Cherish Wives (Ephesians 5:21-33)



A frugal girlfriend asked her mother, “How can I keep my boyfriend from spending so much money on me?” The mother knowingly said, “Marry him. That will all stop when you marry him.”

Hopefully whether you are married or not, you had a positive valentines.

  • 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.
  • Cherish Husband Homework

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.

  • Crazy Cycle: 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 self by worrying about the text and tasks of your spouse. Do your part and trust God with your partner.
  • Today: Cherishing Wives


EXAMINE                       EPHESIANS 5

A husband cherishes his wife when he submits to Jesus.

Paul exhorts husbands to be submitted under the headship of Christ, with Jesus as the only Savior of the church. Previously in Ephesians, the headship of Christ has been established. (Eph 1:22-23; 4:15-16). Husbands are commanded to follow the pattern of Christ: “as Christ is the head of the church”, “as Christ loved the church.”

Paul calls husbands “head of the wife” because he was created before the woman with responsibility to steward God’s creation (cf. Gen 2; 1Cor 11:8-9; 1Tim 2:11-13). Headship can viewed as “authority” or “source,” and one implies the other.[1] The source of something implies authority or prominence (writing author, water bodies, etc.).

To be clear: Male headship is submitted to Christ’s headship and it never means male domination.[2] If male headship is incorrect then so is parental headship (Eph 6:1-4; Col 3:20-21), church leadership (1Tim 3:4-5, 5:17; Heb 13:17), and social leadership (Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:22). The abuse of something is not reason to abolish the purpose or practice of something. Biblical headship is always for the benefit and blessing of others, in other words, selfless.

When we examine the creation of man we see God’s design and purpose for man to submit to Christ and lead their wife & family in at least these areas:

  • Man created with a requirement to labor.
    Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
  • Men are called to lead in provision. That doesn’t mean the wife can’t work outside the home or earn more than husband. That doesn’t mean the man can’t get unemployed or retire. The husband’s role is to provide a sense of stability and plan for the family’s welfare.
    • However, women, if a man is lazy and unwilling to work, then 1) don’t marry, 2) creatively motivate him.
  • Man created with a responsibility to lead.
    Genesis 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
    – – – Gen 3:1 “Now the serpent said to the woman…”
    – – – Gen 3:9 “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you?”
    – – – Gen 3:30 “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
    – – – cf. 1Corinthians 11:3, 8; Ephesians 5:23
  • God gave Adam the instructions for living in Eden. Adam was expected to communicate God’s commands to the woman after she was created; he was also held first accountable after she disobeyed. Adam was passive apathetic in leadership (note the “we” of v.2 and that Adam was “with her” in v.6). Later Adam was abusive in leadership when he hides from Eve and then later blames her (Gen 3:8-12) and will be tempted to rule over her in the future (Gen 3:16). Further, as Adam names the animals and is head over them, he names the woman before and after the Fall, as her spiritual head.
  • Adam’s headship is similar to the headship of Jesus Christ. While Adam’s headship brought sin and death, Christ’s headship brings justification and life to all (Romans 5:16-18). As we can see, headship is more than a right, but a responsibility.
  • Men are called to lead spiritually. Husband’s, the greatest way to be the head of your wife is to have Christ the head of your heart and home. If you are not intentionally leading your home toward Christ then it’s likely you’re leading it away from Christ. And, it is often the case your wife is waiting for you to lead in this area.
    – – Pray and read Scripture out loud with and for them. Yes, wives can do this too!
    – – Prioritize Sundays (BTW, that happens Saturday night.)
    – – Preserve your wife’s time by not overscheduling her to others or overlapping your schedule on hers.
    – – Manage finances together but set the tone to give to the Lord. Big relationship problem is $ not handled God’s way.
    – – Wives, if you are waiting for your husband to lead spiritually, win them over with respectful words and a relevant witness for them to see in you.
    1Peter 3:1-2 “be subject to your own husbands so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct”


  • Man created with a relationship to love
    God gifted Adam with a woman to sing (content seems pretty intimate) to and steward (Gen 2:23-24). They were made for each other as a reflection of eternal glories of Christ and Church (1Cor 7:4-5; Eph 5:25-28).Even single or widowed men can follow the pattern of Jesus who lifted women with value and identity equality, and who loves His bride – the church.
  • Men are called to lead romance.
    *Sex is reserved for marriage
    – God doesn’t force relationship with anyone who says no to Him.
    – God doesn’t casually hook up with the church, He covenants.
    Husbands, your romantic needs are met by meeting your wife’s romantic needs.
    Intimacy is cultivated with
    – Exits & Entries: first thing coming home means don’t check out but check in for most important part of your day, not the least and last.
    – Chores: Men can cook and calendar meals. Men can take plate beyond the sink to the dishwasher. Men do the difficult tasks, whether that’s stomping on bugs, opening jars, taking out trash when it’s cold, or the weighty responsibilities. Model the heart of a servant (Php 2:3-8).
    – Sight:
    Men: See your wife. Study and learn about her. Listen so you know what gifts to buy at bday or xmas. See her struggles and learn when to give her time by watching kids and giving her moments of quiet.
    Women: See your husband’s actions and respect him. And stimulate him with sight…

SOS 4:1-7 (Akin, chapter 8; Jeremiah, chapter 7)
Men should love their wife with verbal support
Solomon tells the Shulammite she is “beautiful” 15x in this book; here twice. He calls her
“my love” twice in this passage. He praises her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, tongue, mouth, cheeks, neck, breasts, and says she is “altogether beautiful, there is no flaw in you” (v.7). All of this is conversation, indeed foreplay, before the act of sex. Women creatures of the ear and men must learn to love them with words. Tommy Nelson says, “To a great extent, she thinks and feels [about herself] the way a man leads her to think and feel.”

Women should love their husbands with visual stimulation
As women are creatures of the ear so men are of the eye. Solomon praises the Shulammite by looking at her from head to toe.
– Eyes as doves: purity, peace, tender and gentle. She has been calmed by his kind words.
– Hair like goats: beautiful mountain scene. She lets her hair down to show her beauty and readiness.
– Teeth & lips like flock & scarlet: clean & bright teeth (none are missing!) with a lovely kissable mouth.
– Cheeks like pomengrate: attractive and attentive with desire (pomengrates considered aphrodisiac)
– Neck like tower: she is tall, graceful and confident
– Breasts like fawns & mountains: soft, gentle yet adventurous. Solomon is ready to explore her body.

SOS 4:8-16 Their love is captivating (v.9), companionship (v.10) and clean (v.10-16) – a locked garden (purity)


A husband cherishes his wife when he sacrificially loves her.

Paul lists several actions for the husband to cherish his wife:

  • Love your wife in the pattern of Jesus.
    • “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
      How does Jesus love?
      – Jesus loved sacrificially: he gave up his rights and comfort for the benefit of others.
      – – – A husband’s leadership doesn’t mean he always gets final say or always wins… yet, imagine a relationship where both spouses are submitting to one another with freedom to express and fulfillment in yielding with trust and respect. Every day – especially in conflict – ask, “How can I serve you?”
      “The primary point of marriage is to teach you to wash the feet of another sinner.”[3]
      – – – Yet, a husband’s headship makes him responsible to bear the weight of decision-making and direction of the family.
      – Jesus loved tangibly: healing, miracles, listening, speaking, promising – “love is more than words”
      – Jesus loved radically: pray for and love enemies (Mat 5), love and care strangers (Mat 25; Jn 4)
      – Jesus loved convictionally: He held people to standards and uncompromising in truth (Mk 10:21).
      – – – Where are the husbands who will stand up, speak up, and speak out for women devalued, wives being diminished, babies being aborted, and children getting abused?
    • “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, that she might be holy and without blemish”
      – Marriage is for holiness more than happiness bc it’s more about Christ than ourselves.
      – Interestingly, this language used of Christ’s work is similar to stereotypical actions of wives and servants (cleanse, bathe, launder, feed, nurture). Paul is showing how Jesus transforms our religiosity and our rebellion to become something pure and beautiful. Further, Paul is showing how the marriage relationship is reciprocal to relate in each other’s world in such a way that our life, faith, character, and activity rubs off on each other.
    • “One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, ‘Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!”[4]
    • “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:31-33).


  • Love your wife personally.
    • “husbands love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:28-30
      Apart from God, you are expert on you. But, husbands are also called to be experts on wife.
      – – As a coach knows players strengths and weaknesses.
      – – As an employer knows skills and competencies.

Note: Men – this is the never ending assignment & adventure of marriage!
1Peter 3:7 “husbands, live with your wife in an understanding way, showing honor to the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
– The phrase “weaker vessel” is used to describe a jar or creation that has use & worth.
– A husband’s prayers are hindered if he is not learning, loving and leading properly.

  • Men, many of your prayers are not being answered because you are not honoring the wife and woman before you. Consider men who criticize wife are in actuality reflecting own failure to learn, love and lead.


  • Love your wife profoundly.
    • “a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Eph 5:31-32
      – Husbands love profoundly when they reflect the patience, perseverance, and permanence of Christ.Illus[5]: Rocky movies weren’t great bc of the plot or the punching. The first was a bit superficial & predictable, the boxing was unreal & almost comical. It was the perseverance that encourages us every day to endure hardships to see glory. Don’t give up, God has glory in your grind.


Husband HW

  • Pray for wife daily.
  • Identify positives and thank specifically and generously.
  • Wash her feet… physically & symbolically
    • Communicates: I love you, I’m here for you, I need your help (cf. John 13).



Hollywood romantic comedy movies are always seeking for cute ways for couples to meet:

  • Minor car accident and then exchange phone numbers
  • Spill food or drink in a restaurant…
  • Business people with opposing interestsBut God meets us not in our cute circumstances but our bleakest condition. – Romans 5:8; Ez 16


A cherished marriage speaks breath, life, transformation, and hope. Cherish is God’s strategy for changing us from sinners to saints.[6]


[2] Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship: Genesis 1-3” pp. 95, ff. in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Grudem/Piper).

[3] Elyse Fitzpatrick

[4] Gary and Betsy Ricucci, quote found in Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, p.89.

[5] Inspired from Gary Thomas, Cherish, p.113.

[6] Again Inspired from Gary Thomas, Cherish, 93-96.

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