Nourish and Cherish

Just as Jesus is our Master and Lord, so a husband is master and lord of his wife (Ep 5:22-24, I Pe 3:1, 6). Sometimes I don't think we consider what that means. We recognize the headship of Jesus. We even accept the authority an employer has over his employees. We understand the authority and power of kings and others in high positions. But when it comes to our husband, we women tend to focus more on the fact that he is to love us and to cherish and nourish us (Ep. 5:29).

We might want to look at that word "nourish." The word is ektrephō, and means "to nurture or bring up." Our husband has the right and duty to guide, train, and teach us, and to nurture us, as the very word itself means. It's not always easy to accept nurturing from our husband. We think we are mature women (godly and spiritually minded) and we have long since passed the need of nurturing. Yet we see that we must accept our husband's nurturing.

Our husband is our lord. We need to have the proper attitude about his authority over us. We need to obey and submit our will to him and subject ourselves to him voluntarily and out of love so that he can give an account with joy and not with grief for how he ruled us and our household (I Ti 3:4-5). We shouldn't have the attitude that we are grown women and don't need anyone to train or guide or rule us.

We might consider not only how we react toward our husband's rule but also how we might, without realizing it, treat our husband as if we have some sort of control over him. For instance, if we tell our husband to do something instead of asking him, question him as a mother might question a child about where he's been, or tell him he's wrong about something, we might be stepping out of our bounds. Imagine how we would feel if our child said to us, "Mom, go get me a Kleenex," or "You're wrong about that, Mom; here's how it is," or "Where have you been all day, Mom? I've been calling you and you didn't answer. Keep your cell phone on so I can reach you."

Yes, we are one with our husband, but he still is our lord and master and he rules over us, with God's approval (Ge 2:16). We should give him at least, and I'm being sarcastic, the respect we would give to our boss at work. I doubt any of us tell our boss to get us a Kleenex or ask him where he's been all day.

Granted, we have a deeper and more intimate relationship with our husband than we do our boss, but how we relate to our husband and his authority involves our attitude and tone of voice as well as our overt and covert actions. And I think we sometimes need a gentle reminder that we are to submit to our husband as to the Lord.

Ep 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church . . .
24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

If we wouldn't think of telling Christ what to do or questioning Him about His actions, if we wouldn't consider telling him no or making Him wait when He calls us, if we wouldn't dare think that we are grown women and don't need Him telling us what to do, then we shouldn't act (or even feel) that way toward our husband either.

If we women will surrender our will to our husband's and seek to be the helper (Ge 2:18) we should be to him, we most likely won't have to worry about how he treats us. Our husband will reach down, pick us up in his strong and tender arms, and put us up on that pedestal where we want to be. We don't need to try to climb it ourselves.

I explained what "nourish" means. Do you know what "cherish" means? The word is thalpō and means to "keep warm" or "foster with tender care." If we will accept our husband's nourishment with grace and humility, and even appreciation, he will automatically cherish us. And what joy, what jubilation, what delight and elation, when our husband, the man whose praise and adoration we want most, glories in us as we glory in our children!

God's ways are best. And what is more, they work to give us exactly what we want and need as women. And more importantly, they make us the helper our husband wants and needs. Praise God for His magnificent and awesome wisdom!

Christina Elizabeth Dozier
August 7, 2008