“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. ~ Isaiah 43:10
For many years, I thought my husband-to-be would present himself to me with these simple words – “I am he.” That he would be so secure in the knowledge of who is to me that he would declare that portion of his identity with his first words.
That was my thought pattern before I began studying the Bible. Now that I’ve spent quality time continually searching out God in His Word, have been wooed by His promises and won over by His performance in my life I am the most satisfied of blushing brides! A decade ago, when I was declaring to my friends that my husband will know immediately who he is and his sure knowledge would enrapture me, I was thinking of a flesh and blood man.
I’ve come to realize that no man can live up the ideal husband that’s been given to me as a vision… as a heart longing. No man living in the flesh can be all that God has called him to become.
Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. ~ Isaiah 43:10-11
Popular culture will have women believe that a modern version of Prince Charming (business executive, entertainment mogul, superstar athlete) will come charging into their life (driving some expensive vehicle) and take away all her cares (personal/mental issues, bills, debt, general ignorance). Women subsist long enough to get caught or to catch a mate.
Have you thought of the flip side, though — the men waiting for their Beautiful Princess to appear and take their breath away? These men may not be waiting for their ideal woman to provide for them financially, but they too are looking to be redeemed – emotionally, spiritually… from themselves.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. ~ Isaiah 43:12-13
There are many forms of idolatry. One very common, insidious form is promoting a spouse (mate or companion) above God. Basically, expecting from another person what God has promised to provide; going to another person and putting them in the role of God – is creating an idol. They are your everything… the air you breathe… your reason for being… your purpose of life…. Think about it – you’ve probably applied these words to someone in your life… more than once.
Before getting to that point, what are either doing while they are waiting? If they are not getting to know the nature of God in their singleness, they are essentially wasting their time. It is only through seeking God, learning His ways, accepting His spirit, and reflecting Christ in your life that you yourself can become the ideal spouse. When the temple of your body houses the Spirit of God, your life will be continually cleansed of contaminating and detrimental elements. When your mind becomes more and more Christ-like, your thoughts will be continually purified, which will lead to honest words and actions of integrity. These combined processes build your character.
This may sound shocking or unrealistic to some, but I’ve come to understand that my ideal husband is Jesus Christ himself. As amazing as that may sound, it is possible. Ephesians 5 provides detailed instructions to husbands and wives on how to be the ideal spouse. One often overlooked instruction is: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
For women seeking to become a wife: Stop looking for salvation outside of Christ. Your help comes from above; provision is from God. No man will ever be everything you need, but you can be everything you are called to be in your marriage by following these instructions: Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Please note, Ladies, there is an implicit condition here: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…. Now as the church submits to Christ…. You are expected to submit to a husband who is submitted to the Lord. (For further instructions for working with difficult, un-submitted husbands, see 1 Peter 3.)
For men seeking to become a husband: Stop trying to live and exist on your own power (aka: pride). The foundation and the strength of your marriage will not come from your income, net worth, education, or material possessions. You can’t outdo God. You can’t out-perform, out-provide, or out-live Him. But you can represent Him; you can take on the mantle of His character and nature. You can honor Him with your life, your household and the work of your hands. You can be everything you are called to be in your marriage by following these instructions: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:25-30)
The instructions for husbands are far more detailed than for wives, and note: there is no condition – only an example. Love as Christ. To love her with a sacrificial love – in other words, he is to die to himself to become the husband he is called to be. Essentially, the husband is instructed to minister to his wife. He is to cleanse her with God’s Word. Continually. In order to do this thoroughly, he has to have a relationship with Christ. He has to know and understand Christ’s purpose, obedience and sacrifice. And he has to understand God’s love for Christ and mankind.
I no longer expect my husband-to-be to greet me with the proclamation, “I am he.” But I hope that the indwelling Holy Spirit and my dependence on God’s Word have prepared me enough to confidently proclaim to him, “I am she. Not the one who saves or provides, but the one who will be united to you and share your life.”
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:31-33
No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” ~ Isaiah 43:13