Last Sunday our “Grace Group” gathered together to consider the godly roles and goals of a husband and wife. Previously, we had discussed God’s design for marriage, which is the biblical concept of oneness as displayed in Gen 2:24.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife [cleave]; and they shall become one flesh (emphasis mine).
This God-ordained oneness can only be achieved when the husband and wife know their biblical roles. A look at Eph 5:23-27 is helpful. For there are oceans of truth to be found in these five verses on how the husband and wife are to relate to one another.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 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.
There was much that we had unpacked from these verses in our study on Sunday for both spouses (including marital goals of serving, submission, sensitivity, shepherding). However in this post, we’ll look only at the husband’s love for his wife.
The husband must model Christ’s love. It not just a high standard, but the highest. Why? Because it requires each and every married man to imitate the very Son of God. Consider some of the ways that Christ loves His beloved bride the church—His love is unconditional, volitional, intensive, unending, purposeful, and sacrificial—to name only a few.
Dr. Wayne Mack writes in his book Strengthening Your Marriage that every Christian husband is to examine seriously his relationship with his wife; and he must do so in light of these spiritual truths:1
This then is the standard by which a husband is to judge his relationship with his wife. No husband has every fully loved his wife in that way or to that degree or extent. But it is the goal toward which every husband is to press, the model which he is to follow. And surely every husband ought to spend much time thinking about what this means in terms of marital relationship. Certainly every husband should frequently examine himself to see where he is failing to be the love his wife needs and God commands him to be.
This kind of love is not about behavior modification. The husband, the man who loves the Lord, is to be thinking differently (by spending time in the Word) and act differently (by living closer to His Savior). A vertical change must take place before attempting to affect the horizontal.
It is only then that this man can begin to remind his sweetheart of the Savior. Only then might she see Christ’s love shining through his character, counsel, conviction, cooperation, and care. His heart should desire to honor her in word and deed. Publicly and privately.