We went on or first date shortly after that first encounter and I remember it well. We went to dinner at the Black Angus in Fullerton and from there we drove to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. We spent the rest of the evening where we toured the ship and I proceeded to climb up one of the smoke stacks on the ship. Thankfully I did not get busted and Cathy realized that I was not only kind, but fun and adventurous. Over the course the next year we grew closer to each other and realized that we were meant for each other.
I married Cathy because she was everything I always desired in a wife; beautiful, kind, fun, gentle, loving, loyal, and we enjoyed being with each other and doing things together. I trusted her in a way I had never trusted anyone before. Our life together was off to a beautiful start, and in many ways, I miss those early years. However, somewhere along the way my old behaviors started creeping back into my life and I started trying to control everything Cathy did. Not only did I start trying to control her, I also tried to change her.
I married Cathy because of her beauty, both inside and outside, but for some reason I suddenly wanted her to have a better body, be a better lover and so much more. As I was trying to change Cathy the only thing that was changing was that Cathy was losing herself and growing resentful and fearful of me. She was pulling away from me emotionally and only being submissive out of fear. After all a wife is supposed to be submissive to her husband at all cost correct? She is supposed to keep her body and outward appearance in perfect shape, correct? After all the bible says the wife does not have authority over her body, correct? – 1 Corinthians 7:4 says: The wife gives authority over her body to her husband…. How many of you have taken this scripture and abused it by using it in the literal sense of the context?
This scripture does not give us permission or justify a husband abusing or coercing his wife, sexually or otherwise. What this scripture tells us is that we have a binding obligation to serve our partner with physical affection. Think about how awesome this obligation is: out of the billions of people on the earth, God has chosen one and one alone to meet our sexual needs. There is to be no one else. I don’t know about you, but to me this seems like a pretty special gift. What I know today after all that Cathy and I have been through and thinking there was no hope for a deeply intimate relationship, we have grown closer to each other in the last three or four years more than we had in the previous twenty plus years of our marriage. However, there is more to us growing closer than our physical relationship.
Far too many men believe that their wives are supposed to submit to them in an abusive way. That our wives are to do everything we tell them to do without question. They are to be seen and not heard unless spoken to. In far too many relationships the wife is treated more like a maid-servant or roommate than a wife. Yes, the husband is the spiritual head of the house, however this does not give him permission to abuse his wife emotionally, spiritually or physically. Ephesians 5:22 says – For wives, this means submit to your husband as to the Lord. For twenty-eight years of our marriage I was not connected to the church or anything that had to do with the church, which included bible reading. However, growing up in the church there were some scriptures I grew up hearing and seeing people abuse, and Ephesians 5:22 was one of them. I myself was one that abused this scripture as I stated in the above paragraphs when I tried to change Cathy, but today it’s different.
Being submissive does not mean that my wife is under me and inferior to me, nothing could be further from the truth. To submit means that you recognize someone has legitimate authority over you. It means you recognize that there is an order of authority, and that your part of a team and as an individual you are not more important than the working of the unit or team. Cathy and I walk side by side in life supporting and honoring each other. Submission does not mean inferiority or silence. Submission means “sub-mission” or “under a mission” and that mission is under the authority of God, a mission of obeying and glorifying God.
How could I expect Cathy to be submissive to my authority when I was treating her abusively emotionally, verbally and spiritually? More importantly how could she be submissive to me when I was not operating under Gods authority? The law I was following was the law of “Randy.” While in therapy my therapist told me that I was going to have to let Cathy’s wings spread so she could grow. That scared me to death as I had no idea what that looked like or where she might go. Several years later while listening to a message from my pastor I heard these words; If you have your wife’s wings tied, you need to cut the ties and let her fly. His words resonated with me that day and I metaphorically cut the ties to my wife’s wings. Since that day my wife has grown in ways that have only enhanced her beauty and set her free spirit soaring to levels, I never knew possible. However, I had to look at my behavior and make some serious changes myself.
There is a scripture that I believe should be a pre-requisite to Ephesians 5:22. In fact I believe the two scriptures should be flipped. Ephesians 5:25 (GWT) says - Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. How was I to expect Cathy to submit to me, walk side by side with me supporting everything I do if I am treating her as an inferior and less than my equal? As the scripture tells us, I had to learn to love my wife as Christ loved the church and he died for the church. The question this poised is; “ what am I going to die to on a daily basis out of love for my wife?” What was I going to die to in order to earn her respect, to create a burning fire within her heart to walk side by side with me in all that I do, we do? It’s really simple, I just have to die to myself on a daily basis. Die to my selfish and self-centered ways. Lay down my ego and my pride. The bible also tells us to do unto others as we would have them do to us, in my eyes it’s pretty self-explanatory – all I have to do is treat my wife the way I want her to treat me. Talk to her the way I want her to talk to me and love her the way I want her to love me.
Cathy is my wife, my queen, my best friend. It has taken work on both of our parts, but today our relationship is better than I could ever imagined. Yes, I am the spiritual leader of the house, and as such I am required to lead our home, our marriage spiritually. Thus, I must lead by example, which means I die to my selfish desire daily in order to lead my wife down a path she willingly will travel with me. Do I do it perfectly, do we do it perfectly? Absolutely not. The point is we do it no matter what and it has changed our relationship and taken it to a level I never knew existed.
I have only one question for you – What are you willing to die to on a daily basis for your wife?
Ephesians 5:25 (GWT) says - Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.
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