Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
As husbands, we are often derailed from the life and marriage that Jesus wants for us by our innate desire to protect ourselves and our rights. “I can’t let her take advantage of me” and “I shouldn’t have to give up this”, we protest when discussing the challenges of marriage. “She is wrong and I cannot take one more minute of her, you just don’t understand” is the protest in the more extreme cases. In a culture steeped in protecting what is ours and recognizing and exalting the rights of individuals, too often we lose sight of the standard for us as Christian husbands in this flawed world. We are told simply by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. Are we doing it?
Do we really understand what Paul is saying when he sets out that standard to live up to as Christian husbands and as men of God seeking to love and take care of our wives? For a quick reminder let’s summarize chapter two of Philippians. Jesus is God, the maker of the entire universe, through whom all things were made and occupant of the throne of Heaven where He is worshiped continually. Day and night heaven sings of His greatness, His worthiness and His power. Yet, out of obedience and love, He was willing to come off of that great exalted throne and become fully lowly man subject to all of the pain and weakness our mortal bodies throw at us. Not only was He willing to become a man, but he became a servant or slave whose rights were violently violated and one who would die a death that was reserved for the worst criminals under a brutal and unjust empire of man. He did this for His bride, the church. Jesus laid down everything for His church. Can you imagine being able to call down a legion of angels to save yourself from being executed in a and not doing it? Yeah, me neither. Husbands, this is the example of how we are to love our wives. Our example is the man who gave up everything, including His own life for people who were spitting on Him, mocking Him, driving spikes through His body and and killing Him. This is how we husbands are supposed to love our wives. It is daunting to contemplate.
In comparison men, how do we do at loving our families ? How much have we as husbands loved our wives? I kid at times that my wife should remember at times that I was raised by wolves as the example of marriage and family that I had as a child was so dysfunctional that I had no reference point for what was good or bad going into our marriage. It was like I was raised by wolves and was now trying to learn to live like a person like Tarzan after he comes out of the jungle and is at a tea party. The short version was that I was just as awkward and unaware of my shortcomings and I loved myself a whole lot when my bride and I started on our surprising journey together. It has taken a lot of prayer, teaching from the Lord – sometimes gently sometimes using hard things, time and submission to get to the point of our marriage where I can say that I believe I love my wife well. I guess she needed lessons in patience during that time. Yet, I still grumble if my wife reminds me to take out the garbage when its cold out or takes the last coffee creamer. So though the Lord has changed me and given me a great love for my wife, I am still not even close to meeting the mark. There is the love of Jesus and then there is everyone else.
How about you husband? Have you expressed love for your bride equal to what Jesus did for you on the Cross?