Ephesians 5:25 Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Just how much giving of himself is a husband to do? He is to do it “even as” Christ loved and gave himself for the church. Strong’s #2531 says this is
just (or inasmuch) as, that:—according to, (according, even) as, how, when.So husbands are to love and give themselves for their wives “just as,” “according to," “according as,” “even as,” “how,” “inasmuch as,” Christ loved and gave himself for the church. Notice that the passage does not say a husband is to be an authority over his wife as Christ was and is over the church. That side of Christ’s job description is not mentioned at all in relation of husbands to wives. Instead loving and giving are the focus. Those are the specific ways that husbands are to be toward their wives.
Now that we know that husbands are to love and give themselves up like Jesus did, what does it mean to give oneself up? According to Strong’s # 3860, give, "paradidomi," means
to surrender, i.e. yield up, intrust, transmit:—betray, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up) hazard, put in prison, recommend.So a husband is to surrender himself, yield up himself, intrust himself to his wife, transmit himself (I get the idea of transmitting himself into the power of another like Saul transmitted Christians to the government and to prison and death—namely he is to transmit himself to his wife), betray himself, bring forth himself, cast himself, commit himself, deliver up himself, give over or give up himself, put himself in prison, put himself in hazard, recommend himself (as giving himself over.)
I fail to see any authority in this whatsoever, except the authority he has over himself, with which he gives himself up for his wife.
This surrendering to the point of betraying, imprisoning and putting himself in hazard, is beyond submission. This is more like submitting “no matter what,” like submitting even to the betraying of himself, the imprisoning of himself, and to putting himself in a hazardous position.
This surrender and committing of self has nothing to do with demanding submission from his wife, or with demanding submission from all wives to their husbands in general, or even in teaching wifely submission. It is beyond selflessness toward his wife.
It is literally laying down his life for his wife. It brings to mind Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” It is literally when husband and wife disagree, the husband is to choose his wife’s preference instead of his own. He is to lay down what is in his own best interests and instead do and aim for what will benefit his wife.
Even if the complementarians are right, and a husband’s position of “head” gives him the right to make the final decision, scripture commands that he give up his will and his way in favor of his wife’s will, way, and intuition, and in favor of her benefit. This is the position most complementarians, along with men of the world, would consider as wimpy or passive.
But the Bible considers this kind of behavior as active. It is active love and consideration of another above one’s own self. It is a love so deep it cares for the other more than it cares for oneself. It is what makes a boy a man.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com