The Ephesians 5 Couple: The United Couple

The Ephesians 5 Couple: The United Couple

 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

—Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)

 We’ve heard it before.  A celebrity couple announces that they’re divorcing, but that they remain best friends.  At the beginning of April, that was the case for Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, when they announced their separation.  As a matter of fact, we hear the words divorce and “remain best friends” in the sentence so much that we become numb to it.  I’ve often wondered how two people who claim to be best friends can consciously choose to divorce.  Why?  To me, being best friends equals a united couple in marriage.  As Paul wraps up Ephesians 5, he strikes at the heart of what makes a united couple, and subsequently, best friends.  He makes it simple.  Husbands must love their wives, and wives must respect their husbands.  It’s a culmination of what makes the Ephesians 5 woman and Ephesians 5 man.  How does that look?

They see each other as equals.  Both the husband and wife realize that God made them equal to each other even though He made them different and gifted them in varied ways.  When a couple’s marriage is strong, the strengths of one mate balance the weaknesses of the other.  This can show in obvious ways.  For instance, the husband may be more high strung while his wife may be mellow, or the husband may be gifted in long-range financial planning while the wife is the one who pays the bills and manages the money on a daily basis.  The Ephesians 5 couple realizes that seeing each other as equals means continuing to get to know each other, even after many years of marriage.

Communication is a priority.  The Ephesians 5 couple values communication not only about small things like what’s for supper or when which child is supposed to be where but about the value of understanding what is on the heart of the other, including hopes, fears, and dreams.  They take time out from their busy schedule simply to talk about something other than life.  It may not be every day that this occurs, but it does on some regular frequency.  It tethers them to why they married in the first place and why they fell in love.

Spending time together remains a priority.  Not only does the Ephesians 5 couple spend time with their children as a family, but they understand the need to have regular time alone together.  It may be a night out on the town, or it may be curled up on the sofa together with glasses of wine in hand.  Regardless, it gives them time alone to talk like adults and to keep those lines of communication open.  This simple action helps bond them together as one.

They maintain a united front.  In an Ephesians 5 marriage, the husband and wife know the value of presenting a united front.  That doesn’t mean that disagreements don’t occur.  They do, probably more often than anyone cares to admit.  Yet through keeping those lines of communication open and keeping in touch with each other as best friends, they work through their differences and come up with a solution that works for both of them.  They also know and understand that despite their best efforts, they will still fail.  They need someone to bridge that gap for them.

They keep Jesus at the center of their marriage.  Husbands and wives are sinful beings.  They will fail in their marital roles.  The good news is that the grace from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross covers all sin, including when husbands and wives hurt each other with words and deeds.  The Ephesians 5 couple recognizes that there will be many times when they fall short, sometimes in big ways.  They understand how God forgave them of their sins and how forgiveness is expected of them as well.  Having Jesus as the third party in the marriage bridges that gap between them and God and between each other.  When husbands and wives push pride aside, grace abounds more than hurt.

Some who read this may say, “Sure, that all sounds well and good in theory, but our kids are young.  I’m in the car taking them to every single activity you can imagine, and my husband works long hours.  When are we supposed to have time together?”  I know it seems impossible to do so, but I encourage you to carve out time in your schedule for each other, even if it’s to grab a cup of coffee for an hour once a week.  Stay in touch with who your mate is because one day, the kids will grow up.  They’ll leave home, and it’s best to avoid discovering at that point that you live with a stranger.

Others may say, “We just can’t communicate.  Every time we start to talk things out, it boils over to a fight.  I don’t know the last time we had a civil conversation since we don’t really talk to each other anymore.”  If this is the case, I implore you to see a counselor, who can teach you communication skills.  Take these skills to heart and relearn to communicate because the more you do, the more you’ll realize why you married your spouse in the first place.

Finally, the challenges that face believing husbands and wives and those who stand outside the love of Christ are the same.  Marriage presents some of the greatest trials but also some of the greatest rewards.  But no marriage will stand under its own strength.  A marriage devoid of Christ at the center stands a good chance of imploding.  If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, consider what Paul says about husbands and wives and a whole host of other topics.  Then explore the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to discover who Jesus is.  I pray that you will come to see Him as your Lord and Savior.

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