Eph. 5:21-33




Marriage involves more than companionship; more than security; more than  


Marriage involves a multitude of responsibilities.



At least four are mentioned in today's text.

The 1st responsibility is found in verse 21.



It reads, “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

This verse touches upon one of the greatest needs in the home today.



The husband and wife are both told to submit.

There are times when the husband should submit.



And times when the wife should submit.

Neither one should have their way all the time.



I read a joke about a man who told his preacher, “My wife and I have been   

married for ten years.”

“And we've never quarreled.”



The preacher asked, “What do you do when you have a difference of


The man said, “When we have a difference of opinion and I am right, my wife        

always gives in.”



So the preacher asked, “What do you do when you have a difference of       

opinion and your wife is right?”

The man said, “That's never happened.”



He was dreaming.

No one can be right all the time.



So BOTH the husband and the wife should submit.

Someone has said, “Success in marriage consists not only in FINDING the  

right mate, but also in BEING the right mate.”



And “being the right mate” involves submitting to promote harmony in the    


Why should we submit?



Our text says, “Submit in the fear of God.”

“Submit out of respect for God.”



We show respect for God when we submit to each other.

The 2nd responsibility is found in verse 22.



“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

The feminists have a hey day with this verse.



They abuse it;

Misapply it;



Deliberately misunderstand it;

And this is a disgrace to their movement.



God is not saying women are inferior to men.

He is not saying women are less important than men.



He loves women.

He lifts up women.



He wants women respected;

Loved and adored.



Study His view of the godly wife and you will find Him saying she is wise,    

kind and intelligent,

You will find Him saying she is faithful, trustworthy, generous, hard-working,          

and more.



He says, “Her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10).

He calls her a blessing “from the Lord.”



I'm going to ask you husbands to look at your wife (go ahead, it won't hurt   


The Bible says, “She is a blessing from the Lord.”



So why does God say, “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands?”

I will show you the NEED first.



Then, I will show you God's REASONS.

First, the need.



We've already noted that verse 21 reads, “Submit yourselves one to another.”

But what do we do when the husband and wife both think they are right?



What does a wife do when she thinks she is right, and her husband won't      


If it comes down to that, God doesn't want your marriage to suffer because of       

your difference of opinion.



He wants the problem solved.

When the husband won't submit, God tells the wife to submit.



This doesn't mean the wife is wrong.

She may be right.



This doesn't mean the wife is less intelligent.

She may be the brains of the family.



Keep in mind the fact that the first thing God said was, “Submit yourselves   

one to another.”

But when the husband won't do what he is suppose to do, the wife should    

submit out of respect for God, if for no other reason.



Let's keep in mind something.

We have a very real enemy.



He’s Satan himself.

If he can harm our family, he will.



If he can discredit our witness, he will.

If he can stop us from serving, he will.



He wants to bring reproach upon the Church and harm the work of God.

He does that by breaking up families.


That's the need.

It's a need to protect our family, our witness, our service, etc.



There are times when the husband won't submit.

So God instructs the wife to do it because He wants the issue settled before it        

gets out of hand.



This causes a problem for feminists.

They ask, “Why does it have to be the woman?”



They say the Bible was written by men.

They say the men were sexists.



They attack the accuracy of the Bible.

And they are totally wrong.



The Bible gives four reasons why the woman is told to submit.

And they have nothing to do with sexism.



1st---The Bible says, “Woman was made out of man.”

It says, “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man”

(I Cor. 11:8).



Notice, that this doesn't have anything to do with intelligence.

And it doesn't have anything to do with who is right.



The Bible simply says the woman should submit because she was created out        

of man.

Adam was created out of the dust of the earth.



But Eve was created out of the rib of a man.

Someone said, “God made a man first.”



“Then, He said I can do better than that;”

“And He did.”



“He made a woman."“

2nd---The Bible says, “Woman was made for man.”



It says, “Neither was the man created for the woman;”

“But the woman for the man” (I Cor. 11:9).



God made Adam and said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will    

make a help meet for him.”

So He created Eve to help Adam.



From the beginning of the creation, it was God's purpose to give man a        


And the Bible says, the woman should submit because God created her to be         

her husband's helper.



3rd---The Bible says, “Woman was made after man.”

It says, “I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man for Adam was          

first formed; then Eve.”



God could have made Eve first.

But He didn't.



He could have created Adam and Eve at the same time.

But He didn't.


He made Adam first;

And He made Eve second.



That's the priority He chose.

And the Bible is saying this priority should continue into the marriage.



4th---The Bible says, “Woman sinned first.”

We just noted that it says, “I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the  

man for Adam was first formed; then Eve . . . .”



Let's continue.

“And Adam was not deceived,”



“But the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

Go back to the creation story.



Adam and Eve sinned.

God put a curse on them.



He told Adam he would have to earn a living by the sweat of his brow.

He told Eve, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”



It may seem unfair to some.

But work is a curse that God put on man because of Adam's sin.



And submission is a curse that God put on woman because of Eve's sin.

The 3rd responsibility comes from verse 25.



“Husbands love your wives.”

God shouldn't have to remind husbands to love their wives.

But He does.

And I find it interesting that He tells husbands to love their wives right after   

He tells wives to submit to their husbands.



The husband who loves his wife will not expect her to submit all the time.

He will do a lot of the submitting himself.



In fact, if God has given you a wife,

And she is submitting out of respect for Him,



You had better love her.

You may encounter an angry God if you don‘t;



Verse 25 reminds husbands to love their wives, “even as Christ also loved the         

church, and gave himself for it.”

How much does Christ love the church?



He gave Himself for it.

He died for it.



And this is saying that husbands should love their wives enough to die for     


Verse 28 tells us, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.”



How much do you love your own body?

You don't want to die do you?



You love your body very much.

While I was working on this (May 2003), my thoughts turned to the man who         

recently went hiking and caught his arm under a bolder.


He finally broke his arm.

And cut it off with a pocket knife.



I can't imagine doing that.

But he didn't want to die.



He loved his body very much.

Verse 33 says, “Let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as     




And so we see that an ordinary love is not what God wants out of a husband.

He wants the husband to love his wife with a supernatural love.



A husband should not expect his wife to be perfect.

He should not pick her apart with constant criticism;



He should not blame her for everything that goes wrong;

He should not ridicule her;



Or make fun of her;

God wants the husband to support his wife;



Encourage her;

Recognize her graces;



Praise her virtues;

Compliment her good works;



And protect her from physical harm.

As a general rule, she is the weaker vessel.

So the husband should defend his wife.

Protect her from injury;



And do the heavier work.

But don't forget that loving the wife as Christ loves the Church includes        

spiritual matters.



I regret to say it,

But all too often, it's the wife who is the spiritual leader in the family,



The wife who studies the Sunday School lesson,

The wife who teaches the Sunday School class,



The wife who says, “Let's go to Church, etc.”

We thank God for wives who do that.



But that's not the way God intended it to be.

It's the husbands responsibility to ACTIVELY PROMOTE the spiritual good         

of his family.



A husband should want his wife to attend church;

To be saved;



And go to heaven.

A husband should want to attend church himself;



To be saved;

And to go to heaven with his wife.




The husband who loves his wife as he should will see that this very important         

responsibility is not neglected.

The Bible instructs the husband to dwell with his wife according to     

knowledge (I Pet. 3:7).



This means according to his knowledge of the Scriptures.

The Bible instructs the wife to ask the husband about spiritual things at home          

(I Cor. 14:35).



God has charged the husband with learning the Scriptures and guiding his     

family in spiritual matters.

The husband should read his Bible.



He should learn what it says.

He should say, “We are going to Church today.”



And he should say, “I want my family to be saved.”

Now, some husbands may go home today and remind their wife that that the

Bible says she should submit.



This is what I want you wives to do.

When your husband starts quoting the Bible to you, remind him that it also   

says that he is suppose to be the spiritual leader in the home.



The 4th responsibility comes from verse 33.

“And the wife, see that she reverence her husband.”



There's a story about a little boy who attended a wedding.

He returned home.




And decided to hold a pretend wedding.

He set up a doll as the bride.



He set up another doll as the groom.

He pretended to be the preacher.



He stepped in front of the dolls and asked the bride, “Do you take this man to        

be your AWFUL wedded husband.”

A lot of husbands feel like they are characterized as AWFUL wedded  




The media often talks about, “deadbeat dads.”

It often talks about, “the angry white males.”



Rodney Dangerfield is not the only one who says, “I don't get no respect.”

God says, “The wife should reverence her husband.”



A wife should look up to her husband; esteem him; respect him.

“She should strive to please him” (I Cor. 7:34).



The wife is not doing that when she criticizes him to others.

When she doesn't try to understand when he's broke;



When she doesn't try to have compassion when he's tired.

When she doesn't try to support him when things get tough.



In closing, married people have responsibilities.

(1) Submit yourselves one to another.

(2) Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands.



(3) Husbands love your wives.

(4) Wives reverence your husbands.



There are many good reasons for doing these things.

But the best reason is that this is the will of God.



He wants your marriage to succeed.

He wants you to be happy.



If the husband and wife will both submit,

If the wife will submit when the husband won't,



If the husband will love his wife as he should,

If the wife will respect her husband as she should,



There's no force great enough to break up the marriage.