“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.” —Ephesians 5:25-27
A husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church. So, what does this look like in the reality of marriage? Historically, it’s a Biblical notion, something God calls us to do. The way a man loves his wife is reflective of the way Christ loves His body, the church. It’s a self-sacrificing kind of love. This love grows a strong foundation for a God-centered marriage because it’s so very giving of itself, and it’s not a conditioned love.
If a husband is to love his wife the way Christ loves His bride, then it is to be a holy love – a pure love. This love mirrors Christ’s sacrifice for His bride, which ultimately means dying to the self, and living to serve (Matthew 20:28). In what ways can you serve your wife? In what way can you provide the unseen needs of your wife, what is veiled behind her heart?
God’s sacrifice is reflective in marriage; it’s clear as water that our God-designed marriage should be sacrificial, the lending of oneself completely and wholly. What sacrifices can you make for your wife? Will it be another week to take care of the children? Will it mean supporting your wife if she desires to go overseas for a short-term mission trip? What does Biblical marriage exactly embody?
It embodies the pure, beautiful, and righteous body of Christ, our Savior, our Lord, which means that a husband will nobly nudge his wife into the direction she feels God-led. As long as it is God-focused, he will kindly support her in whatever she desires to do. A husband will desire to help his wife flourish in whatever she’s passionate about. He won’t demean her for not doing more, but will meet her where she is, and gently press her forward. He will do all of these things because his love reflects that of Christ, who most desires that we walk into what the Father has for us. That is a self-sacrificing kind of love, a love that a husband should always hold for his wife. “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
A husband’s love should also be giving, and I don’t mean in the materialistic way. If a husband is demanding, demeaning and controlling, then it’s apparent something isn’t right in the way He’s showing love to his wife. It’s been distorted by the desire for control, which can often look like smothering. That is something wives should always look out for, and seek God in the midst of through prayer. Are these characteristics that will last a lifetime, or will he actually begin to love his wife the way Christ loves His bride?
We all know there is nothing as holy, spotless, and blemish-free as our relationship to the Father, but there is a love that will remind us of the love of Christ, and that’s the way a husband should love his wife. It doesn’t mean they won’t fail, because man is not perfect, but it does mean that by God’s strength, love will prevail. That’s how marriages stand against the storms, because loves conquers in the end. In every moment, love should be at the forefront, as though always walking in love.
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