tHE MARITAL RELATIONSHIP

 

The truth comes into our houses and tells us how we ought to behave there. It has to do not only with the nature of man and the purpose of God, but with the way husbands and wives carry themselves towards each other … A husband of the apostolic type is governed by intelligence in his ways. A wise man is a beauty anywhere, but especially by the side of a good wife. How is he to behave to her? There is something on this point. He is to “give honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life.” There is a good deal implied in this. The wife is told to be subject to her husband: but the husband is not told to lecture her on her duty to be subject. He is told to “give honor” to her. This is the opposite of telling her she is subject. To tell her of her subjection is to cast dishonor upon her. To treat her as a subject is to make her a slave and not a coheir of life eternal.

Let a man do his part and a woman is very likely to do hers. Where is the woman that would not find it easy to be subject to a man who honored her, “who nourished and cherished her, even as the Lord the church?”-( Eph 5:29 ). There may be women who even in such a case would be insubordinate and intractable: but they would be out of the common run, If a man however, loves, nourishes and cherishes his wife, he will not be under much temptation to lay down the law to her on the subject of her subjection. In fact he could not do such a thing, for such a course would be inconsistent with the honor he gives her. If each side would preach and concern themselves with their own duty, each would find their own part easier. It is not for a husband to say to a wife “It is your duty to obey me.” It is not for a wife to say to a husband “It is your duty to honor me.” This mode of going to work would frustrate instead of forward the end in view. A wife is not likely to be the more obedient for being told it is her duty, but the reverse; and a husband’s love is not likely to grow for being ordered. Rather let the wife say, “It is my duty to obey you;” and let the husband say, “It is my duty to honor you.” Such an attitude, taken sincerely and naturally on each side, and carried out in a practical way, would be a powerful mutual help. The other way is a mutual hindrance and destruction. The right way is the attitude divinely enjoined, and it is the attitude taken by the children of God…

 

Robert Roberts