For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything…
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
–Ephesians 5:23-24, 28-33
The head has one kind of glory, and the body another.
The head has a glory of authority, the body a glory of subjection.
Now, it’s easy to see the glory of authority, isn’t it? But what about the glory of subjection? We have trouble seeing that glory.
The head commands the body (the glory of authority).
The body obeys the head’s commands (the glory of subjection).
How is this “glory of subjection” glory? It is glory because the body moves to the head’s commands, and all is graceful, smooth, and orderly, as God designed it.
Suppose the body decides that this glory of subjection is demeaning and is not content with a different kind of glory than the head has — the body will be content only to have the same kind of glory as the head. The body will no longer take commands from the head, but will command itself.
What would we call this, when the body is doing things independent of and apart from the head? Friends, this is epileptic seizures.
Suppose the body instead commands the head. What would this be? Tics.
Or suppose the head is embarrassed at the glory of authority that it’s been given, and it decides not to give commands to the body, but to be in subjection in the same way the body is. What would we call this?
What do these states have in common? When we see these, we know at a visceral level that something is disturbingly wrong.
Brothers and sisters, not just the world, but the church is filled with one-flesh unions characterized by seizures, tics, and coma.
Certainly a head that commands the body to do foolish things, or things that do not benefit the body, or wrong things, is a foolish head that needs to repent. But the body must follow the head, and the head must command. Any other arrangement presents to our children, to the church, and to the world a disturbingly wrong picture of our Head, who has made us His body.
O sisters, How can you say you glory in subjecting yourselves to your Head whom you have not seen if you won’t subject yourselves to your head whom you have seen?
O brothers, how can we be ashamed of the authority we’ve been given — as if it’s wrong for our Lord (who we’re a faint picture of) to command us?
God’s ways are not only right, but beautiful. Let’s then be in joyful subjection to our Head and order our marriages His way — demonstrating both kinds of glory in their appropriate places, following His good design — to His glory!