It seems to me that the consistent caricature of both Puritan family life, and the family life of most complimentarians, is less than gracious. Often, it’s portrayed as a dark place for anyone who happened to be born a woman. I pray and believe that families like those at Basswood Church are tearing down those types of stereotypes with both husbands who love like Christ, and wives who joyfully submit as the Church.
In our Friday Morning gatherings for coffee and theology, we recently have been reading John Bunyan (1628-1688) on Family Duty. You can get the article here. This past Friday we were all taken by this quote, and hope it serves to challenge the men of Basswood to more Christlike love.
You should carry yourself to and before her, as does Christ to and before his church; as says the apostle: So should men love their wives, ‘even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it’ (Eph 5:25). When husbands behave themselves like husbands indeed, then will they be not only husbands, but such an ordinance of God to the wife, as will preach to her the carriage of Christ to his spouse. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in the relations of husbands and wives, that believe (Eph 4:32); the wife, I say, signifying the church, and the husband the head and savior thereof, ‘For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church’ (Eph 5:23) and he is the Savior of the body.
This is one of God’s chief ends in instituting marriage, that Christ and his church, under a figure, might be wherever there is a couple that believe through grace. Therefore that husband that carries himself indiscreetly towards his wife, he does not only behave himself contrary to the rule, but also makes his wife lose the benefit of such an ordinance, and crosses the mystery of his relation.
Therefore, I say, ‘So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:’ (Eph 5:8, 29). Christ laid out his life for his church, covers her infirmities, communicates to her his wisdom, protects her, and helps her in her employments in this world; and so should men do for their wives. Solomon and Pharaoh’s daughter had the art of thus doing, as you may see in the book of The Song of Solomon. Therefore bear with their weaknesses, help their infirmities, and honor them as the weaker vessels, and as being of a frailer constitution (1 Peter 3:7).
In a word, be such a husband to your believing wife, that she may say, God has not only given me a husband, but such a husband as preaches to me everyday the behavior of Christ to his church.