How a husband is to love his wife
When a husband grows dissatisfied with his marriage, he’ll often look to his wife and ask himself, “What’s wrong with her?” But what he needs to do is look at his own life and consider whether he has been loving his wife as he is called to.
The Bible teaches us the way a husband loves his wife is foundational to the well being of a marriage.
How is it that a husband is to love his wife? He is to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph.5:25). A tall order, indeed, but one that when followed will cause a marriage to thrive according to God’s design.
But what does it mean for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church?
First, it means he is to love her unconditionally. When Jesus laid down His life for His people, He did not do it because there was any loveliness in them. They were depraved and without interest in Him. But God showed His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom.5:8)
It’s in the same unconditional way that husbands are to love their wives. A husband is not to love his wife because of any certain qualities about her. He is to love her without reason at all. Even if she is selfish, manipulative, or cold toward Him. And with God’s Spirit working in his heart, he can.
Second, for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church means he is to take the initiative. Jesus Christ did not wait for His church to be worthy of love before loving her. He knew that the church would not seek Him (Rom.3:11), so He sought her and loved her first (1 Jn.4:19). He took the initiative.
This is the way a husband is to love his wife. He is not to wait for her to turn things around. He cannot sit back and expect her to take the lead to get the marriage out of a hole. He must not. If he does, his passivity will only cause her to disrespect him. Instead, he must be strong and take the first step in love toward her.
Third, to love as Christ loved means that a husband’s love must be sacrificial. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life for His people. In so doing, He not only gave them what they needed, but He showed what it is to be a true servant-leader. He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mt.20:28).
The way a husband loves and leads his wife is to be sacrificial as well. When a man gets married, his life changes. He’s not single anymore, but joined to another. So, a married man must be willing to sacrifice for the good of his wife and family. This does not mean doing what ever his wife wants. But it does mean attending to her needs in a way that he is willing to die to his own desires.
There are many men who are frustrated with their marriages. They know their marriage needs to be raised up to something new and better. But before these marriages can be resurrected, the men in them must be willing to die.