The Bible commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is a very difficult command to obey because Christ gave His own life for the church. In fact He died for it.
- The church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom and the two are engaged to one another.
- The marriage feast of the Lamb of God will take place after the consummation of the marriage at His return.
The kind of love that Christ has for the church is the divine kind of love; a self sacrificing and unconditional love that humans can only hope to experience. So, how are husbands to love their wives the way that Jesus loves the church? There is no better marriage advice for husbands given anywhere, by anyone, at anytime, than in the Bible.
Two Become One: The very first marriage ceremony was done so by God himself in Genesis 2:23. When a man marries a woman, the two become one. The fact that Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” is important. That means when she feels pain, then he should feel it. When the wife rejoices, then the husband should rejoice. They are sharing everything in life; the ups and the downs.
The one flesh teaching also has a literal sense in that this new family unit produces children. Also, one flesh teaches that each should person in the couple may share in the benefits of this new marital consummation. Sexual activity produces an intimacy that is not to be fulfilled in any other relationship or activity.
Another important thing in this verse is the addition of a man leaving his father and mother to be united to his wife. These two separate humans now form a new family unit where the previous family will not have influence or authority. Think of the problems a young couple has when this principle is violated.
Love Your Wife Through Action: Few people understand a little known command for husbands is given in Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” After a long day of work, a husband has the potential to come home and be harsh to the one he loves. His actions will speak louder than his words.
Love is a verb – it’s an action, its something we do. Saying “I love you” is important, but showing it by demonstrating kindness, consideration, and a soft spoken tone is more important. Husbands, don’t wait for her to show kindness first. Romans 5:8 tells us that while WE were yet sinners, Christ died for US. Love your wife by demonstrating that love through actions.
Wives and Husbands – Co-Heirs and Co-Equals: This tends to be hotly debated, male-headship or egalitarian? Bottom line here is that a wife needs for her husband to be considerate. Tell her thank you for making dinner, cleaning the litter box, washing your clothes, or making the bed. Modify your expectations and roles. Why not take some of this heavy load off of her shoulders? Listen to what the Apostle Peter tells husbands in 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” This is a pretty strong verse; the way you treat your wife affects your spiritual life!
Loving Her As You Love Yourself: Ephesians five is regarded as the biblical marriage instruction manual. No amount of human reasoning can match the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and since the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we should listen to God’s advice for marriage. Ephesians 5:28 says, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” In what same way is Paul talking about?
Reading the previous verses tells us in Ephesians 5:25-28, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
This “same way” is how Christ treats His church. Paul equates loving the wife as we love ourselves. If the husband runs all the hot water out of the hot water tank by taking a long shower, he is not loving his wife the way he loves himself. A husband is to look out for her best interests. If we are cold, we turn up the heat; if we are hungry, we eat; if we are tired, we rest. So, with this same regard that husbands have for themselves in taking care of themselves, husbands should treat their wives.
Redeeming Your Time Together: The wisest man who ever lived shared some wisdom about marriage. In Ecclesiastes 9:9 Solomon writes,“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
A man’s wife ought to be his best friend. Before marriage, they are usually friends first, and God intends that we enjoy each other after the ceremony. Have fun together and spend time together. What about sex? Well, sex was God’s idea, and was created not just for procreation, but for marital recreation. God doesn’t make mistakes.
The Faithful Husband: Husbands made a vow before God and family to love their wives until death. God does not take that lightly because adultery is a very serious sin. Husbands will pay severely for marital infidelity. There is no room for compromise in moral purity. The lesson for husbands is to remain forever faithful to their wives. Adultery, or even flirting with another woman which can lead to adultery in the heart, can shatter families, wreck a home, cause bankruptcy, destroy children’s faith in marriage, and can bring down any man.
- Ephesians 5:3 has Paul’s warning to husbands, as well as wives: “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;”
- Exodus 20:14 is the seventh commandment where God warns couples to not commit adultery.
- Ephesians 5:5 says: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
- Colossians 3:6, we are told that fornication, uncleanness, and inordinate affection will cause “the wrath of God to come upon the children of disobedience.”
- Adultery can come from the heart as Jesus declares in Matthew 5:28, “Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Loving Your Wife Like Christ: Ephesians 5:25-28 shows what type of love husbands ought to show their wives; “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This is something that husbands can not do in their own strength. It takes a supernatural empowerment by the Holy Spirit. It is not within human strength, power or capacity to love someone like Christ loves the church.
Christ was also forgiving, even while they were crucifying him. He told the Father to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing. Husbands can not hold onto past grievances only to bring them up at a later date. To bring up old issues is not loving their wives as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for us and so husbands must give up themselves – including their own interests – for their wives.
[print_link] [email_link] Adapted from Jack Wellman