Like day and night, husbands and wives are different in so many ways–purposed for specific plans by God. Men and women differ in anatomy, appearance, strengths and weaknesses, amongst a host of other variants. So it comes as no surprise that God has different commandments for husbands and wives.
In Ephesians chapter 5, husbands are commanded to love their wives, and wives are given the command to submit to their husbands and respect them (v. 22,25,33).
Further, in 1 Peter chapter 3, wives are admonished to be “submissive to your own husbands” (v.1), while husbands are reminded that their wives are different and should be treated with care as they “dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (v.7).
It’s almost like God is saying “Hey, your wife is to submit to you; but you better take special care of her and don’t abuse your headship or I won’t consider your prayers.” Wives and husbands who obediently submit to one another–respecting and loving each other as the Scriptures detail–enjoy a marriage that honors God.
How can a husband love his wife who nags him and disrespectfully argues with him?
How can a wife respect and submit to her husband who won’t pray with her or give her his loving attention? In either case, we must remember Who we are really submitting to–God! His commandments are not conditional. We can’t pick and choose based on whether our spouses are doing their parts to submit to God. Though we are commanded differently, we each are accountable to God. United by God and united under God. Our marriages are in His hands, and just as He made the sun for day and the moon and stars for night, He purposed specific commandments for His specific purposes for husbands and wives to glorify Him. We each submit to our spouses out of “fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). Out of fear of the One Who holds our covenants in His hands. May we keep seeking to honor and reverence Him in our marriages.