“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:21-22
Have you ever really studied your husband? I mean REALLY studied him? Do you know what turns his cranks? What makes him encouraged, discouraged, what makes him feel like superman? What about his biggest fear or biggest success? Dreams, goals, worries? Are we truly students of our husbands? I don’t mean students in the idea of him teaching us something, although that happens quite often (at least in my home!). I mean students more in the way that Thomas Edison was a student of science. He ate, breathed, lived science and was always trying to figure it out. Do we have that kind of focus on our husbands?
First, let’s take verse 21 of Ephesians 5. We are told to submit to one another. What does this mean? We are to “put ourselves under” others, “…not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Phil. 2:4) We are to put other’s needs above and ahead of our own. We are to bless, love, and serve others above ourselves. After all, servanthood is to be a key part of our lives just as it was Christ’s (Mark 10:45). Submission is about laying down one’s life and serving others – even if there is nothing quite simple about that. It is something we need to do every day. It is an attitude of living to bless another person.
Wives are asked to be more specific – to submit to our own husbands. If you notice in the latter part of verse 22, it says, “…as unto the Lord.” How do we submit to the Lord? First we have to know who He is! We need to study God and learn about him in order to know how He wants us to submit, or serve, Him. It is the same way with our husbands, as the previous part of verse 22 states. While we may submit and serve everyone, we are commanded (yes, commanded) to specifically submit to our husbands. Sure, we may buy a cup of coffee for a friend, help out a co-worker with meeting a deadline, take food to those who are sick, and the list could go on and on. But we are commanded to intentional about serving our husbands. We are to be intentional in our service and submission to our husbands.
To me, this means making a plan. For those of you who know me even the slightest bit, you know I love making plans. I have to have a plan for the day, for the week, or for the weekend. I need things lined out and organized. But as I am looking at my goals or to-do’s for the week, one of the first things I am trying to train myself to ask, or plan for, is: “How can I be a help to Jordan this week?” What does he have going this week that could be a stressor for him, and how can I help reduce his stress? What are his goals, and how can I help him meet them?
I admit, sometimes I don’t know what my sweet husband has on his plate this week, so I don’t know the answers to those questions. I really should, though. Of all the people on the face of this earth, the one I am called first and foremost to serve (after God of course) – before any children, before my boss, before my parents even – is my husband.
This, though, doesn’t mean we are just to be friends with our husband. Wait! That is all good and great, and I will be the first to admit my husband is my best friend and most favorite person on the planet. But what I mean is that being “friends” and laughing together and watching a movie together doesn’t mean you serve him. We need to be proactive in our pursuit of our husbands. Again, like Thomas Edison, study them. Pay attention to what is happening in his life. Get excited about the things that excite him. Think actively about ways to help him and bless him and serve him.
We are to be our husband’s biggest cheerleaders and the “helpmeet” or ally to come alongside him and help him. We can’t do that if we only get around to thinking about him once the kids are asleep, or the dishes are done, or the laundry is all folded and put away. We need to pay attention to our husband. This also means getting our eyes off ourselves and our own interests, and thinking about him.