Posted by: duncandrews | May 30, 2009

Why marriage is a death sentence

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…
– Ephesians 5:25

Trade Heads

Trade Heads on Flickr by Austin_S

Whatever headship means, it seems to include this: if I am the head of my wife in the same way Jesus is head of the church, it will involve my death. It will mean dying to myself, again and again, for the good of my wife. It will mean preferring her good over my comfort. It will mean being cruciform – being controlled, shaped, formed by the cross. This is real, substantial headship.

And the disturbing thing is that Jesus died for his bride not because she was beautiful. Not because she loved him. Not because he enjoyed her company. No, she was ugly, hated him, abandoned him. Jesus died for his bride because he loved her. He loved her, because he loves her, because he loves her, because he is love.

Of course, dying is a very Christiany thing to do. Marriage is a death sentence – or rather, Christian marriage is a death sentence – because life in Christ is a death sentence.

But what a wonderful death! What a sweet, beautiful death to sin and evil and even to death itself! What a gift, to die to myself, in hope that I will be raised to new life in Jesus.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…
– Col 3:3-4


  1. I was a bit worried when I saw the title for this post. But it turned out to be great! Interesting that submission is often brought out as the normal, Christian thing to do, but I hadn’t heard it said about death before.

  2. Yeah, it seems to me we are very careful (rightly so) to set a wife’s submission in the context of christian submission to Christ – perhaps in response to challenges to gender identity.

    But I don’t hear nearly as much talk about what headship means… perhaps because we don’t get that in the bible headship is no less a confronting and disturbing and difficult a thing for a husband to do than submission is for a wife?

  3. great thoughts dunc

    • thanks Mizz – Good to hear from you!

  4. The heading, “By George” got my attention but I’m not comfortable with titles like “Why marriage is a death sentence!”

    • thanks also Mum! You’re right of course, and I’m not comfortable with it either, but in a way that’s exactly the point.

      The idea that husbands are to be like Jesus is to his Church, particularly in his absolute self-giving and death for her sake, is very uncomfortable!

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