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Husbands Love Your Wives...

           When a marital couple comes to counseling their frustrations often sound similar, “My wife /my husband does this..., or that..., and I can’t take it anymore.” In asking the couple what the problems are the answer often comes back that we have communication problems.  In practice this often means that there is such frustration between them in not understanding each other that they can’t even talk anymore without fighting.  The real problem is not that they don’t communicate anymore, it is more so why they are not communicating anymore.  The following verse highlights for me one aspect of why from the husband’s part.

      In looking at Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands Love Your Wives...,” if most married men are asked, “Do you love your wife?” the answer would be overwhelmingly yes.  I wonder though how most of us would answer the second part; if we love our wives Just as Christ loved the Church”?  

     My imagery is of this idea is God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit looking down at their bride (the Church) and asking the question to each other, “What does my bride truly need?”  The answer overwhelmingly was that we (the church) desperately needed (needs) a savior.  Jesus passionately accepted this challenge because He truly Loves us! 

      Often when a marriage is in trouble each one is focused on getting his/her own needs met (i.e. “I’m not happy”, or “You do/ don’t do this/that”).  Christ’s love however is focused on getting “our” needs met, which resulted in his sacrifice and suffering. 

      When a husband looks at his bride, (whether it is one day of marriage, or 50 years) and asks himself, “What does my bride truly need?”, the marriage will becomes a tougher challenge for the man.   There is a “getting outside of yourself” process that begins to happen.  It can (and will) ultimately produce sacrifice and suffering in focusing on what your wife’s true need is.   

     We, as men, don’t like to do this.  It is much more comfortable to think about “my” needs than hers (or anyone else for that matter).  Keep in mind though that I am talking about her true needs.    The deeper needs that only you, her husband can meet, i.e. - for her to feel safe..., secure..., that you are a leader in the home; that she can lean on you for strength, support, and a listening ear when needed.  It can be difficult to do this if we are not used to it, but are we trying to learn???   

     When the wife feels that her husband is trying to be “Christ-like” in the way he is loving her it can help to naturally produce the “submission” as spoken of in Ephesians 5:25.  Within a healthy marital relationship, this happens more naturally.

      There often needs to be a deeper work within the husband to hold onto this.  One reason is that most men are not taught this in their family of origin from their father.  That is not to be critical to any parent; it is just an observation in studying the family and through counseling families and individuals.  A second reason is that it is in our human sinful nature to put “my own need” first before another’s.  There are many places in the New Testament that tells us to Put on righteousness...”, or another translation might read, Clothe yourself with righteousness...”  It is our natural impulse to be selfish; however, our “being spiritual” can happen by taking on this nature moment by moment. 

      It is a process to get there.  I believe Romans 12:1ff rings this out where it speaks of being transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Upon salvation the Spirit is made new (2 Cor. 5:17), but the mind however needs to be transformed.  As for the flesh..., it needs to be crucified!  This is the continuing work of the Christian, the “working toward” the spiritual from Christ and the “working out” of the sinful “flesh” from the sin nature.   It is a process, not an event!  We just want to be sincere in the process...

     I believe this kind of change is necessary for a marriage to move toward its fulfillment.  “Two “self” driven “self” serving people does not a healthy marriage make.”  Because the husband is the “spiritual leader” of the home, leadership starts with leading by example and sacrifice.  Martially, when you and I as husbands begin to live and express this sacrificial love to our wives, it can begin to transform your marital bond and your spiritual life.

      I am not trying to put pressure on you (or myself), I am only stating a fact to consider seriously.  To the degree that we continue to look at our wives as having “the problem” (or vice versa) nothing will change in the marriage.  It is our part to take responsibility for ourselves, and let God deal with our wives, it’s not our job to point our all her flaws and inconsistencies.  We need to bring ourselves before God, look at our “stuff”, our part, and begin to deal with our issues! 

      Ironically, the first sin in the Garden was disobeying God, the second sin however was to pass the blame and not take responsibility.  When Adam said, “God...  the woman you gave me...” Eve said, “The serpent made me do it...”  Perhaps... if they would have taken responsibility for themselves, things would have been different...

      Marriage and our walk with God will make more sense when we are living and relating to each other as God designed it.   Be sincere and do your best.  He will respond to your obedience to Him and help to produce true change for not only your marriage, but for yourself, your wife, and also often affecting those around you.  We can truly learn to love our wife just as Christ loves the Church...

                                  In Christ, Dave


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