Ephesians 5: What a relationship should look like

By Kami Rieck

As I look around the world we live in, the plethora of new teachings, statistics and advice regarding relationships is evident, yet I can already make the assertion that my generation is still simply confused.

As a 17 year old girl who has never engaged in a romantic relationship, I don’t know much, but one thing that I am certain of is that Jesus Christ, Our Savior, is the first who showed love, and the only one who shows it in His perfect image. This leaves the devil, the media, the movies and the books to distort our most sacred gift, and trust me, they’re doing a good job.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that I’ve been single my whole life, I quietly observe my peers’ relationships, but more importantly, I try to justify my reasons as to why I don’t find them most of them appealing. Before I progress any further, I should make it clear that if a man fails to admit his love for Christ, it is right that this relationship does not proceed.

In Ephesians 5, Paul describes to us what a healthy relationship in Christ looks like: “wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”

Submission is the most vulnerable state an individual can be in, so when God commands us to submit to our husbands, we should be definite that this man is worthy of our submission, and it all starts with him being a righteous leader.

Titus 2 explains that the man should be “self-controlled,” which can be best interpreted to mean that he does not pressure or own the woman, but protects and leads her by walking with her in God’s faithful plan.

Paul goes on by commanding, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.”

Our partner in our relationship is ultimately called to love us, which is described in 1 Corinthians as being “patient, kind, not envying, boasting, and not being arrogant or rude.”

Men are referred to as the head of the house, and physical strength was given to them for a significant purpose: to protect their wives. It is not only their job to shelter us, but to guide us through prayer and petition.

Genesis 2:18 reads, “The Lord God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’.”

While husbands are designated by God to defend and guide their wives, it is also clearly written by Paul that men are called to give themselves up for their wives, just as Christ did. So as women, how do we should make sure that we are people that are worthy of dying for?

Let me make one thing clear: we as future wives have and will continue to have the greatest influence on our future partner, so it is important we make a positive mark. There are many roles that shape a wife, but I believe the most important one, often overlooked, is an encourager. It doesn’t take much to get discouraged in this life and caught in the hole of despair, and I promise it will happen to your partner if it hasn’t yet, so it’s crucial to be ready. I see lots of women make the mistake of jumping into this hole with them by complaining and agreeing instead of helping them turn pain into strength.

Studies have shown that women are stronger communicators than men, so it is our greatest gift to use our words to bring hope and light to our partner when it is needed.

When I look at the relationships of people younger than me, my peers and couples who have been married for decades, one of the crucial things that I see relationships deprived of is passion. God has called each individual on this earth to fulfill His purpose, and the gift of marriage can either be helpful or harmful, so if your spouse is not heart and soul committed to you, and most importantly God’s vision for you, your marriage will not prosper.

Proverbs 12:4 says it best, “an excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness to his bones.”

I hate to inform you, but love is a choice, and marriage should be one of the most important decisions that you make in your lifetime. When the time comes to say vows at the altar, neither you, nor your partner be the same person in thirty or forty years, so the reasoning behind marriage has to be more than just a “good feeling,” and it all starts with trust.

A relationship that is bound by trust and security is promised to produce hope, which is ultimately what will preserve the relationship until death. God never promised us that marriage would be the solution our problems because if our partner is not a man of God or if we are not women of God, then our relationship will never flourish in the way God intended.

Marriage is one of the many special gifts that God bestows upon us, and is meant to last until death. While I can’t speak for everyone, I believe that a partner should ecstatically celebrate the calling on their spouse’s life, and be fully committed to the vision that God has for them. God created man and woman to support each other with Him at the center. A relationship that is built on the love and faithfulness of God is promised to bring joy, is promised to bring hope, and is promised to endure.