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How do I do both?

Submitted: 8/25/2008
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Question: I read in Ephesians where Paul says to love your wife even as Christ loved the church. Then in 1 Corinthians Paul also says that those who have wives should be as though they had none. How does one do this? I know that Corinthians was written first. Did Paul have a change of thought?

Answer: The fact that both of these instructions are in the Bible is all the proof we need to know that both are simultaneously possible (Paul did not have a change of thought). In the first case, a man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, that is, he is to love her sacrificially. This does not mean he must do everything she says or take responsibility for her happiness (we are each responsible for our own happiness). In the second case, a man is not to allow the demands of his wife to prevent him from serving God with all of his heart and soul.

To sum it up: men are to love, nourish, and cherish their wives, but they are not to let their wives control them. The desires of a wife come second to the purpose of God. This can obviously create some tension at times, which his why Paul also says that those who marry 'will have trouble in the flesh' (1 Corinthians 7:28). We all need a lot of grace to make our marriages work.