife focuses on developing her inner beauty.
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Note that the scripture doesn’t say to not pay attention to your appearance; it just says to not give that a greater focus than the status of your heart.
Submission means laying aside your own interests to care for your wife. In doing so, you seek to understand and protect her. It also means you strive for gentleness and tenderness. In addition, your leadership should reflect godliness and not demand servitude.
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
In addition to honoring his wife, a good marriage also benefits a husband’s spiritual life. Logically, the opposite is also true.
As husbands and wives submit to one another “in the fear of Christ,” they show their trust in God. They let go of self, the enemy to submission, and they deliberately and intentionally choose to prefer one another.
In marriage, separate wholes come together to make one new whole.
“And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:8)
Through Godly submission, spouses learn to harmonize with one another. In doing so, they become a beautiful tune pleasing to the ear not to those around them but also to God in Heaven.
Spouses within a Godly marriage learn a little about how their relationship with Christ will be in Heaven. Realizing this is life-changing as we understand that not only are we building up our spouses as we strive for harmonious submission in our marriages, but we are also preparing ourselves for eternity.