“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
This is a verse that most people are familiar with, at least those who have grown up in church. All husbands including myself are commanded to love our wives in the same way that Christ loves His church. Since Christ was willing to die on a cross for the church, it’s safe to say that the command to love our wives is one we should take seriously. The problem is we know this truth in our heads but often fail to apply it to everyday life. Many may wonder how this plays out practically. What does it look like to love our wives in a Christ-like way? Here are three practical ways, I believe, we can practice this. However, the foundation to all of it is rooted in our relationship and dependency on Christ.
One of the biggest mistakes guys make is that we don’t listen – enough. We want things fixed. We are solution and result driven, no matter what the issue is. However, when our wives are upset or worried most often she just needs us to be “present” and to respond with words showing that we care about how she feels. She isn’t as concerned with us having all the perfect answers or solutions as much as she just wants to know that we are there for her and that we care.
Another way to love our wives is to serve her. What better way to be Christ-like than to directly do what He came to do and that is serve. Jesus modeled his love for us through service all throughout his ministry. His love through service came to the ultimate climax when He gave His life for us on the cross. As husbands we should be willing to daily lay down our wants, desires, and preferences with the intention of putting the needs of our wives first.
So guys, that means instead of grabbing the remote and checking out when we get home from work, we should instead consider the needs of our wives – first. You would be surprised at how much it means to her for you to wash a load of laundry, bathe the kids or scrub a dish or two. This also means that there may be times when we need to postpone other plans if the situation calls for it. “Wait a minute Trey, are you saying that just because my wife had a bad day I am just supposed to back out of my plans to play golf with the guys? You don’t understand! I had a rough day too and this is how I relax; she just needs to give me my space.” Actually you need to grow-up. You need to understand that when you said “I do” you became one flesh. That means her needs should come before your wants!
If your foot was broken do you think it would be wise to go and play a few games of basketball? No! Not only would it damage your foot further but it would put the rest of your body at risk. Same with your marriage. Being one body means taking care of anything that is hurt. It’s not about you anymore and it is time to man-up and love her sacrificially like Christ has loved you and the church as a whole.
First of all, I do not mean lead in a dictatorship or “my way or the highway” kind of approach, but lead by example as we are led by Christ. The reason many wives feel compelled to step up and take the reins is because often husbands are spineless and not willing to do what God has called us to do and that is lead our families. One of the things most women desire is security and nothing makes her feel more secure than a man who leads as a result of seeking God daily and following His lead. It’s time for us to stop waiting for her to take action and for us to go ahead and do what we know is right. Women need men who are willing to say:
- Our family will be in church regularly because I will be the one to take them.
- The Bible will be read in our home because I will be the one to open it.
- Our children will be taught the things of God because I will do it.
- My wife will feel secure and loved because I will be the one to love her – so when someone she works with shows her attention she will not be phased.
- My kids will understand how a man is supposed to treat his wife because I will show them by example.
- I will lead my wife as Christ leads me and I will do it with love, gentleness and self-control.
Loving our wives like Christ loves His church is impossible if we try to do it in our own strength. We must be on our face daily allowing the love of Christ to shine through us. We must remember that we are married to a daughter of God and our responsibility to her should reflect His zealous love over her.