Colossians 3 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
My pastor preached from this passage last week, inviting his wife up for a portion of the sermon to discuss with him how this has worked out in their marriage. I especially appreciated his introduction of the topic and the way he puts the passage in context. He also gives a good argument for why we can not write off Colossians 3 or Ephesians 5 as Paul simply addressing household codes in his context with little long term application for us in the 21st century. In his introduction, he emphasizes wrong and right ways to approach the concept of gender roles in Scripture.
The Bible is NOT giving us rigid distinctions of chores in marriage.
The Bible is NOT giving us an easy checklist to evaluate “Biblical” marriages.
The Bible is NOT giving us a black and white checklist for work and careers for men and women.
The Bible IS showing us what working out our salvation in our marriages looks like.
The Bible IS emphasizing what union with Christ looks like in marriage.
Fundamentally, the goal of any discussion of marriage in Scripture is UNITY – two becoming one flesh. Most importantly, Paul doesn’t give us commands to extract from the other spouse. Instead, Paul instructs us in the graces to give!
He ends with a discussion containing great wisdom for how to approach this if either spouse is an unbeliever or blatantly disobedient to Scripture. Basically, these instructions in Colossians 3 assume that both wings of the plane are working – perhaps not perfectly, but nevertheless at some level both spouses desiring to pursue unity in Christ. But if one of the spouses has abdicated their role or rejected Christ, it’s a bit like one wing of the plane is damaged. In that case, the pilot has different instructions for crisis situations – more like loving your enemy and showing grace to those undeserving of it.
My summary is incomplete, but those are some of the main ideas on which I was left ruminating. If you’d like to listen to the sermon, I recommend it.