This is deeply on my heart after talking with someone who walked out on his wife and kids. “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.”
Do those words really hold any meaning for Christian marriages in today’s American society?
Is it husbands versus wives? I know it can feel that way at times, when we don’t see eye to eye, when tension is high, when the kids are fighting and the stress of just trying to make it through each day tears at the very heart of every issue we face.
This man complained to me that his wife hasn’t been handling things perfectly since he walked out and is now with another woman. He blames the one he left, but he doesn’t see how his leaving set her up for failing. He doesn’t see how his walking away has torn her in half, as they were one flesh. Husbands often don’t understand the emotional toll it takes on their other half when they are unfaithful, when they are not supportive, when they are critical or judgement, when they are not kind…. when they do not love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her….
Christ gave up His own life so the church could live. How can a husband possibly compare himself to Christ loving the church? I think he can by purposefully putting her needs, and even wants, before his own. I think he can demonstrate Christ to her by being understanding, patient, kind, and not placing expectations of what his opinion of who and what she should be, on her.
That is a huge challenge.
My husband has taught me more about Christ’s love for the church than anyone else ever has.
It is possible.
God hates divorce. So, let’s stop doing what He hates, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:33 “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”
If we tear down our husband, we damage the core of who he is. If we mock him, make fun of him, treat him angrily… we are not helping our marriage be healthy and strong, we are pushing him away, causing his flesh to rise up and his heart to harden against us. If we treat our husband with patience, kindness, gentleness, love, respect, graciousness, like he’s the most important person in our earthly world… our husband will be more likely to want to love us as Christ loved the church. He will be more likely to listen, treat us with respect and dignity, I mean, if he is a Christian and he lives as a Christian. Unbelieving spouses will respond more positively to positive, loving, respectful treatment, and might be won over to Jesus.
The heat of the moment is never what it seems, and it often brings out things that aren’t there normally.
If we strive to rise above the temptation of our flesh to embrace the negative, often ugliness that beckons at our tempers and tongues when our emotions are high, then the world will see that difference, that empowerment from on high, to love and respect one another. Even in the bad times.
Let’s do those greater things that Jesus said we would do, starting in our marriages.