Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
I recently read an article about the making of the Andy Griffith Show. In it, Andy made an interesting observation about how he related to Opie in the scenes in which they appeared together. It occurred to him that he used the same mannerisms in interacting with the young Ron Howard as his dad used with him. “Like father — like son.”
Behavior is learned, copied, and inherited. We’re a composite of our environment and education. Also in the mix is the unique talents and potential given by God when we were created. But integral to the kind of people we become is our role models; parents, grandparents, mentors, close relatives and friends, and heroes.
We pick up traits from these influencers that carry over into our adult experiences. Sometimes, we try to avoid behavior we perceived as unproductive or harmful. For example, my parents smoked cigarettes excessively and argued loud and often. I was determined those practices would not enter my marriage. My grandparents seldom talked to each other. As a result, I vowed to keep the lines of communication open. On the positive side, both parents and grandparents were good and decent people. Those qualities I wanted to adopt.
The Apostle Paul bypasses earthly influences regarding how husbands are to approach their marriages. He uses the highest of all examples, Jesus Christ. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. There is no greater love. Husbands must love sacrificially.
Sacrificial love for your wife isn’t just saying, “If her life is in danger, I will die for her.” That’s part of it, but not all Paul had in mind. Jesus’ love for the church goes beyond death and seeks the best for now and forever.
The “church” to which Paul refers is not a building, but all followers of Christ. We, as husbands, are to love our wives with the intensity and sacrificial commitment of the Lord.
Jesus’ love protects, provides, encourages, helps, forgives, listens, heals, and cares. His love is deep, sincere, patient, unwavering, reliable, and forever.
The Lord’s love is more than the occasional touching words of a poem, a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, or a gift. It comes from the heart and is served up every day unconditionally, not just on special occasions.
Consider how the Lord cares for you and how His kind of love can be emulated in a marital relationship. Jesus is the model of how a husband should treat and care for His wife.
The Greek word used for love in our focus text is agapaō, the verb form of the noun, agape. The idea is sacrificial love that requires nothing in return. It is the love that God has for us and the love we are commanded to have for one another.
Agape love is given by choice and backed by commitment and fidelity. It’s the love between a husband and wife that SHOULD kick in after the warm fuzzies dwindle. When mutually adopted, it becomes the glue that holds the marriage together.
Most marriages begin in the eros stage, which is based on feelings and emotions associated with love. Other Greek words used in New Testament times for love include: mania, meaning lust, philos used to represent brotherly love, and storgy which captures the idea of motherly love.
So how do you love your wife as Christ loves the church? I will respond with a question you’ve heard many times before. “What would Jesus do?” How would He treat her? How would He respond to her?
With nearly fifty years of marriage under my belt, I am tempted to suggest there are some things about women that would even confound the Lord. But I won’t do that. I’ll just say that the agape commitment means you will rise to every occasion and challenge seeking to honor God with Christ-like love for your wife.
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Children
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.