"It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her." (Deuteronomy 21:14)Husbands, our wives do not cease to be a person when they marry us. Even in marriage, our wives maintain their own unique and special identity, personage, and, most importantly, their individual relationship with God. Some husbands treat their wives as if all their interaction with the "outside" world is to be "funneled" and "filtered" through their husband. This includes their external relationships, their beliefs and opinions, and their aspirations, goals, and desires. They act as if there is only one person in the marriage; themselves. In doing so, they ignore the fact that their wives are, as they themselves are, a unique and special creation of God. "The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man." (Genesis 2:22) Eve was created by God, not Adam, and while she was to be Adam's helpmate, her new relationship with Adam would never erase her identity or individuality that was hers through her creation by God. Paul further reminds us of our wives individual relationship with God when he encourages husbands to, "live with your wives in an understanding way... and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7)
Our wives are not our property, nor do we own them, rather they are our companions, our partners, our "fellow heirs" of the grace and blessings of God. "She is your companion and your wife by covenant." (Malachi 2:14) In the Song of Solomon, Solomon describes his beloved in this way. "How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all kinds of spices!" (Song of Solomon 4:10) He describes her as both his sister and his bride. While she is his bride by marriage, she is still his sister, retaining her own identity and personage. This is especially true in the Lord. Our wives are our brides by marriage but our sisters in the Lord though His redemption. Our wives belong to God more than they belong to us. They are first His daughter, His bride, His beloved ever before they are ours. We should count it an indescribable privilege and blessing that He should share His daughter with us. Our wives are not our possessions, they are individuals, loaned to us by God, that we might be companions in love, one to another.
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