Cherish Husbands (Ephesians 5)



Men are like dogs[1]: Make them happy by feeding and playing with them.

  • They lie around all day, sprawled out on most comfortable piece of furniture in the house
  • They can hear a package of food opening a half a block away but they can’t hear you even when you’re in the same room.
  • They leave their toys everywhere,
  • They grunt & growl when they’re not happy.
  • When you want to play, they want to play
  • When you want to be left alone, they want to play with a cruel persistence.
  • They are great at begging.
  • They smell.
  • They will love you forever if you feed them and rub their belly.
  • They do disgusting things with their mouths and then try to give you a kiss.
  • They can look dumb & lovable at same time.


Women are like cats: Mystery how to make them happy. And what works once doesn’t mean it will work again.

  • They do what they want when they want.
  • They rarely listen.
  • They’re totally unpredictable.
  • They cry when not happy.
  • When you want to play, they want to be alone.
  • When you want to be alone, they want to play.
  • They expect you to cater to their every whim.
  • They’re moody.
  • They can cost you financially.
  • They leave hair everywhere.


EXAMINE                       EPHESIANS 5

Ephesians 5:21-33  
21  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30  because we are members of his body.
31  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
33  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Introductory Comments

  • Entire sermon series is actually 1 message in 4-5 sessions. It’s a continuous stream of related thought. So, listen to each message if you miss a week.
  • God before you. If you trust what God says for faith you can trust what God says for family. Christians must listen to the Lord that loves them, believing He has their best interest in mind. Ultimately remember God is the architect of marriage and family so we must follow His blueprints (Gen 1-2; Ps 127:1).
  • 5:21 before 5:22 The command of submission is in the context of all Christians submitting to each other on some level. Verse 22 borrows the verb from verse 21. The idea is this command is further applied with wives submitting to their husband’s leadership and husbands submitting to love and lead with radical sacrifice.
  • Marriage is a shadow of a greater reality. The marriage relationship points to the relationship between Christ and Church. Therefore, marriage is about God’s glory more than human gratification.
    • Ancient approach to marriage was primarily functional. Marriage kept economic stability with property and prospects between those families. Children were viewed as assets for future care and prosperity. You loved who you married more than married who you loved (admitted generalization and overstatement).
    • Modern approach to marriage is primarily fulfillment. People marry bc they view the person to meet their needs. Children are viewed as accessories to enhance your social appearance. You love the person based on romance, but when the externals change (age, weight, wrinkles, adversity) then so does the internal love, and marriage becomes a contract that can easily be broken.
    • Biblical approach to marriage is primarily faith. People marry to make disciples. They view the person as one who will make them holy and happy in God. Marriage and parenting are cherished relationships because they cultivate the character of Jesus Christ. Marriage is a covenant relationship that is sustained by the love and faithfulness of God.

Paul quotes Genesis 2:24, the essential verse defining marriage in the Bible. It is quoted 4 times: Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8; 1Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31) and is alluded to indirectly numerous other times. From this passage flows a working definition of marriage.

  • Marriage is a foundational stewardship for creation (Genesis 1:27-28). It provides the safe environment for pro-creation and nurture of individuals in society. It is personal, relational and communal. Further, it points to the eternal relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-32).
  • Marriage is heterosexual (Leviticus 18:22-23/20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-11; 1Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 1:6-7). It is for “a man and his wife”. The natural sense of relationships and pro-creation validate heterosexuality. Marriage is not reduced merely to sexual intimacy. It’s a foundational institution pointing to a greater reality of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32).
  • Marriage is exclusive. “A man will leave father and mother and be united to wife.”
    – Marriage is exclusive in that of leaving parents. This is not so much location (geography) as it refers to loyalty in a new relationship.
    – Marriage is also exclusive in terms of monogamous (not polygamous) partners for life (Deuteronomy 17:17; Leviticus 18:18). God expects faithfulness in His worshipers, not adulterous idolaters.
  • Marriage is covenantal and life-long (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:6; 1Corinthians 7:10-16). Its union is “bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh…shall hold fast… one flesh”. The permanence of marriage provides the security and hopefulness of relationships. It is more than a human contract but a divine covenant. Likewise, God is faithful in His covenant.
  • Marriage is complementarian. Man and woman are interdependent with equal value but independent with different roles assigned in the family. The biblical ideas of “headship” and “helper” are significant. Further, families are to reflect the love, sacrifice, service and submission that Jesus had unto the Lord God, thereby modeling the gospel unto the world.

Based on this definition, we can discern ways a wife cherishes her husband.

A wife cherishes her husband when she loves the Lord.
Paul exhorts a wife to submit to her husband “out of reverence for Christ” (5:21), and “as to the Lord” (5:22). Her obedience to this command is a reflection of her love and trust in Jesus.

Further understanding of submission:

  • A wife’s submission is not commanded for all women to all men, but a wife to her husband.
  • Reasoning is “for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church.” In Ephesians, Paul has established the headship of Christ (Eph 1:22-23; 4:15-16). The wife was to view the husband’s headship reflective of God’s gift for her protection.
  • As the wife says in Song of Solomon 2:4 “his banner over me was love.”

What is with the “S” word?
Submission of wives has a negative connotation.

  • Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Submission does not mean

  • Lesser value or worth (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28).
  • Wife relinquishes independent thought and purpose (Proverbs 31).
  • Wife cannot influence husband or succumbs to his every expectation (1Corinthians 7:16; 1Peter 3:1).
  • Husband is in place of God (1Corinthians 11:3) or gives him authority to abuse or bully the wife.

Submission does mean

  • Trust: as Jesus trusted the Father’s wise plan (Philippians 2:5-11) and as Sarah followed Abraham
  • Respect in heart and attitude (Ephesians 5:33)

A biblical wife gives up controlling her husband for the sake of complementing him (Gen2:18; 1Pet3:1-6; Titus 3:5).

  • Helper (ezer) – Word also used of God (Ps 33:20; 70:5) showing we are insufficient without God. Man and woman both have the image of God that make us interdependent. “It is not good for man to be alone.” We are equal but not the same, if our genders were the same then one of us would be unnecessary.
  • Woman was taken from Man’s side, not his head to rule over him (feminists), not his feet to slave under him (chauvinist), not his back to follow behind (prejudice), but his side partner (complementary).
  • Not only were men & women created differently, but they were cursed differently.[2] Man’s curse against his headship was the world would fight against his rule and the ground would frustrate his labor. In contrast, the woman’s curse was against her ezer/help, that she childbearing would conflict with her and she would compete with her husband rather than complement him (Gen 4:16).
  • Notice Ephesians 5 (or any other text) gives very few details how headship and submission are to be lived out. (woman barely clothed in kitchen while man earns higher salary… it be fine for the reverse… well, minus the mental picture 😊).
  • Notice also these commands are for the home, not society. Likewise, elsewhere Paul gives commands about women in the church (1Tim 2:11-12) and not society. Women can and should exercise leadership gifts to glorify God.

Elisabeth Elliot

“Marriage is used in the OT to express the relationship between God and His covenant people and in the NT between Christ and the Church. Tremendous heavenly truths are set forth in a wife’s subjection to her husband and the use of this metaphor in the Bible cannot be accidental.”

Elizabeth George

“Our submission to our husband—whether or not he is a Christian, whether or not he is obeying God—preaches a lovelier and more powerful sermon that our mouth ever could.”

Carolyn Mahaney

“The edict for wives to submit originated in the gracious heart of God. This command is not punishment for our sin. Neither is it optional or devised by man. Rather it is God who determined that we are to voluntarily place ourselves under our husbands’ authority. He designed submission for His glory.”


A wife cherishes her husband when she lifts him up.

Paul gives reciprocating commands to the wife and husband. The wife is to submit and the husband sacrificially leads. Likewise, the wife is commanded to respect her husband and the husband is commanded to love his wife. Interestingly, the wife is not commanded to love and the husband is not commanded to respect.[3]

God knows the uniqueness of women and men. When women respect their husbands, they will in turn love their wife. If there is lack of respect then there will be love lacking. And men, when husbands love their wife as Christ loves them, then they will respect you. The key is to live in your own verse; don’t trouble yourself by worrying about the text and tasks of your spouse. Do your part and trust God with your partner.

—Illus[4]: Ladies, imagine you were driving a car along a back road. You’re enjoying the winding roads and wonderful scenery. After a while you come upon a car that is stopped in the road. You assume it is stopped to take in the sights as you have enjoyed. You have thought of stopping yourself but hadn’t taken the time. You take this moment of pause to look around and enjoy a few moments of God’s beautiful creation. However, after a few minutes you become a bit flustered with the unmoving car. You begin to talk to yourself in the car, as if the car in front could hear you (ever done that?). Then you decide to give the horn a little toot, but there’s no movement. Your annoyance level is going through the roof and you begin to wind your window down and yell, along with honking the horn with intensity. But as you look more closely, you realize there is no one in the car. The car needs someone to come along and assist it with its movement. The car needs a helpmate.

Far too often helpmates are hurt-mates because they are criticizing unconstructively, reflecting annoyance and anger, honking and hollering, unnerving and undermining their husband. The very action wives want to see in their husbands, they are themselves destroying because they are tearing down and not lifting up.

  • Wives have 3 homework challenges this week:
    1) Pray for your husband every day.
    2) Identify one positive trait of your husband and thank him specifically and generously.
    3) Identify one negative trait of your husband and consider how you can help not hurt in that area. It may be something you can do, or you resourcing or networking him.



Many young boys fantasize about being invisible. They wander what it would be like to walk around unnoticed – listening what other people say or think, performing activities that go uncaught. However, as boys turn to men, they change their fantasy to being more visible.

  • Men want to be noticed and respected.
  • They want to be appreciated for their actions… praise in public and critique privately.
  • They grow frustrated when they speak and no one listens.
  • Husbands grow distant when they are not desired and delighted.[5]
  • Romans 12:10 “outdo one another showing honor”


The good news is that none of us are who we think we are or who others see us as. We think of ourselves and others see us based on past and present actions. But God sees us past, present, and future. He sees you for who you are – and while we were sinners, Christ died for us. And He sees who you will be in the image of Christ. God sees a brand new creation…

  • Today can be a brand new start for you and your family… to see and cherish each other, and more, to be seen and cherished by God.

[1] Adapted from Daniel Akin, Song of Solomon, p.64.

[2] Tim Keller, Gender Roles, 1.

[3] Thoughts from Emmerson Eggerich, Love and Respect.

[4] Adapted from Tony Evans, Book of Illustrations: marriage.

[5] See Gary Thomas, Cherish, pp.59-61.

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