Is your wife thriving in her own unique calling, talents, gifting, and mission? Do you know what she’s most passionate about, the area of ministry she’s primarily interested in, and how God wired her to make a unique mark
And most importantly, is she making progress in these areas? Well, lately I’ve been sensing the need to help Debbie answer these questions in her life (not that I have all the answers for my own life, mind you). Why?
… because I think its the heart of what Ephesians 5:25 is saying to husbands.
husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.
We men usually think this involves cleaning the house, watching the latest romantic comedy, or worse yet….cuddling (for more than 15 seconds). You know….stuff that doesn’t come naturally for us.
From now on when we hear this verse, let’s think of the word “empower.” Stay with me…
We often quote this verse but skim the next couple verses:
to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
What is the writer (Paul the Apostle) saying here? He’s making the point that Jesus is the supreme example of One who serves others (empowers) so that they can become the very best person they could be.
I think God has something much bigger in mind here than cleaning and cuddling. Think about it…
What is Paul alluding to when he uses words like “stain”, “wrinkle” and “blemish”; and speaks of the church becoming “holy”, “blameless” and washed with water?
Paul is exhorting husbands to treat their wives as a priest who serves God!!
In Exodus 29:1-37 God gave Moses directions for making priests holy. Allow me to summarize:
The word used for “holy” in Exodus is the verb counterpart to the word used in Ephesians 5
The priests were to be free from “blemish” (Leviticus 21:17-18) and “stain”
The priests offered two unblemished rams (Exodus 29:1), a calf and unleavened loaves
The priests were then “washed with water” (Exodus 29:4) at the doors of the tabernacle
A “holy” apparel would be worn by the priests. They would put their hand on the “head” of the calf before slaying it (Exodus 29:10), and in turn, the husband (as head) gives his life for the redemption of another. In a sense, the husband becomes the sin offering.
Christ gave himself so that all people might become priests
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. -I Peter 2:9
In the same way, husbands are to give themselves to their wives so that the wives might become priests! That’s huge guys.
Consequently, in these verses, God is not limiting a woman’s ministry in this world, but expanding upon it. Paul wants women, as well as men, to function as priests of the most high God and he wants their husbands to help empower them!
The question then becomes…how?
1. Pray for wisdom and insight. Chances are, you already have some understanding of your wife’s gifts, talents, abilities, and passions..but it’s probably not enough. Ask God to open your eyes to see her as He does, so that you would know her better.
2. Initiate conversations with her. Meaningful conversations often begin with one good question. Simply ask her (when the moment is right) what she thinks she’s really good at. Ask her what subjects, needs, causes, ministries she’s really passionate about. You could even begin with the classic question, If money (include all potential limitations) were no issue, how would you really want to impact the world?
3. Affirm her with your words. For example, I think Debbie is an amazingly creative writer, so I tell her as much. I remind her of the material she’s already written and created that I think is off the charts. And I try to be inspiring with my words, not corrective. Big difference!
4. Affirm her with your actions. Help her to create space in her life to do something about it. In the movie, The Notebook, Noah not only knew Ally loved to paint, he actually created a room for her to do so – complete with canvasses, brushes, paint, …the works. Help her free up her life so she can take the next step, however she may define it.
5. Keep asking her about it. In other words, be consistent. This will be more than a one-time conversation that comes and goes. Add the element of accountability to this and challenge her to follow through on the things she said she’ll do. Be a coach.
6. Resist insecurity. Remember that your wife is God’s gift to you. When she wins, you win. When she succeeds, you succeed. You’re a team! There is absolutely no need for insecurity or competitiveness. If you suddenly feel insecure, maybe that’s an indicator to wrestle with some of these things yourself.
Meaning in marriage is not found by pursuing happiness, but by practicing self-sacrifice -Al Jansan
To love your wife as Jesus loves the church means to empower her towards her purpose .
Is cleaning and cuddling important? Yes. But there’s more at stake here. Let’s take steps this week to empower our wives towards God’s dream for their lives.
Here’s a short prayer you can use…
Lord open my eyes to see all of the power, beauty, gifts, and talents you placed in my wife’s life; and help me to empower her to reach her full potential.
-By Stephen Buckner
Stephen has been blogging since 2014, and he enjoys writing honestly and openly about married life. He and Debbie are high school sweethearts and have been married for 20 years. They love a meaningful conversation, a rich cup of coffee, an inspiring movie, a perfectly prepared meal, and planning their next vacation.