The Bible commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is a very difficult command to obey because Christ gave His own life for the church. In fact He died for it. The church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom and the two are engaged to one another. The marriage feast of the Lamb of God will take place after the consummation of the marriage at His return. The kind of love that Christ has for the church is the divine kind of love; a self sacrificing and unconditional love that humans can only hope to mimic. So how are husbands to love their wives the way that Jesus loves the church? Instead of consulting a Marriage Counselor or reading a book about marriage, we will go to the soundest of all logic. There is no better marriage advice for husbands given anywhere, by anyone, at anytime, than in the Bible. There is wisdom for husbands in how they should love their wives that is unlike any advice you will find in the world; the Holy Bible. Let God speak to us on how a husband should love his wife. ( For a related article check out: How to Respect Your Husband: 7 Helpful Hints)
Two Become One
The very first marriage ceremony ever performed was done so by God Himself in Genesis 2:23-23:
“The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
This is a key point. When a man marries a woman, the two become one. The fact that Adam said “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” is important. That means when she feels pain, then he should feel it. When the wife rejoices, then the husband should rejoice. They are sharing everything in life; the ups and the downs.
Another important thing in this verse is the statement of a man leaving his father and mother and is united to his wife. That means that they are starting a new family and the family from which the husband came has no authority in this new family; no say and no active participation in the marriage between the husband and wife. Of course the man physically leaves his parents home but I believe the intent of this – and the reason it is mentioned in Scripture is not trivial – is that the husbands parents are to stay out of issues involving the new family that has just been created. Interference by in-laws can cause extreme pressure on either of the spouses and can strain the marriage itself. What the husbands parents did in their marriage and home is not applicable to the wife since she and her husband have their own family – a new family. The wife may not be familiar with the way her husbands home was ran and so the husbands parents can not dictate or even suggest that the wife ought to do certain things that were done when her husband lived at home.
One final point in these verses is that the two persons have now become one flesh. In a literal sense if they have children, the one child has both of his or her parents. I do not believe that this is the reason for saying that the two “become one flesh.” I believe it is that they share a bond, an intimacy that is not shared by any other human on the face of the earth. They become one in purpose, one in serving one another, one is communion. When sex was involved outside of marriage, the language was that a man laid down with the woman, but in marriage, it says that the man “knew” his wife. Lying down with someone is not the same thing as “knowing” someone. During sexual intercourse between the husband and wife, there is such an intimacy that each other can really know each other better than they can in having an affair or having premarital sex.
Love Your Wife Through Action
Few people understand that another little know command for husbands is given in Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
You have heard, seen or even lived through the experience when the husband comes home from work. His nerves are shot. He is tired, hungry, and perhaps even frustrated after work. Many wives work too and they have the same feelings after they get home from work, so the last thing she needs is for hubby to come home and unload all of the days frustrations on his wife who has an equally, or in some cases, a fuller plate than he does. Husbands should not take it out on their wives – especially given the fact that she had nothing to do with what went on at work. Sadly, this happens all too frequently.
Men, by their nature, tend to be more gruff, rough, and harsh with people. I am not saying that men are inferior to women, but each sex has differences. These differences, instead of being conflicting, can actually compliment each other. What men lack in finesse, women may excel at. Where women lack in physical strength, men may not. There is a balance between the two in the dance of life where like a tight rope walker; each gives weight to the other side. This balance adds the feminine and the masculine. Like when hot and cold are mixed together, there is a moderation in temperature. Most people like hot showers, but if there is not at least some cold water, it’s painfully hot.
Men need to love their wives and not being harsh with them is showing them love. Love is a verb – it’s an action, its what you do. Saying I love you is important, but showing it by loving kindness, consideration, and a soft spoken tone is more important. You can scream “I love you!” but a tender, soft kiss tells your wife more than a hundred “I love you’s” ever could. Women love to communicate while men are often silent, but when husbands take the time to listen, it births a godly love. Our actions can show love and our tone of voice can show consideration, but talking with your wife and listening is perhaps one of the greatest things a husband can do. And not while watching TV. Give her your wife your undivided attention, make eye contact, and just sit and listen to her – let her talk. She doesn’t need you to interrupt to try and fix things (men tend to be problem solvers); she just needs you to listen to her quietly. This tells her you value her opinion and that it’s important to you. This shows the wife that you love her.
Wives and Husbands: Co-Heirs and Co-Equals
The last thing a wife needs is for her husband to be inconsiderate. Tell her thank you for making dinner, washing your clothes or making the bed. Why not take some of this heavy load off of her shoulders. Listen to what the Apostle Peter tells husbands in I Peter 3:7:
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Peter writes about the idea of consideration and treating them with respect. Being considerate is doing things for them (e.g. the dishes), opening the door for them, cleaning out the litter box, and regarding her as better than yourself. Treating your wife with respect is speaking to her as your equal. Brag in public about her to others. Women are not inferior and they should not be made to feel so. Peter tells us under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, that the wife is a co-heir and is co-equal in God’s sight. Treating her as a “weaker vessel” does not mean an inferior vessel. Peter is only talking about physical strength and not her strength of character, worth, or value. God is no respecter of persons meaning that He does not play favorites, so neither should husbands be a respecter of their wives just because they are a woman or their wife.
Not treating your wife with respect, not being considerate of her feelings, and not regarding her as equal before God, will hinder your prayers. Who wants their prayers blocked? No one, but husbands risk their prayers bouncing off the ceiling if they are not treating their wife with respect and being considerate of her feelings as a woman.
Loving Her As You Love Yourself
Ephesians chapter five is regarded as the biblical marriage instruction manual. No amount of human reasoning can match the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and since the Bible is the inspired (God breathed) Word of God, we would do well to listen to God’s advice for marriage. Ephesians 5:28 reads, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” In what same way is Paul talking about? Reading the previous verses tells us in Ephesians 5:25-28,
“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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
This “same way” is how Christ treats His church. Paul equates loving the wife as we love ourselves. This is not meaning an egocentric, selfish, self-serving love but the same way in which we take care of ours selves and in the same way we want to be treated. If the husband runs all the hot water out of the hot water tank by taking a long shower, he is not loving his wife the way he loves his own self if she has to take a shower next. Why? He would not want someone using up all the hot water and then expecting him to have to take a cold shower. If we are cold, we turn up the heat; if we are hungry, we eat; if we are tired, we rest. So with this same regard that husbands have for themselves in taking care of themselves, husbands should treat their wives.
Redeeming Your Time Together
Solomon was, next to Christ, the wisest man that has ever lived. He shared this wisdom about marriage too so we should read what he understood about marriage. In Ecclesiastes 9:9 Solomon writes,“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love
, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
I have heard some describe the marriage between a man and a woman as where the man married his best friend. His wife ought to be his best friend. Before couples get married, they are usually friends first. Marriage is a divine institution – not a human one. God intended that we enjoy each other. Sex was created not just for procreation (children) but for marital recreation. God doesn’t make mistakes. There is pleasure in loving someone of the opposite sex and it is always best inside of marriage. The marriage bed is said to be undefiled. That means that whatever takes place in the bedroom between a husband and wife is permissible. God has given us our spouse. He is sovereign. It is no mistake that our wife or husband crossed our paths in life.
Solomon encourages husbands to “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love.“ Enjoy your time with your wife. Sacrifice a football game to go to an event that she enjoys. Tickets at the 50 yard line may not be her idea of fun, but a night at the symphony might be. She might remember the days before you got married that you went bike riding with her, took long walks in the evening, or loaded up the car with food and had a picnic in the park. We should redeem the time with our wives because time flies. We may never get a second chance at a second honeymoon, to renew the wedding vows, or to spend a weekend at a bed and breakfast.
The Faithful Husband
Husbands made a vow before God and before witnesses to love their wives unto death do they part. God does not take that lightly. Adultery is a very serious sin and God can not be mocked. Husbands will pay severely with marital infidelity. There is no room for compromise here. The lesson for husbands is to remain forever faithful to their wives. Adultery, or even flirting with another woman which can lead to adultery in the heart, can shatter families, wreck a home, cause bankruptcy, destroy children’s faith in marriage, and can bring down the mightiest of men. We return to Ephesians (5:3) again for Paul’s stern warning to husbands, as well as wives, writing:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Needless to say, committing adultery may be going past the point of no return in a marriage. Exodus 20:14 is the seventh commandment where God warns couples to not commit adultery. Ephesians 5:5 says: “No whoremonger, no unclean person has an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.” Colossians 3:6, we are told that fornication, uncleanness, and inordinate affection will cause “the wrath of God to come upon the children of disobedience.” Adultery can come from the heart as Jesus declares in Matthew 5:28, “Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
For husbands, adultery in the heart is one of the most frequent of problems in this society. Pornography destroys lives and devalues women. Pornography, unfortunately, is far too accessible; on the Internet, on cable, pay-per-view, TV, and in magazines. Pornography is just as serious as adultery, for when a man lusts after a woman in their heart, they have in essence committed adultery.
Loving Your Wife Like Christ
Men are the head of the household in the biblical model, but Christ is the head of man. Men are commanded to be the spiritual leaders- but not the spiritual dominators. Few women that I have heard of where their husband loved them in a supernatural way, as Christ loved the church, have ever had any problem with submitting to them. Submission is easier when the one to whom they submit loves them enough to sacrifice his own life for them – to the point of dying for them. Marriage has been described as a miracle in itself because it takes two opposites with great difference and these two polar opposites must live together, co-exist together, and cooperate as one.
Ephesians 5:25-28 shows what type of love husbands ought to show their wives; “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.” This is something that husbands can not do in their own strength. It takes a supernatural empowerment by the Holy Spirit. It is not within human strength, power or capacity to love someone like Christ loves the church. In the foot washing, Jesus Christ washes the feet of the disciples. Even though He is their Lord and Master, and very God, He was a servant. He came to serve and not to be served. He gave His life as a ransom for His bride (the church). Husbands: good luck with this. You will need God’s help in this but we are told to love our wives just as Christ loves the church.
Christ was also forgiving. Even while they were crucifying Him, He told God the Father to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing. Husbands must be forgiving. They can not hold onto past grievances like stock and bonds only to cash them in some day. To bring up old issues is to not be loving their wives as Christ loved and does love the church. He gave Himself up for us and so husbands must give up themselves – including their own interests – for their wives. Husbands, love your wives like Christ loves you. We always get into trouble when we say “you always and you never.” These types of sentences are condemning and judgmental. Absolutes like these make forgiveness impossible and tell them that things can never change. Christ loved us while we were still enemies. So husband must love their wives…like their own bodies, like a sacrificial lamb that Christ was, and like the mercy and grace we received. There are fewer things a husband can do where a wife would not happily submit to their authority. That is truly how to love your wife.
How Do You Show Your Wife Love? Share Some Examples In the Comments!
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