The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:33 ~ The Mutual Responsibility of the Right Man and Right Woman in Marriage

Vol. 16 No 34 – August 20, 2017

eph 5 vs 33

Vs. 33

Eph 5:33, “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

We begin the final verse of our chapter and the conclusion of the discourse on Divine Institution #2; marriage between a right man and a right woman. This verse gives us a brief summation and reminder of the main principles of this discourse.

It begins with “nevertheless,” which is the adversative Particle Adverb PLEN, πλήν that can mean, “however, except, only, unless, but, etc.” It marks a contrast to what has been mentioned and draws one’s attention to what is essential. In general, PLEN adds a thought to what has been previously stated. Paul has been discussing the mystery doctrine of Christ and the Church as one, with the backdrop of marriage between the right man and right woman, and now Paul gets back to the backdrop of the marriage relationship between one man and one woman.

Next, we have a Greek idiom, “each individual among you,” which is made up of HUMEIS, “you;” HO, “the;” KATA, “according to;” HIES, “one or someone;” HEKASTOS, “each or every.” It is referring to husbands, as Paul is addressing each and every husband individually with this phrase, as opposed to the plural address previously. In other words, he is getting up close and personal, or as we could say, “he is getting in their face,” as a drill Sergeant would do to a Private to make sure he understands the command being given.

This phrase is joined with the Conjunction KAI, “and, even, or also,” to complete the thought of contrasting (PLEN) and comparing (KAI) at the same time.

Then we have the phrase, “is to love his own wife,” made up of the Article HO, “the,” the Personal Pronoun HEAUTO, “his or his own,” GUNE, “wife,” the Adverb HOUTOS, “in this manner, in this way, so, just as, etc.,” and the Verb AGAPAO in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, impersonal and unconditional “love.” Literally it reads, “The his wife in this manner love.”

So, we have the command for the husband to love his wife; his right woman. The Customary Present tense is what he should be habitually doing. The Active voice, the husband performs the action of loving his wife, and the Imperative mood is a command from God for husbands to impersonally and unconditionally self-sacrificially love their wives, just as commanded in vs. 25, and reiterated in vs. 28.

Then we have the repetition of the way in which he is to love her from vs. 28, “even as himself,” HOS HEAUTOU. This also reminds us of, “the two becoming one flesh,” of vs. 31. Therefore, husbands are to keep on loving their own wives as their very own self, vs. 25, 28, 29.

Then in the second half of this verse, we have the command for the wife, “and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” It is made up from the Greek connective Conjunction DE, “but, now, moreover, etc.,” the Article HO, “the,” the Nominative Singular of GUNE, “wife,” the Conjunction HINA, “that,” the Present, Middle Deponent, Subjunctive of PHOBEO, “fear, reverence, respect, etc.,” the Article HO, “the,” and the Accusative Singular of ANER, “husband.”

PHOBEO is a rare type of Subjunctive mood in this HINA clause, because it has the force of a command like the Imperative mood. It also indicates volitional responsibility based on positive volition and application of Bible Doctrine resident within the soul. Therefore, it parallels the command given to husbands.

The Verb PHOBEO used here for the wives’ mandate is a different word than what was used in vs. 22, which was HUPOTASSO, “to subject to, put in submission to, to be or make subject, or to submit oneself.” In vs. 22, she is commanded to submit to the authority of her husband. In vs. 33, she is command to respect the authority of her husband.

In addition, in vs. 33, we have the Verb form of the Noun given in vs. 21, in the opening general precept for all believers, PHOBOS that also means, “fear, reverence, or respect.” In vs. 21, it is a general command for all believers to be subject to one another out of respect and reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ. All believers are “to be subject to, (HUPOTASSO), one another.” So, we see that the wife is to be “subject to” her husband, with “reverence and respect” for the authority God has given the husband over the wife.

In vs. 22, “wives are to be subject to, (HUPOTASSO), their husbands, as to the Lord.”

In vs. 24, “wives are to be subject to, (HUPOTASSO), their husbands, in everything.”

In vs. 33, “wives are to respect, (PHOBEO), their husbands.”

In vs. 21, PHOBOS is the motivation.

In vs. 33, PHOBEO is commanded.

Therefore, in vs. 33, the husband is commanded to AGAPE love his wife, using the Imperative Mood for AGAPAO, and the wife is commanded to respect her husband, by being submissive to him, using the Imperatival HINA clause in the Subjunctive Mood.

As the Rev. Handley C. G. Moule puts it, “She is called to an allegiance to her partner which is nothing if not free, with the freedom of regenerate reason. She is asked to recognize spiritual facts and to assent to them as a spiritual being, fully in Christ.” (Ephesian Studies: Expository Readings on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.)

The analogy is, Christ loves the Church self-sacrificially, and the Church’s love for Christ is expressed in submission and obedience. The same goes for the husband as he loves his wife self-sacrificially, and the wife’s love for the husband is expressed through her submission and obedience to his Divinely decreed authority in the marriage, vs. 23. Note that this time husbands come first and then the wives.

Therefore, the entire passage concludes by again reminding us of the total emphasis throughout that husbands should love their wives and wives should obey and respect their husbands. As such, the husband and the wife in the home are to set forth in simplicity the mystery of the coming glory.

“In conclusion, the first part of the household code has been concerned with the responsibility of wives and husbands. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, and the husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Much more space is devoted to the husbands’ responsibility than to the wives’. Marriage is the union of two individuals into one flesh (Gen 2:24), which should produce a loving harmonious relationship. Believers’ marital harmony is not to be dependent on their own ingenuity but rather should be motivated by obedience to God and by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The successful development of this relationship requires Spirit-filled partners who are truly concerned for each other and who have a real desire to see God work in their lives. The primary goal of marriage is not to please oneself but to see God’s purposes work in and through each partner individually and corporately. Noteworthy is the fact that the illustration of the union of Christ and His church is used only for husband and wife. This indicates that their relationship holds a uniqueness not shared by the relationships discussed next, which follow in Chapter 6.” (Harold W. Hoehner, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary.)

Three Divine Laws of Love in Marriage

  • The first Divine rule for marriage is the responsibility of the woman, Eph 5:22, 24, 33.

Col 3:18, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

  • The Second Divine rule for marriage is the responsibility of the man.

Col 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.”

  • The Third Divine rule in marriage is the mutual responsibility of both the husband and the wife.

This mutual responsibility has to be consistent by both parties. The man is commanded to have virtue love. The woman is commanded to respond to a man of virtue. Now watch this closely, the ultimate in marriage is for the husband to so fulfill the 1st Divine law, so that the woman responds with respect under the 2nd Divine law.

Conclusion to vs. 22-33, The Three Divine Laws of Love in Marriage.

  • The first Divine rule for marriage is the responsibility of the woman in Eph 5:22, 24, 33, to be subject to and respect her husband through submissive authority orientation. Authority Orientation is one of the 11 Problem Solving Devices.
  1. Rebound, the Confession of sins, John 1:9.
  2. Filling of the Holy Spirit
  3. Doctrinal Orientation
  4. Faith Rest Drill
  5. Grace Orientation
  6. Authority Orientation
  7. Personal Sense of Destiny
  8. Personal Love for God the Father
  9. Impersonal Unconditional Love for Mankind
  10. Sharing the Perfect Happiness of God
  11. Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ

Col 3:18, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

For the wife to be subject to her husband, she must respect the authority vested in him by God. There is no higher form of love than respect. Everyone in life must have respect for something, which gives them capacity for life. We could not have authority without humility. The inner beauty of the woman comes from her humility to be subject to her husband’s authority. The capacity for life is humility. The ultimate capacity for life is respect.

In order for the right woman to submit to and respect her husband, there is great transformation in her self-consciousness, the mentality of her soul, her volition, and emotions as follows.

In her self-consciousness: When she becomes aware of someone else in the human race more than herself, she changes in her soul. These changes are quite radical in the self-consciousness. Before a woman finally falls in love, every woman is extremely vain. Mirrors were made for girls before they fall in love! This is really an expression of her self-consciousness. Yet, a woman undergoes a phenomenal change when she truly falls in love. She switches her self-consciousness from herself to her right man and becomes occupied with him, (this is part of becoming one with him). Her awareness of her right man excludes all others from that intimacy for which she was designed to have with her right man. Her instincts change to please him in every way. It is quite a transition for any woman to make.

In her mentality: This means her right man is in the norms and standards of her conscience, he is in her frame of reference, all of her memory now relates to him, she instinctively anticipates his desires and policies and fulfills them. Sex is never a pressure but a desire.

In her volition: When she says yes to the right man, she surrenders her volition to him. Her submission is both soulish and physical. She uses her volition to make thousands of decisions which please him, and which stimulate him, bless him, encourage him, resulting in the woman becoming his reflected glory.

In her emotion: Appreciation of the right man in the heart or right lobe leads to emotional appreciation of the right man. Up to now, before she has fallen in love, she likes certain types of music, certain types of activities. Now she has someone with whom she can share the things that she enjoys because her emotion is now linked to his in category #2 love. No man should be such a fool as to squelch a woman’s enthusiasm, which is to start to chip away at her love, at her response.

  • The Second Divine rule for marriage is the responsibility of the man.

Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself as a substitute for her.”

God does not assign the role of leadership in marriage without also assigning extra responsibility. The extra responsibility of the husband’s leadership is the application of the tandem Problem-Solving Devices within his soul; Personal Love for God and Impersonal / Unconditional Love for his wife.

The authority of the man must be exercised through leadership, not tyranny or dictatorship. The leadership of the Christian man is based on personal love for his wife in application of personal love for God the Father and impersonal love for all mankind. The unbelieving husband finds his ability to fulfill the principle from the Laws of Divine establishment.

Our Lord Jesus Christ used impersonal love for all mankind as the device to handle the problem of bearing our sins and being judged for them. Husbands are to use the same Problem-Solving Devices.

Col 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.”

Most of the failures in marriage are a result of mental attitude sins here classified as “bitterness.” Bitterness is a combination of arrogance and emotion. Bitterness in marriage results in the rapid decline from spiritual adulthood to loser believer. When the man is bitter against the woman he married, it destroys any possibility of a successful marriage.

Bitterness is a motivation. It is called bitter jealousy in James 3:14, because jealousy and bitterness are two sides of the same coin. Jealousy comes first and results in bitterness. Bitterness is refusal to take the responsibility that the jealousy came from your volition.

Bitterness also leads to reaction and the first result of reaction is denial, the second result is projection. Therefore, bitterness is a projection which comes from jealousy. You cannot entertain jealousy without flipping the other side of the coin to bitterness that also consolidates denial and projection.

Bitterness also leads to malice, which is the sin nature lust to get even, to seek revenge, to inflict misery, suffering, and injury on someone else in marriage. Therefore, bitterness in marriage means that your personal love is not operating on the integrity principles of the Problem-Solving Devices of Personal love for God and Impersonal Love for your wife.

No one can have jealousy and bitterness and at the same time capacity for true love. Personal love for your wife inside the integrity principles is authority functioning under the leadership of love.

Eph 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Becoming kind toward one another is the function of the husband loving his wife as Christ also loved the Church, and wives respecting their husbands. The capacity for impersonal love for all mankind produces true compassion, which is not emotion. It is a compassion that has a wonderful attitude. Precedence for forgiving each other was set at the Cross.

Therefore, every man who is a Christian gentleman should become aware of the trends of the sin nature of his wife. For some of them he will be patient, with others he will be intolerant, and with others he will assert his authority. But he must understand her areas of weakness, her areas of strength, the pattern of her lust, her trends. He must know when her trend is toward asceticism, when it is toward lasciviousness, or something else. No man is worth his salt if he does not learn to know the soul of a woman as he knows his own soul.

  • The Third Divine rule in marriage is the mutual responsibility of both the husband and the wife.

Eph 5:33, “However, you also (husbands), each one of you individually, let him so love his wife as himself; and the wife see to it that she respects her husband.”

This mutual responsibility has to be consistent by both parties. The man is commanded to have virtue love. The woman is commanded to respect her husband’s authority.

The woman is the responder; therefore, the potential is there for respect to her husband. But if the husband fails to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, then the woman may react negatively towards him rather than respect him. The reaction of the woman can be as vicious as her response is fantastic. Nevertheless, regardless of the sins of your spouse, husbands and wives are to love and respect the Divinely decreed position their spouse has been given, and honor it unto God.

The third Divine law has a positive and negative side. The negative side of the law is to remove all mental attitude and verbal sins. The positive side of the law is application of Bible doctrine through the Problem-Solving Devices.

For believers, a successful marriage demands that each spouse deploy the tandem Problem-Solving Devices to live in marriage inside the integrity principles. A person is no better in marriage than he is as a person. A loser in the spiritual life is a loser in marriage. A winner in the spiritual life is a winner in marriage.

Marriage is not finding the right person, marriage is being the right person. As in all aspects of the way of life of the believer in time, there is no substitute for integrity in all personal human relationships, especially marriage, and in all phases of the spiritual life. Therefore, it is very important to utilize the tandem Problem-Solving Devices. Personal love for God is the man’s motivation for personal love for the woman and the woman’s motivation for her response of respect. Impersonal love for all mankind is love capacity for each spouse to fulfill the commands of Eph 5:25, 33.

The ultimate in marriage is for the husband to so fulfill the first Divine law so that the woman responds with respect through the second Divine law. Under those conditions, every problem in marriage has a solution.

Wives, Do Not Enslave Your Loving Husbands.

  • All three Divine rules in marriage are the basis for the husband’s function as a leader and ruler over the wife in marriage.

Eph 5:22, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”

Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her, (i.e., delivered Himself over as a substitute for her).”

Eph 5:33, “Nevertheless, each individual (husband) among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

In all three mandates, the husband must exercise his authority over the wife through the function of personal love inside the integrity of the PSD’s, Personal Love for God the Father and Impersonal / Unconditional Love for his wife.

Yet, most men as husbands become more interested in peace in the home than they do in assuming the responsibility and the authority of the home as leaders under Divine Institution #2. Peace at any price is the battle cry of the average husband. When this attitude is prevalent, it results in the husband being enslaved, which is the reverse of what Eph 5:22ff commands him to do.

  • In spite of what is said in Eph 5, many husbands are slaves to their wives because they are willing to pay any price for peace, which means they surrender to the wife’s policies, wishes, desires, whims, bad judgements, and/or her bad disposition.
  • When the wife sees this type of behavior in her husband, she often times manipulates the situation with the result that she controls him. This control means she enslaves him.
  • The control of the enslaved male is maintained by the behavior pattern of the woman with such things as nagging, tantrums, sulking, pouting, spreading a pall of gloom over the household, etc.; things that destroy the peace and tranquility of the home. Let us face the facts; some women do enslave men in the framework of marriage, and such a woman is never happy and obviously her husband-slave is miserable too. That is why God ordained marriage to have authority vested in the man.
  • Most men by nature are much more complex than the woman. For example, the man is highly sensitive to the above-mentioned types of behaviors in his wife. In addition, authority increases the sensitivity of his soul. As such, he finds it distressing, irritating, and incompatible with tranquility and peace in the household, when the wife maintains those negative behaviors. As a result, he capitulates to those behaviors, with the result of destroying his own authority and the wife’s authority orientation. When a woman enslaves a man, she does more than enslave him, she destroys him.
  • Therefore, the average male feels that his only defense against a nagging and tantrum making woman who makes life miserable for him, is capitulation. Marriage then becomes a series of manipulation with the strings being pulled by the woman.
  • The wife controls the husband by her behavior pattern under these conditions. She enslaves him by nagging, by embarrassing him, by making his life miserable; and soon she sets up a policy which includes constant surveillance, curfews, interrogations for unexplained absences, examination of his check book, searching his drawers and anywhere else where he keeps anything, to see if she can get any clues as to what he has done.
  • Other means of enslaving the male is to ration sex or ration kindness, unless the male complies with whatever policy the woman has set up.
  • In other words, she has now become the authority inside the marriage and is running the man, which makes him a slave. And slaves have no privacy, nor any authority!
  • When the enslaving woman is backed into a corner and proved wrong, she immediately has a number of excuses by which she rationalizes her dictatorship, as if somehow this was an excuse for becoming a monster and a dictator. For example: she is either pre, mid, or post-menstrual; she is pre-or mid-menopausal, where she is suffering from some psychosis as a result of the menopause, namely involuntary melancholia; she is under pressure from the kids or other things in her life that went wrong today; etc. Operation “Patsy” leads her to rationalize away her enslavement of the husband.
  • Because of the nature of the man as the Divinely-appointed authority in marriage, and as the aggressor, his enslavement is far more tragic, and in our society, more frequent than the enslavement of the woman.
  • In a matriarchal society, people love dogs rather than human beings! No one bemoans the fate of a house cat, but how pathetic to see the king of the beasts, the lion, ensnared in a trap. That is the principle here.
  • A right woman should never enslave her right man, even in the most adverse conditions of reversionism. A right woman may start it, but she is to grow up and adjust, so as to support his leadership position through subjection and respect of his authority, while leaving any issues in the hands of the Lord. A mature right woman will never enslave her husband.
  • A right woman may test her right man’s authority by trying to “pull a fast one” on him from time to time, but the mature right man knows exactly what to do and exactly how to handle it.
  • The right man is never afraid of his right woman, but sometimes even the bravest of brave are intimidated by the enslaving woman. It is a compliment, ladies, if a man is not afraid of you.
  • Life is a system of authority. Humility recognizes authority; arrogance rejects it. Happiness does not exist where authority is rejected. Arrogance always considers any form of authority demeaning. Arrogance is a loser in life, because arrogance always rejects authority.
  • Arrogance destroys morality because arrogance does not recognize authority, and all morality is based on authority. As such, virtue is destroyed by the rejection of authority. Yet, true humility turns morality into virtue, so that virtue-morality carries the husband and wife, even in the marriage of two unbelievers. Under the grace policy of God, humility benefits from authority, and virtue-morality avoids moral degeneracy. In the case of the Christian marriage, there is no substitute for the virtue produced by the inculcation of Bible doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  • Above all things in marriage, the husband must be a spiritual leader. As a spiritual leader, the husband executes the Divine commands of Eph 5:29 and Col 3:19. This is because the husband’s motivation is based on the virtue and motivation of Personal Love for God and Impersonal love for his wife.
  • Authority orientation demands that both husband and wife conform to God’s rules and policies in marriage. There must be no contradiction between the role of the husband and the role of the wife in marriage. To avoid contradiction, both must be avid students of the Word of God. They must be consistent in their perception, metabolization, and application (PMA) of Bible doctrine. Spiritual growth in the Plan of God results in success in marriage. Success means that each partner fulfills the mandates of the Word of God with regard to that relationship.


  • The authority of Christ over the Church is used to establish the authority of the husband over the wife in marriage. This relationship, like all others, demands the existence of Authority Orientation.
  • The woman, in surrendering her volition to a man in marriage, is relinquishing her authority over her own life and placing it in the hands of her husband. As such, she must have humility, under Authority Orientation, inside the marriage to fulfill God’s mandate for her to “be subject to” and “respect” her husband’s Divinely instituted authority over her.
  • Likewise, the husband must have Authority Orientation under AGAPE love from motivational virtue in his soul from both Personal Love for God the Father, and Impersonal / Unconditional love for his wife.
  • If both parties in the marriage do not have Authority Orientation from virtue AGAPE love in their souls, it will inevitably lead to enslavement; either the nagging suspicious wife enslaving her husband through manipulation for capitulation, or the tyrannical husband enslaving his wife through demanding dictatorship. Either way, that marriage is a slave factory and one of them is going to be a slave.
  • No one should ever enter into marriage lightly, erroneously, under the influence of alcohol, or anything else that takes away from the solemnity of the decision and the ceremony.
  • In order for the marriage to be blessed and happy, both the husband and wife should be consistently PMAing (perception, metabolization, and application) Bible doctrine to their lives, especially their marriage, to honor and appreciate God’s Divine Institution #2 (Marriage).

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 17-086 through 17-088

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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