“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25-28
Husbands, by the time you’re reading this, you’ve probably already presented this year’s Valentine’s Day gift to your wife. Maybe it was a box of chocolates, flowers, a date night, or maybe jewelry. But what if you could give her a gift that would keep on giving - something that she would cherish anew each day? And what if I told you that this gift wouldn’t cost you a penny?
In Ephesians 5, Paul gives a descriptive directive to husbands regarding how they should treat their wives - with love. It seems, when most people read Ephesians 5, more attention is given to the previous verses where wives are directed to submit to their husbands. However, in the time that Paul was writing this, the provocative message would have been the one to husbands. In that time, husbands did not necessarily love their wives as much as they owned them, to put it bluntly. Their wives were a part of their possessions - part of all that they owned. To be told to love them well would have created a bold paradigm shift.
And now, Paul was telling husbands to love their wives, as Christ loved the church.
And how did Christ love the church? It began with the most humble act of all…leaving His rightful throne and entering into our world as a helpless, dependent infant. Even though Jesus was God, he did not consider his equality with God something to hold on to (Phil. 2:6).
So Paul was telling the men of that time to humble themselves in the home and love their wives - truly love them. Love them with a love comparable to the love of Christ - a love that was willing to lay down his life.
Paul ends this passage with, “He who loves his wife, loves himself.” When Jesus, in that final act of love, gave himself up for us, he fulfilled his purpose - his destiny.
When we, as husbands, love our wives well, cherishing them and giving up our own desires to serve them, we fulfill our own destiny as husbands - to be like Christ. And our wives, these beautifully miraculous creatures created by God, will see themselves as God sees them…precious, cherished, loved.
So, in addition to the chocolates and jewelry and flowers, how about giving yourself to your wife - everyday.
You won’t need to worry about saving the receipt. She’ll never want to return it.
Consider asking your wife this question: When did you feel most loved by me today and/or this week? Accept her answer without any defensiveness.
For the next five days, try these suggestions:
During downtime at home, ask yourself, “How can I use this time to serve my wife?”
Take a moment and walk up to her and hold her, just because she’s there.
If she’s doing household chores (folding laundry, making the bed, etc.), step in and help her.
If she tells you she’s going to run an errand, tell her you’d love to go with her. If she says ok, go. Keep in mind that she might need some alone time away from the house. Respect that. However it turns out, just let her know that time with her is precious to you.
Gentlemen, let’s love our wives well. It’s what we’re called to do.
AUTHOR: David Stephens is a retired school superintendent and currently teaches students with special needs in an elementary school setting. He and his wife, Kelly, have been married 18 years and have three children.
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