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BECOMING YOUR WIFE’S SAVIOR
Husbands are commanded to love their wives, and wives are commanded to respect their husbands. The Bible’s definition of love is so much more than personal taste or preference, or even affection. The biblical concept of agape love involves giving of yourself for the benefit of another, even at your own expense.
Biblical love is defined by passionately and righteously seeking the well-being of another. Biblical love is an act of the will and not just a fuzzy feeling in the stomach. That’s why God can command us to love one another. Love really has nothing to do with whether you feel loving at a particular moment. It has to do with the need of the person being loved, not the feelings of the one doing the loving.
We need to find out how Christ loves the church because that’s the standard we husbands need to attain before we can legitimately be classified as lovers.
There are three principles or truths that every husband needs to know about loving his wife based on Jesus’ love for the church:
Sacrificing for Your Wife
How did Christ love the church? First, “[He] gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25b).
When your wife looks at you, does she see a cross? When God calls husbands to give themselves up for their wives, He is not simply talking about being willing to die. Sacrificing for our wives involves being willing to nail our desires and our agenda to the cross to love our wives and meet their needs.
So many of us husbands fail because of our selfishness. Men are often reluctant to give up their wants and their agendas, when necessary, for their wives. One of the interesting places where you hear “give yourself up” terminology today is in the game of baseball, which has a play called the sacrifice bunt.
God has called every husband to lay down a sacrifice bunt for his wife, so to speak. On a day-to-day basis, this may simply mean not always having to have your way just because you’re the leader in the home. Sacrifice involves what is best for the other person,
Biblical love is generated by the need of the person being loved, not necessarily the feelings or wishes of the one doing the loving. When you love your wife the way Christ loves the church, sacrificing for her can bring great delight because you know you have brought joy to her.
Suffering for Your Wife
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus concluded His prayer by saying, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Sacrifice brings suffering.
This kind of love is risky, and it involves a cross. That’s why your faith has to be not in your ability to love, or even in the response of your wife, but in the God “who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Substituting for Your Wife
God has commanded us to love our wives even when they don’t deserve it—for if we love them only when they deserve it, where would grace be? In fact, we need to love our wives the most when they deserve it the least.
In marriage, if a wife does something that is wrong that brings about negative consequences as a result, a husband should not only seek to forgive his wife, but also to cover her through taking ownership of the consequences. In doing this, he serves as her substitute.
BECOMING YOUR WIFE’S SANCTIFIER
Ephesians 5:26 continues from the context of verse 25, which says: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”
To sanctify someone or something means to set it apart from common or ordinary usage for a special purpose. Ephesians 5:26–27 makes it clear that the husband is uniquely called to be the sanctifier in his home.
A husband is called to die to his own plans and desires so he can serve and love his wife. And in the process, he becomes qualified to be his wife’s sanctifier.
While salvation is instantaneous, sanctification is a lifelong process that involves replacing the distortion in our souls with the truth of the Word of God as well as allowing this truth to dominate our lives through the growth of our spirit. A husband who wants to take seriously his leadership and spiritual responsibility in marriage, and help his wife blossom into all that God intended her to be, must be ready to shepherd her the way a pastor shepherds his flock.
In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul describes the husband’s pastoral role, “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” So when a woman has questions or wants to know something, the first pastor she should turn to is not the pastor in the pulpit, but the pastor shepherding her own home. To be successful with this responsibility, the husband should be growing in his knowledge of the Word to the point that he can open the Bible at home and guide his wife and family.
If your wife were to need guidance or spiritual insight, would she have to skip over you and go outside the home to find someone in tune with God?
A husband who is stagnant spiritually is in no position to lead his wife. As Dr. Evans says in For Married Women Only, it’s hard to follow a parked car.
BECOMING YOUR WIFE’S SATISFIER
Our wives are like mirrors, reflecting back to us what kinds of husbands we are.
Men often define leadership in terms of being the boss. “I’m in charge here. This is my home. I am the king of this castle.” But Jesus offers a different model. Jesus said to his disciples, “The one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” Jesus also demonstrated what He meant when He got up from the table, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed the disciples’ feet.
We must take the initiative and set the pace in our homes by serving our wives instead of sitting around waiting for them to serve us. We as men often want credit for what we do up front in our marriages. But it’s the work behind the scenes—the listening and caring, the “dwelling time” we spend seeking to understand our wives—that really tells the story of how we’re doing as husbands.
Whatever you do to pamper and care for yourself, make sure you double it for your wife because she is an extension of you.
Husbands need to study their wives, who speak a foreign language—the language of how she feels while we speak the language of instruction, or what she should do.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, list all the ways your wife serves you, and then on the other side list all the ways you serve her. If her list is longer than yours, then you may need to ask yourself if you are fulfilling Jesus’ word that the one who wants to be the greatest should be the greatest servant. Your wife should not be outserving you.
Here are five ways a husband can nourish his wife.
- Words of affirmation. A husband should be his wife’s biggest cheerleader.
- Quality time. It takes time to nourish your body, and the same is true of your marriage. “Quality time” can be a misnomer for some people who take it to mean giving someone the best five minutes of their day.
- Giving gifts. Taking the time to bring your wife a gift, even a small one, is another important way of telling her how much she means to you.
- Acts of service.
- Physical touch. This is nonsexual touch that simply says, “I want to be close to you. I want to hold your hand and put my arm around you.”
Dr. Evans’ final challenge is this: invest the next ninety days in becoming your wife’s satisfier. When the service becomes good, your wife will want to return the favor.
May these three principles for loving your wife serve husbands well, as we shoot for the stars!