A Real Man Must be a Wife First by Tyler Thayer
January 8, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Thought Initiative | Tags: , ,


by Tyler Thayer

Now before you flip out and question the title of my post, please entertain the idea that though strange there just may be a point.  This post essentially came to mind as I was thinking about the Church. It is absolutely necessary for us to understand not only the role of the local church but the role and meaning of the Church, the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ and it’s implications of the biblical man.

When I was young and in middle school, like any other male at that age, I longed to be seen as a man, and not just a boy who was cute, smart, or nice. I tried to imitate other men that I knew: my dad, my uncles, the men at church or a coach.  And like any other young snapping boy I would not tolerate being called a wuss or a girl.  This was the ultimate insult.  Now take this attitude and put me in the middle of church one Sunday morning when the pastor began to talk about the Bride of Christ.  It goes without saying that I was utterly repulsed by the thought that I was to be the female in the relationship between me and Christ.

Besides me missing the point, I believe many men do not know what it means to be the Bride of Christ, possibly because we lack the understanding of who that is.  In many ways men reject this position of submission to Christ either because we are foolish in our thoughts as I was when I was young, we wish to not be apart of the Church, or in our pride we reject the headship of Christ and do not declare Him Lord.  Though there may be many ways, it all boils down to us not wanting to be the wife.

Perhaps this language makes you uncomfortable; however John, in Revelation, speaks of the Church as the “Bride” and the “wife of the Lamb” many times (so does the prophet of Isaiah and many other biblical writers).  Men, this may be a clever way of titling an article, but we fall under that title just as much as our sisters in Christ do.  A godly man (and possible future husband) must submit to Christ as His Bride first. 

In a liberal nation, we find opposition to scriptures such as Ephesians 5, where Paul might seem to belittle wives (though, this is not the case).  As men, we should look at this passage and see the next level, where we fit into the church as we “submit to Christ.”  Further I assert that if we desire to be true men of God, and if we become the wife of Christ as we submit to Him, we will learn how to lead our wives and sisters in Christ from the Perfected.  Thus the title of this post.

Do you agree?  As men, with all of our testosterone and epic courage, should we put on the mindset of a wife and submit to Christ as such?  If we are first the wife of the Lamb, will we more correctly understand our wives and sisters and be more effective leading them?

Here is what John Owen said in Communion With God

“Scripture shows us that we hold communion with the Lord Jesus in grace by a marriage relationship….So it is the main purpose of the gospel ministry to persuade men to give themselves to the Lord Christ as he reveals his kindness and willingness to be a husband to us….When Christ takes the church to himself, that is the day of his marriage and the church is his bride, his wife (Rev. 19:7)…And the fellowship Christ has with his saints is like that which a loving husband and wife have with each other…In this relationship, there are two things of which we are especially to take note.  We must take note that there is a mutual committal of each to the other in a marriage union, and there is a mutual love for each other arising from this union.”

Is it manly to think this way, or it a misuse of Song of Songs and Ephesians 5 to say a man should pursue this type of relationship with Christ first?

Some references: Song of Songs, Isaiah 54:5;61:10, Hosea 2:19-20 Ephesians 5, Revelation 21;22, 2 Corinthians 11:2. 

6 Comments so far
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Scripture also uses other comparisons to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church, including “friends,” “the body of Christ,” “brothers,” “bondservant” and “slaves.” The common trait of all of these is that Christ is the head, the master, the one with authority. When we try to understand being Jesus’ bride as men of God, it refers not to gender, but to intimacy. Married couples share a bond unmatched by slaves to masters or brothers to the oldest brother. You also cannot have emotional and spiritual intimacy with your own body.

Christ is our husband because He protects us, leads us, loves us as Himself, provides for us, teaches us and lets us confide in Him. No other comparison can match this one, and when you look at Christ, how could it be any other way?

Comment by David Wells

I’d also like to lay down the conception of “manly.” I don’t care once, nap of my finger (as Spurgeon would say), of man points, the manliest man competition or the eight cultural motivations of a man. I care about having godly motivations, and if this comparison can help me behold Christ better, understand how women relate to men and glorify Him more, than it is godly to first become the Bride.

Comment by David Wells

I think some would argue that a true man would adapt traits other than that of a wife. The world probably sees it more rational for men to be bold, dashing, brash and courageous. Even Christian authors like John Eldredge adopt the legendary man archetype. Where masculinity is defined by adventure, rowdiness, risk, and a need for battle.

With those arguments, how is a Christian male to respond? Yes, boys love adventure, rowdiness and risk, but is that what should be first on the list of things to accomplish in order to be a man? Then again, perhaps these traits are prerequisites to becoming the biblical man?

On another note, I think you have a good point David. I think godly motivations are the key, i.e. a changed heart, a heart of flesh.

Comment by Tyler Thayer

Wonderful post! I have been mediating on this topic for the last few weeks and find it very helpful to grasp this reality. We are married to Christ and we are called to love him, just as he freely loves us continually. He is perfect, but we are imperfect and this understanding gives us confidence our Lord will not leave us or treat us harshly. Just as men are called to love their wives unconditionally, Jesus Christ loves us because he has redeemed us and purified us!

Thanks for this post!

Comment by Zack Migioia

I’m so thankful that someone has finally boldly brought this aspect of our relationship with Christ to the surface! Primarily through my readings of The Godly Man’s Picture (Thomas Watson), God has given me new eyes this past year to how passionately Jesus Christ loves me and the kind of truly deep intimate relationship He desires to have with me personally. It has revealed 2 main things to me. I first realized that Jesus Christ is the perfect husband. Not only does this sweep me off my feet personally as I observe Christ’s deep affections for me and desire to have a relationship with me more real and transparent than I could ever have between any christian, but also it is so wonderful to know that I will always have a perfect example to aspire to be like as I strive to grow into a godly husband (Lord willing) for my future bride. The second thing God made me freshly aware of is, in light of this covenant I have now entered into with Christ, the adultery that I commit against my precious Bridegroom. Whenever we endulge in sin to any degree, we are casting our affections that belong to Jesus and Him alone to that which he detests, that which does not bring him glory. This, to me, is very sobering and brings forth a fressh motivation to forsake my sin and, with the heart of a wife who is overwhelmed with affection for her lover, seek to honor my glorious husband who, in spite of being cheated on daily, perfectly remains faithful to me. What a spectacular and wildly gracious God we serve!

Comment by Shawn Irwin

Oh, and I meant to say thank you Tyler for writing this fantastic post!

Comment by Shawn Irwin

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