Submit to one another
out of reverence for
Part of the joy of being a pastor is walking alongside
of couples as they step into marriage. Few
experiences touch the soul more than the wonder
and joy (and fear) of embracing life with another person.
At the center of the wedding ceremony is the moment
when each person turns to the other and states a vow—
a promise of devotion and faithfulness. Some couples
write original vows and some recite a traditional version,
but each contains a promise. And the intent is that this
promise will last, as the old phrase says, “Till death do
There’s an irony in these words. When Miska and
I echoed this line in our wedding, we vowed fidelity
to each other as long as we lived. The apostle Paul
suggests, however, that staying faithful to our marriage
commitment actually requires a kind of death. To love
well (and long), husbands and wives must “submit to one
another” (Ephesians 5:21). We each have to surrender
our rights and our agenda. We have to die to ourselves
so that we can fully give ourselves to each other.
This is precisely what Jesus has done. Jesus is
the model for true love, whether in a marriage or a
friendship. And what did He do? He died. Jesus laid
down His life as an act of submission to God and as an
act of sacrificial love for humans. As Paul says, Jesus
“gave up His life” for the church (v.25).
Husbands and wives face challenges in learning to surrender. We like to be
in control. We work hard to protect our self-interests. Jesus invites us to take
another path. He instructs us to lay down our life and our demands. He tells us
that to truly love requires death. —Winn Collier
Turn to 1 Corinthians 1:1 and read the description of love. Consider all the
ways this kind of love asks you to die to self-interest.
If you’re married, where do you need to die to self-interest so that you
can love your spouse? If you’re not married, who do you most need to
show love to—and how will you surrender your own agenda to do so?