Last month, I wrote about the phrase “Man Up.” Check out my thoughts here. This month, I want to focus on how a husband can love his wife.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
I have read many blog posts and heard many sermons on this verse. The focus is usually on imitation or pragmatism. Since we know that Christ loves the church perfectly, we seek to imitate Christ and love our wife in the same way. Husbands realize we fall short so get busy and work hard to love.
Or this verse is preached at a men’s retreat/event and we are given 15 ways to love our wives. These specific ways worked for the speaker and so we assume these are the “right” ways to love our wife. We return home pumped to love our wife in one of the 15 ways and find we do OK, but after a few days everything falls apart. We discover some of the 15 ways don’t match our personalities or even that our wife doesn’t appreciate them.
How to love your wife is not a cookie cutter approach.
Why do imitation and pragmatism not last long term? Is it because we are lazy, disobedient, selfish jerks? Maybe, at times. But could it be we are being told to focus on the wrong thing? Do imitation and pragmatism not work because the focus is on us and our own strength?
Let me suggest a different motivation for men to love their wives. Instead of focusing on self, let’s focus on Christ. Notice the second part of the verse above. When we as husbands focus our eyes upward on Christ, we are reminded of the gospel. Jesus came and was crucified for us because of His great love. Through the cross, as believers, we are fully accepted, loved, and pleasing to God. Therefore, we do not need to seek acceptance, love or pleasure from our spouse. We have everything we need in Christ. Therefore, out of joy and gratitude to Christ, we are free to love our wives.
What would happen if men were pointed to Christ and the gospel instead of focusing on imitation or pragmatism? How would our marriages be changed if we let the Holy Spirit lead and empower us to love our wives rather than what worked for someone else?
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany, Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church