Beliefnet
Steven Habisohn is the founder of e5men, a new men's movement based on Ephesians 5:25 ("Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"). In an interview, Habisohn explains the e5men concept: that men should make a bodily sacrifice for their earthly brides just as Jesus made the supreme sacrifice for his bride, the Church.

How does "Ephesians 5 Men" work?

E5men gives Christian men the opportunity to make a true, unselfish gift to their wives: eating only bread and water for one day is a selfless act that can bring grace, spiritual healing, and growth to their wife, or to their future bride if they're single.

And the men fast one Wednesday a month?

Yes--generally, the first Wednesday of the month. We do it in communion with each other and give each other strength. But any day is fine. The requirement is simply a minimum of one day a month.Many men choose to fast every Wednesday either for their wives or other women in their lives. Or they fast for e5 women, who join because they want to be prayed for-for healing in their marriage or their life.When you say e5men fast for their wives' spiritual healing and growth, is there the idea that the wife may need that more than the husband?No. In fact, the idea is that if the husband is healed, the wife will soon follow. If he was more kind, gentle, and patient, if he thought of her more often, she would be glad to respond in kind. The idea is that both need healing. The husband often needs healing from being selfish, and this act is a way for him to become holy as well. He works at his self-mastery and at bringing God's grace to that marriage. Through that he becomes more patient, kind, and gentle. I've seen many cases where this happens. I know in my own case, my temper is much less.So there are a lot of good things that happen for men and their spirituality. So it's kind of a complementary growth and healing, but the man takes this on as a burden for both himself and his wife. And the wife often responds in kind with her own renewal of her spiritual life.Why fasting? Why doesn't the husband just help his wife by, let's say, taking out the garbage more often?He should be doing that. But there are several reasons why fasting works and why it's attractive to men.
Jesus talked about the power of fasting when he discussed the demonic-that some demons can only be exorcised only with prayer and fasting. I'm not saying that this has to do with the demonic-though I would say that in a few cases, demons are involved with trying to break up marriages. But it shows the power of fasting as a powerful prayer for God's grace to come into a situation. As men would like to hear it, it's the 'sledgehammer' of prayer.The second reason is that it's very easy for men to incorporate this powerful prayer into their lives. It doesn't take up extra time-it's about not doing something instead of doing something. Men who perhaps don't like to go to meetings or talk about everything would still gladly pray for the wife.Fasting becomes a very efficient way to pray powerfully for one's wife and convert oneself. The e5men concept compares a man fasting for his wife to Christ suffering for the church, the people of God. Could you talk more about this?To live the gospel message in one's own body is very powerful for the man. The gospel is about a bridegroom (as John the Baptist calls Christ) laying down his life, his body, for his bride. This is what I'd call the basic DNA of the gospel.Some might say this sets up a construct where the bride is seen as weaker, more helpless, more prone to sin. There are many examples in the Bible of the faithless bride and the more faithful bridegroom who stands by her.

Right. It's not a perfect analogy, as Christ was sinless, and we obviously are not [laughs]. But the headship of the husband, relative to the headship of Christ to the church, is one of service. It's not that the man is needed as the "savior," but the one at the service of the bride.That's similar to the Promise Keepers' idea that the husband's headship in the family is one of "servant leadership." Yes. That eliminates this tyrannical "headship" approach, which can often be misconstrued. Once he lives the fast, the man quickly recognizes that he is not exactly the world's greatest person [laughs] and recognizes how weak he really is. The fast actually often knocks him down a few notches. From the outside, it looks as though women need us-and women do need us, to say that women don't need us would be wrong, to say that men don't need women would be wrong. We need all their spiritual gifts as well. This is just one way a man can conform himself to Christ in a particular way.So what is a man's vocation today?

The man's vocation is to recognize his true nature as a kingly servant, one who is to lay down his life for his bride and for all women, to serve women with the gifts he is given as a man, and to raise up women above men.

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