“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5.25) …So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church (Ephesians 5.28-39) …Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5.33).”
The companion passage in Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” So even though a wife should respect her husband, a Christian husband’s responsibility before God is especially characterized by sacrificial love. The love in these texts is explained in 1 Corinthians 13:
“[The husband’s sacrificial] love suffers long and is kind; [His] love does not envy; [His] love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [The husband’s sacrificial] Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13.4-8).”
God’s Perspective on Love
- Love is unconditional.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
- Love is sacrificial.
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
- Love is loyal.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
So, husbands must love unconditionally, sacrificially, and loyally.
Biblical Principles on Loving Your Wife
- God commands it in a descriptive language.
- You must love her continually (Present Tense).
- You must love her actively (Active Voice).
- You must love her as an act of your will (Imperative Mood).
“We have a picture of the perfect partner, but we marry an imperfect person. Then we have two options. Tear up the picture and accept the person, or tear up the person and accept the picture.” [J. Grant Howard, Jr.]
- Love her as Christ loved the church and give yourself sacrificially to her.
- Give up what you want for what she wants.
- Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for you.
- Love your wife and do not become bitter toward her.
Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”
- Bitter means resentful (sour stomach, harsh).
- Be tender with your voice.
- Be gentle with your actions.
- Build up with your life.
- Put courage within her.
- Love your wife and purposefully nourish and cherish her.
- Provide what is necessary for her to grow.
- Treasure her and treat her tenderly.
- Love your wife fervently and never allow your love to grow cold.
- Love demands actions and emotions.
- Love demands care and affection.
- Love never fails and guards against unforgiveness, anger, or apathy.
Luke 10:27 “So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”
- Stop whatever you do that disappoints, frustrates, or angers your wife.
- Repeat the first works principle (Rev 2:4-5).
Revelation 2:4–5 (NKJV) — 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
- Demonstrate your love so that she actually feels loved.
- Know Christ as your Savior.
- You must love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.
- Christ desires a holy and pure church. Godly men desire holy and pure wives.
- Christ desires a glorious church. Godly men desire glorious wives (women who reflect the righteousness of Christ for the glory of God).
- You love your wife by nourishing or feeding your wife. In other words, you supply for her what is needful to live.
- You love by cherishing or tenderly caring for your wife.
- God created the woman to be the responder. Your wife will respond favorably to nourishing and cherishing activity from you.
Practical Nourishing and Cherishing:
- Help her to know and fear God.
- Help her to respond correctly to problems (Gal 6:1).
Galatians 6:1 (NKJV) — 1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
- Help her by praying for her each day (several times).
- Help her by providing physical/verbal encouragement.
Proverbs 15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.
- You must love your wife not hate her.
- Prosperity cannot make up for a distant, cold attitude (Song 8:7).
Song of Solomon 8:7 (NKJV) — 7 Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.
- Ways in which hatred can manifest itself in a marriage:
- She doesn’t live up to my expectations. This is especially true when it comes to intimacy.
- She doesn’t love me with the same intensity that she once did.
- Your career becomes all consuming and there is no time for your wife.
- You fail to lead in the loving way Christ expects (doormat, take advantage of).
- You use sharp, harsh, or bitter language.
- There are things you do and say that make your wife feel unloved. You must identify those things.
- Realize the deep trench of unpleasant circumstances that you dig when you are unloving.
- You must choose to love your wife.
- When your wife knows that you love her, she will feel safe, cared for, and become the comfort God intends her to be for you.
- It is difficult to love your wife at times.
- She may choose the wrong time to resolve a family problem.
- She may let her emotions rule her problem solving patterns.
- She may struggle with a particular sin over and over again.
- She may not wear her hair the way you like or cook the meals you enjoy.
- However, you must love your wife and she should not think otherwise.
Ways that cause your wife to feel loved:
- Help with household work.
- Spend quality time with her.
- Intently listen to her when she speaks.
- Provide for her needs physically and spiritually.
- Write her notes of encouragement.
- Plan weekends away for just the two of you.
- Take her out on a date.
- Go for a quiet walk together.
- Buy flowers, a small gift, or clothing for her.
- Enjoy sports or recreation together.
- Share your thoughts about God’s Word.
- Work on projects together.
- Plan a family night.
- Tell her you love her.
- Hold her hand in public.
- Surprise her with something special.
Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
Praise your wife.
- In your eyes, she excels them all.
- Be genuine and praise will have a dramatic impact.
- What three characteristics can you praise her for?
- When are you going to praise her?
Sacrifice for your wife.
- How do you demonstrate the depth of your love for your wife?
- The husband demonstrates sacrificial love when…
- Her needs come before his.
- He gives up doing what he wants to do in order to do what she wants to do.
- He puts her before all others and before all activities.
- “He plays hurt.” (Going out even when you’re tired, etc.)
- What sacrifice do you need to make right now for your wife?
God commands it and Christ demonstrated it – you must do it! You must love your wife continually!
If you can do something once, you can do it over and over again. Since God commands you to love your wife, you must be able to do so. You must love her continually at all times! Husbands, you must love your wives!