Reverence in Marriage (Part 1)

June 1, 2011 at 10:33 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 10 Comments
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Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 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: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:25-33, emphasis added

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

“Reverence” in Ephesians 5:33 is translated from the Greek word “phobos,” meaning “fear.” It might sound contradictory to you as a wife if I tell you that the Bible commands you to both love and fear your husband. However, fear does not cancel out “agape” love, which was described in a previous lesson. Think of it in terms of how you love God. We are commanded to love God and to draw close to Him. Drawing closer to God always brings greater love and fear.

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:34-40

The Pharisees had a theory that if they could know which commandment was the greatest, then they could keep that one and be right with God, and thereby earn eternal salvation. Jesus tells them that “agape” is the greatest commandment. Think about why this is. For one thing, it is impossible to sin while exercising true “agape.” “Agape” seeks to show kindness and to move the other person to righteousness.

When I John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear, the Bible is not contradicting itself. The fear that is being cast out by perfect love is the fear of no longer being right with the person who truly loves you. When I love my spouse perfectly, then my spouse’s insecurity about her “standing” with me is cast out. In other words, perfect love casts out fear of loss of the relationship.

This will be further developed in Part 2.


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  1. I can only speak for myself, as a wife, and as a Christian.

    It is because I love the Lord that I can love my husband regardless of what he has done. It because the Lord first loved me, enough to die for my wretchedness, that I am in turn able to express that love to others. The Lord placed that love in my heart. It was nothing that I was able to do on my own.

    I do not “fear” God or my husband in the sense that the world thinks of the word “fear”. I “fear” being disobedient to God because I am grateful for saving me. It is out of reverence or respect that I want to obey Him.

    I “fear” not loving, caring, honoring my husband because I would be disobedient to the Lord by not doing so.

    “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
    Titus 2:4-5

    I “fear” not honoring my wedding vows, and being able to reconcile my marriage because I know that marriage, according to God,is a covenant bond. It is not a contract that you can simply walk away from.

    “Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth,against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” (Malachi 2:14)

    I “fear” God and my husband in the breakdown of my marriage because I made a vow on my wedding day to God AND my husband.

    “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the Lord your God will surely require it of you. However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.” (Deuteronomy 23:21-23)

    “When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? ” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6)

    The more I love God, the more grateful and thankful I am for everything that He has done for me. The more I love God, the more I love my husband, even if He doesn’t love me in return. The more I love God, the more important my obedience to Him becomes…and that means loving the unlovable, standing for my covenant marriage, raising Godly children, and walking by Faith knowing that God is in charge.

    Reverence IN marriage becomes easy when there is reverence FOR the marriage. When husbands and wives understand that their marriages are a direct reflection of thier relationship with the Lord, it makes it impossible to say “I am a born again Christian” and not reverence the Lord in the marriage. God’s will for marriages are that they Glorify Him, and produce Godly children.

  2. Thanks for your comment, faith.

  3. I thought it was saying that if I could reach the place where I walked in perfect love toward other people I would no longer experience fear in my own life. I couldna t even love them imperfectly let alone perfectly!….I had a lot of fear in my lifea fear that manifested as insecurity and mental torment of every kind.

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