“To fully know and still fully love, is the primary aim of marriage.” – Fierce Marriage.
Real love, the kind of love that keeps a couple together for a lifetime, is not a feeling but an attitude. It is the attitude that with the help of God I’m going to do everything in my power to love and cherish my wife. As Christian husbands, you are called to love your wife as Christ loved the church. Why? Well, because God says so. And, you should want your marriage to be a picture of the Gospel. It is the key for having a joyful, love-filled marriage.
But what does it mean to love your wife as Christ loved the church? Taking this command at face value, it would seem to be an impossible task to do anything as well as Jesus did it: Jesus is God and we are not. No, we cannot do anything as well, but let me give you a different, more practical perspective on how to love your wife as God loved the church.
Love your life as Christ loved the church by making it your duty to forgive. Jesus died on the cross and as a result, God the Father does not hold your sins against you. You are totally made free to thrive. You have a duty to love your wife as Christ loves the church which means you don’t hold your wife’s sins against her. She’s not perfect. She’ll still sin in life. Your wife will say something to you that she probably shouldn’t. She’ll withdraw. She’ll do a lot of different things. You have the same problems yet God came and got you and forgave your sins. Don’t hold her sins against her.
Love your wife as Christ loved the church by loving first. Scripture says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” It doesn’t say we love our wives because our wives first loved us. It doesn’t say we love our friends because our friends first loved us. It doesn’t say we love our children, our family or our coworkers because they first loved us. It says we love because God first loved us. Even on the days when we may not feel loved by our spouse, we can love him or her in response to the love God shows us all. We can love others because He first loved us. Then no matter the distraction or the schedule, and no matter if it has been five years or 15 years or 50 years, we can treat each day with our spouse as if it were the first. We can experience love unending in the middle of every storm.
And finally, love your wife as Christ loved the church by cooperating with God in serving your spouse. The individuals who truly love see themselves as God’s agents for enriching the lives of their marriage partner, for them, love is a way of life. They are constantly looking for ways to help, encourage and support their partner: this means you notice her. You compliment her. You open her door. You treat her as an amazing person. You show the world what it looks like to be delighted in how you delight in your bride.
The Scriptures say the Holy Spirit pours the love of God in our hearts: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5). God wants to use you in your marriage. Ask Him to give you a loving attitude toward your spouse and to pour out His love to her.
- How do you go about loving your wife as Christ loved the church?
- What can you do this week to forgive your spouse, love her first, and cooperate with God in your marriage this week?