Have you ever had a disagreement with your spouse or significant other only to wonder when it was all said and done What were we arguing about again? If so then you, like just about everyone else I’ve met, has fallen prey to a cycle that happens in every relationship. For simplicity purposes, we’ll call it the marriage cycle.
If you’ve ever watched a dog chase its tail, then you know exactly what this one is all about! Tail chasers never catch what they’re chasing do they? I mean they can catch the tail but it’s never a fulfilling experience because it’s their own tail! They can’t do anything with it! Why do dogs chase their tails? Simple! They don’t know that it’s their tail!
It’s kind of like this in our relationships. When we don’t have a clear definition of terms, boundaries and expectations then we’re likely to be chasing tails when it comes to how we communicate with our spouse. Let’s take a look at a section from the bible that really helps us understand this cycle approach to marriage. It’s from Ephesians 5 and goes like this.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:22 & 25
Can you see the cycle? Wives are to respect and defer or submit to their husbands. This doesn’t make them lesser by any means! And when we see it as a belittling thing it’s because we’ve missed the other side of the cycle – the love part. So imagine that cat chasing its tail again.
Wives don’t like to submit to their husbands when they don’t feel and experience love from their husbands. But husbands have a hard time loving rightly when they don’t feel respected. And there you have it one feeds the other and round and round we go. We become tail chasers in our marriages and relationships. So how do we fix this terribly dizzying cycle?
Focus on our part! Now go back and read those verses again. Wives submit to your husbands. This is not a verse to the men. This one isn’t written to husbands about demanding submission! It’s to women and it’s in the context of a greater chapter about how to love rightly in the world. This is just one specific example. Paul will also tell children how to love, parents how to love, servants and masters how to do the same. You see when we focus on someone else’s part, we get it all wrong.
Wives this encouragement is for you. Honor, respect and submit to your husband. Don’t do it because he’s worth it because honestly we’re not worth it. We mess up. We say dumb things. We do wrong things. We act out of wrong motivations. We all too often don’t do the right things we know we should do and end up doing the stupid things we know we’re not supposed to. We’re not perfect and we’re not worth it. But Jesus is. This command to respect and honor and submit to your husband isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus. Jesus is worth it when we’re not. And the way you honor, respect and submit to your husband is directly related to how well he will love you. It shouldn’t be that way but because we’re human it just is.
Husbands you’re not off the hook! Paul says to love your wife as Jesus loved the church. You don’t have to believe in Jesus to love your wife, but know this. Jesus loved the church enough to die for it. Are you willing to die for your wife? You should be! Not because she’s worth it. Not because she’s perfect. Not because she’s the best cook or the most beautiful or any of those things. Even though in your eyes, she likely is all of those things and more! We’re called to love our wives no matter what. And honestly the way we love our wives feeds their desire to honor, respect and submit to us in Christ. You see, Jesus is the one who’s worth it. When our wife has a less than perfect moment, Jesus makes it all worth it.
Can you see the cycle? Love less, respect less and the cycle spins rapidly out of control. Love well, respect well and the cycle grows exponentially for the better! I’m no expert in anything relationship or marriage. I’m one of the not worth it group of husbands to be sure! But as I navigate this thing called life, marriage and parenting I’m starting to see nuggets of wisdom come to light from scripture that I feel worth sharing. If it’s helpful then great! If not then just click past it. Feel free to comment or share but most of all respect those around you and love others well no matter your position in life! Let’s stop chasing our tails and start chasing one another!
Chase your spouse with love and respect and honor, and watch as they start chasing you back!
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