How Can Husbands Love Their Wives Self-Sacrificially?

The Bible calls husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially. In Colossians 3:19 the apostle Paul writes,

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Col 3:19)

And again in Ephesians 5, comparing a husband’s love to Jesus’ love of the church, Paul says:

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Eph 5:28)

We could explore other passages, but you get the point. The Bible is big on husbands loving their wives.

The Type of Love

The type of love husbands are to have for their wives is a self-sacrificial love. We know this because the Greek word behind love in these verses is agape. Agape, in Greek, denotes a self-sacrificial love. It is same love Jesus demonstrated when He went to the cross for our sins, sacrificing Himself for us. Agape love then is a love that gives rather than takes. It is a love that sacrifices.

How do we love our wives in a self-sacrificial manner?

(1) We love our wives self-sacrificially by not being harsh with her.

In the second half of verse 19 in Colossians 3, Paul specifically commands husbands not to be “harsh” with their wives. When I first read this, I didn’t fully understand what Paul was saying, so I did some research into the word “harsh”.  I found it means that husbands aren’t to make their wives bitter or resentful because of unfair or abusive treatment. Instead, husbands are to treat their wives fairly, not using or abusing them. As well as husbands aren’t to make decisions or perform actions that would make their wives resentful.

What are some things that might make your wife resentful?

  • An unwillingness or not offering to help with the kids.
  • Not abiding by the family budget.
  • Going off with your buddies all the time instead of doing things with the family.
  • Glueing yourself to the TV instead of helping out around the house or talking with your wife.
  • Caring or ministering to others whenever they ask, but not setting aside time to do so for your wife.

(2) We love our wives self-sacrificially by leading in a non-selfish way

Being the head or the leader of your household doesn’t mean you always get your way. That’s not how Jesus leads. Since we are modeling our love and leadership after His, we should act as He acts. When Jesus came it wasn’t all about Him, instead, it was all about us. Remember, He left His heavenly abode, took the body of a man, gave up His rights, and His life for us.

We are to do the same. We are to give up our rights for our wives, sacrificing for them, instead of always demanding our own way. When we do that, we are loving and leading in a non-selfish way.

(3) We love our wives self-sacrificially by seeking to build her up in the Lord.

Husbands are to do all they can to promote their wife’s well-being and sanctification. Marriage, then, is about more than fulfilling our own sexual appetites. It is about us working to build up and sanctify our wives, washing them with the Word of God, in order to ready them to meet their heavenly husband — Christ.

(4) We love our wives self-sacrificially by providing for her physically and emotionally.

As a husband, we are to make sure we are doing all that we can to provide for our wife. Certainly that means we are to make sure her basic needs are met. But our wife’s basic needs are just one area for which we are to provide. Along with providing physically, we are also to provide emotionally. Men, including myself, often miss the mark on this one. I believe that is because it is easier for us to spend our energy working than it is to spend our energy talking, listening, and drawing our wives out. But if we want to love our wives as Christ loves the church – self-sacrificially – we must provide for both her physical and emotional needs.

Question for Reflection

  1. What other ways can a husband self-sacrificially love his wife?

Resources

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Adapted from my sermon A Wife’s Submission and a Husband’s Love

 

What is the Type of Love that Lasts?

When most people think of love, they think of a feeling they get from another person. Think of the way a character in the last romantic comedy you watched described their love for another. Most likely they said something like, “I know it’s crazy but it just feels right.” Or maybe they expressed it by saying “I can’t explain it, but I know I am in love with them.” Or maybe, just maybe they used the often quoted line, “You complete me”. While that stuff makes for good movies, the love pictured by those characters is what we call romantic or erotic love. While romantic or erotic love is not necessarily wrong, we all want a little romance in our lives, building our relationship on romantic or erotic love doesn’t usually make for a marriage that lasts the ages.

Romantic or Erotic Loves Focus

Generally speaking, romantic or erotic love is more concerned with how we benefit from a relationship than the benefits of another. Romantic or erotic love, then, is not other-focused but self-focused. When someone expresses love from a romantic or erotic perspective, what they are really saying is either that that person makes me feel good sexually or personally, or they believe that person is the best partner to help them fulfill their financial or personal goals. But will that type of love last?

Will it Last?

Even with the advent of plastic surgery, gym memberships, and magic creams looks fade. Personal and financial goals can change or go unmet. When change happens, or needs go unmet, feelings usually follow suit and change as well. If your relationship is built strictly on feelings, what are you going to do when your feelings change? Are you going to stick it out or move on? I believe our current divorce rate answers that question for us. Over half of all marriages now end in divorce. Could it be that many of those were built on romantic or erotic love?

The Love that Lasts

The love that lasts is the love Paul speaks of in Colossians 3 when he says,

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Col 3:19)

The love Paul calls husbands to have for their wives isn’t romantic or erotic love, but agape love. Paul’s command doesn’t necessarily negate romantic love. In other words, a little romance isn’t a bad thing, it just shouldn’t be the primary thing. So husbands don’t use this as an excuse to quit dating or romancing your wife.

Do, however, realize that the love Paul is talking about is much deeper than surface level attraction or romantic gestures meant to conjure up certain feelings. The love mentioned in Colossians 3 is a bedrock or foundational type of love. It is agape love. Agape love is a self-sacrificial love. It is a love that gives rather than takes. It is a love that seeks what is best for the other person rather than what’s best for self. That is the type of love a husband is to have for his wife. It is the type love that sticks around when needs go unmet and feelings change. It is the type of love that lasts.

Question for Reflection

  1. What is the love that is primarily active in your current relationship? Is it me-centered or other-centered?

Resources

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Adapted from my sermon A Wife’s Submission and a Husband’s Love

The Husband and Wife Relationship is the Building Block of the Family

The husband and wife relationship is the building block of the family. Think about it. In the garden, even though God had created all kinds of animals, there was no-one like Adam, he was alone. God, however, determined that being alone wasn’t good for Adam, so God created Eve. Eve was Adam’s wife and helper, not just his lover or financial partner. She was to help Adam fill, subdue, and have dominion over the earth.

On the backbone of their relationship, Adam and Eve started a family. But it was their relationship with each other that was first. Which means it was their relationship with each other that needed to be healthy before any other relationship could. I believe one author captures the necessity of a healthy marriage relationship well when he says,

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength. However, if your marriage is weak, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are marked by success and strength, it won’t matter. You will move out into the world in weakness. Marriage has that kind of power — the power to set the course of your whole life. It has that power because it was instituted by God. And because it has that unequalled power, it must have an unequalled, supreme priority.” –  The Meaning of Marriage, 131.

If there is one relationship, besides our relationship with God, that we need to get right, it is our relationship with our husband or wife. It has the power to build us up or tear us down.

Question for Reflection

  1. How is your relationship with your spouse?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon A Wife’s Submission and a Husband’s Love

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