Ephesians 5:28-33

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 13, 2006


I found a story that I think paints a picture of a good marriage.


The little old couple walked slowly into McDonald’s that cold winter evening. They looked out of place amid the young families and young couples eating there that night. Some of the customers looked admiringly at them. You could tell what the admirers were thinking: “Look, there is a couple who has been through a lot together, probably for 60 years or more!” The little old man walked right up to the cash register, placed his order with no hesitation and then paid for their meal. The couple took a table near the back wall and started taking food off of the tray. There was one hamburger, one order of French fries and one drink. The little old man unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half. He placed one half in front of his wife. Then he carefully counted out the French fries, divided them in two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife. He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them. As the man began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the crowd began to get restless. Again you could tell what they were thinking: “That poor old couple. All they can afford is one meal for the two of them.” As the man began to eat his French fries one young man stood and came over to the old couple’s table. He politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple to eat. The old man replied that they were just fine. They were used to sharing everything. Then the crowd noticed that the little old lady hadn’t eaten a bite. She just sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink. Again the young man came over and begged them to let him buy them something to eat. The man again explained that no, they were used to sharing everything together. As the little old man finished eating and was wiping his face neatly with a napkin, the young man could stand it no longer. Again he came over to their table and offered to buy some food. After being politely refused again, he finally asked a question of the little old lady: “Ma’am, why aren’t you eating? You said that you share everything. What is it that you are waiting for?” She answered, “The teeth.”

I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere.  I think a good marriage is about being so close that you share just about everything.  It’s almost like you’re a part of each other…

:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

oughtopheilo to owe; the word speaks of personal obligation rather than death or life necessity.

You won’t die if you don’t love your wife like this, but this is what ought to be done. This is what is proper. This is what YOU need to do for yourself.

Paul has already told us that Christ is the head of the church:

(Eph 5:23 NKJV) For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

He wasn’t just talking about Christ as the “head” in the sense of being in charge, he was talking about the head as in the head that sits on top of the body.
And as Christ is a head with His body the church, the husband is a head with his wife as the body.
How many of you men have eaten in the last twenty-four hours?  Was it difficult to make yourself eat?  How many of you took a shower or a bath in the last twenty-four hours?  We’re awfully glad you did.
A man needs to see that taking care of his wife is just as obvious as taking care of his own body.

:29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

We nourish and cherish our own bodies, we all ought to nourish and cherish each other.



nourishesektrepho to nurture to maturity; support; feed; to fatten
Nourish = meet needs
Men and women are different. They aren’t like each other. This confuses men because we think that women are like us, but they aren’t.  We think we know what the other person needs, but we don’t always have it correct.
A concerned husband went to a doctor to talk about his wife. He says to the doctor, “Doctor, I think my wife is deaf because she never hears me the first time and always asks me to repeat things.” “Well,” the doctor replied, “go home and tonight stand about 15 feet from her and say something to her. If she doesn’t reply move about 5 feet close and say it again. Keep doing this so that we’ll get an idea about the severity of her deafness”. Sure enough, the husband goes home and does exactly as instructed. He starts off about 15 feet from his wife in the kitchen as she is chopping some vegetables and says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” He hears no response. He moves about 5 feet closer and asks again. No reply. He moves 5 feet closer. Still no reply. He gets fed up and moves right behind her, about an inch away, and asks again, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” She replies, “For the fourth time, vegetable stew!”
Sometimes a woman simply needs to be listened to. 
A gal comes home from work and is going on and on about the problems she had during the day.  The man thinks, “I’m going to drive right down there and smack that boss in the mouth!”  Or he says, “Then why don’t you quit?”  He’s trying to fix her problem, but maybe all she wants and needs is someone to listen to her.
Do you know what your spouse needs? If I asked you and your spouse to write down each other’s top ten needs, how accurate would your list be?  Would you even know where to start?  Why not just ask her?
Prayer – I have been finding that an excellent way to meet my wife’s comes when I pray for her.  Prayer is like going shopping at God’s grocery store.  I am learning that God is faithful to answer prayer.  I’m trying to learn just what to pray for – the best things from God’s shelves at His grocery store, the things my wife really needs.



cherishesthalpo to keep warm; to cherish with tender love
One of the great dangers in marriage is letting the fire go out.
Our society tells us that if the fire goes out, it’s time to dump your spouse and get a new one.
God tells us to simply relight the fire.  And maybe fan the flames a bit.
There are a great many lessons we can learn regarding marriage when we learn to look at the relationship between Jesus and His church and learn to apply those same principles into our marriages. One such lesson is how to get that “first love” back.
(Rev 2:4-5 NKJV) "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. {5} "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent.
Jesus is writing to His bride, the church.  The church has “left” it’s first love.  Jesus tells the church to do three things:
1)  Remember

Every relationship will go through it’s ups and downs.  It is a natural thing for the passion to die down.  But you don’t have to settle for a cold relationship.  Remember what it was like when it was hot.  You need to have in your mind the direction you want to go – you want to go towards passion.

2)  Repent

Repent means to “turn around”.  It means that you recognize that you’re going the wrong direction and you make a u-turn.

Is there something in your life that is taking you away from each other?  Is there something that is drawing your heart away from your spouse?  Turn around.

You may be putting too much time into work.  You may be too interested in another person.  You may be more interested in your entertainment than in meeting your spouse’ needs.  Repent.  Turn around.

3) Re-do

Do the first works.  Do the kinds of things you uses to do when the passion was there.

We sometimes think this is hypocritical – we think, “How can I write her a love not or send her flowers when I don’t feel passionate about her?”

We need to do those “first works” in order to bring the passion back.  We do it by faith.  We do it because it’s an investment in our marriage.

Do the extra things.  Open doors for her.  Compliment her.  Help her around the house.  Give her a back rub.  Write her a love note. Take her out to dinner, just the two of you.

Marriage requires work.  And if you put in the effort, you will see the payoff.

J. Allen Petersen said, “I do not know whether or not your marriage was made in heaven, but I do know that all the maintenance work is done on earth.”

:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

He is the head, we are the body.

:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Paul is quoting one of the most quoted passages of the Bible, from the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2.  There are two lessons here:



When God speaks of a man leaving his father and mother, He’s talking about leaving those relationships that are closest and deepest.
This doesn’t mean that we stop talking to our parents or other people we are close to.
The point is that your marriage should be the most important relationship in your life.
The “treasure” principle states:
(Mat 6:21 NKJV) "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I often think of this in terms of finances. The more you invest in something, the more attached your heart becomes. When someone invests a lot of money in a car, it’s not surprising that the thing takes a top priority in a person’s life. You could probably gain an insight into what it important in your life by just analyzing your bank statement. Where is your treasure being spent? How much of my “treasure” am I spending for my own pleasure? How much is being spent on the things of God?
But there is also a sense in which a person invests “treasure” by the things they share from their heart.

(Mat 12:35 NKJV) "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Here’s my point – husbands and wives, be careful about who you are sharing your “treasure” with.

It’s not uncommon for a husband or wife to spend more time with their co-workers than with their spouse. It’s not hard for a friendship to develop among co-workers. But be careful about sharing your “treasure” with a co-worker of the opposite sex. Maybe you’ve had a hard week and your spouse hasn’t been too sympathetic. Don’t be complaining to your co-worker about it, it only invests your “treasure” with them, and it will lead to your heart being drawn to them.  Leave.


Cleaving - joining

be joinedproskollao glue to; to join one’s self to closely, cleave to
Being “one flesh” certainly involves the act of sex, but it’s way more than sex.
The connection between a head and body is bigger than a sexual connection, it’s a connection that keeps the head and body alive.
I wonder if we really understand just how close marriage is supposed to make a husband and wife.
I think that a husband and wife are supposed to need and depend upon each other so much that if you were separated you’d die.
I think that for some of us, we’re afraid to get too close.  We’re afraid we’re going to be hurt.  We’re not sure it’s safe to let someone get so close.  And so we hold back.  We keep up the walls.  We wear the masks.
I think one of God’s goals for marriage is found in the description of the first marriage:
(Gen 2:25 NKJV)  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

My point is not about nudity.  My point is about openness.  Can you truly be yourself with your spouse or do you have to “cover up”?  Openness leads to a closer union.

Perhaps we need to learn grace – we need to learn how to unconditionally love and accept each other, even with all our flaws.

This is how Jesus loves us.

(Eph 4:32 NKJV)  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving (literally, “gracing”) one another, just as God in Christ forgave (literally, “graced”) you.

If you would learn to be gracious to your spouse, perhaps they might learn to be gracious to you.

:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Paul again summarizes his two charges for marriage – husbands love their wives, wives respect their husbands.

:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

We often think of this quote from Genesis as purely about marriage, but Paul brings it to our attention that it applies to the relationship between Jesus and His church as well.

He wants to nourish and cherish us.

We need to “leave” our old life and “cleave” to Him.

He wants us to have a close, intimate relationship with Him.

Isn’t it interesting where Jesus chose to perform His first miracle? His first miracle was performed at a wedding, where He turned something ordinary like water into something special like wine.

It starts when you open your heart to Jesus…The Gospel.