Husbands, Love Your Wives

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Just the Tip

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

1 John 4:7 ¶ Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

The scripture commands us, as husbands, to love our wives. The command is plain and straightforward, but it is like the tip of an iceberg. Once you start looking at other passages, you find there is more and more that is part of the command, but is hidden under the surface.

Even the second part of the verse, "be not bitter against them", expands the command, requiring not just the actions of love, but also an attitude. Similarly, Romans 12:9 says that love should be "without dissimulation" (the Greek is also translated "without hypocrisy" or "unfeigned." ) Loving your wife isn't something you can just do on the surface; it needs to flow fully through you. (Trust me, if you try to fake it, she'll figure it out.) If you don't have that level of love available to give her, then per 1 John 4:7 you might need to go back and make sure you are properly connected to the Source of Love.

Some Big Ones

Matthew 5:27 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ephesians 5: 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

If you are a husband reading this far, you probably are already wanting to obey God in your marriage and are likely at least somewhat familiar with these "big" ways of loving your wife. Be faithful to your wife, few things are harder to repair than a marriage shattered by unfaithfulness. Yeshua points out that this goes beyond just physically. If you are faithful in body, but not so in your mind or heart you are still committing adultery.

Provide for your wife. "Denied the faith" and "worse than an infidel" are some of the strongest phrases we see as descriptions of shortcomings in the scripture and they are used to reprove not providing. It doesn't say you must "keep up with the Joneses" in your provision, and 1 Timothy 6:8 says we should be content with "food and raiment." Still, probably the minimum you should be aiming for is not to let the stress of providing for these daily needs fall on your wife.

Physically protect and defend your wife when she is in danger, even to the point of dying for her. Christ is the "savior" of His bride and the word means preserver or deliverer. For some men this part is easier to imagine or even do than laying down their life daily in service but, easy or not, it is still an important part of loving your wife.

Marriage in General

1 Corinthians 7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

Proverbs 18:22 ¶Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of Yahweh.

Genesis 2:18 ¶ And Yahweh God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.
19 And out of the ground Yahweh God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 ¶ And Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Revelation 2: 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

As Paul points out, married men have a slightly different calling than unmarried men since they also need to think about what will please their wife. I don't think this is a bad thing since God said that it was not good for man to be alone and Proverbs 18:22 says that finding a wife is "obtaining favor of Yahweh."

Revelation, though specifically about a church that needs to recover its first love, has some insight in that it recommends doing "the first works" in order to return to love. I think we can make a connection here with what Paul says about taking care to please a wife. Most husbands, when they are wooing their wife or are first married, have a pattern of "first works" that they do to please her and make her feel loved, but then start to let those things slide later in marriage. Returning to doing those first, wooing works is a good way to love your wife in the way that Paul describes as "pleasing" her. Those works may vary from couple to couple, but think back to how you set out to please your wife in the early days. In fact, since you (hopefully!) know her even better now, you can probably improve on them.

Another piece of loving your wife is loyalty. Luke 14:26 talks about how following Yeshua requires hating your family members. Obviously, this isn't literal, but is a comparison of how our loyalty to Yeshua must be way beyond what we give family. Similarly, a man shall "leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife." When a new family unit is established through marriage, the depth of loyalty and devotion a man has to his wife should make it look like he has forsaken his parents in comparison.

The origin of marriage is Yahweh making a helper for the man. It is an important distinction to understand that the wife is the helper. If we think of it in other contexts, we can see what this means. If a painter or plumber has a helper, who is responsible for every aspect of the job? Regardless of how much of the work the helper ends up being able to handle, in the end it isn't the helper that is responsible for the entire job getting done right.

The same goes in marriage. If there is anything left to do or anything that isn't done right it is the husband's responsibility to get it done correctly. That might mean doing the rest of the dishes, changing some diapers, getting up with the baby in the middle of the night or any other unpleasant task that some might call "women's work." Also, factor into this that Peter says the wife is the "weaker vessel." (See below.) Each man's "helper" will have individual strengths and weaknesses, so division of tasks in a particular marriage may be different, but ultimately the husband needs to be careful that he is not asking too much of the weaker vessel by handling himself the things that would tax or stress her too much.

Communication!

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

1 Corinthians 14:34 ¶ Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

I doubt there is a single marriage help book on the market that doesn't include "communication" as one of the keys to a good marriage. Being able to talk to each other and build an understanding of each other's needs, likes and dreams goes a very long way towards a strong, intimate marriage. Who does the Bible task with communication in marriage?

Ephesians 5, in addition to telling husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (which we will get to as well), mentions that Christ washes His bride with the Word. If we consider that marriage is supposed to mirror Christ and the church, it equates to a husband talking to his wife about what his needs, wants and dreams are. In 1 Peter 3:7, husbands are also tasked with dwelling with their wives "according to knowledge" or "with understanding." In other words, the task of understanding the wife's needs, wants and dreams is also assigned to the husband. Probably your wife is as good or better at interpersonal communication than you are, so by all means take advantage of your helper's skill set to do it, but remember that God puts the burden of communication in marriage on the husband!

Along the same lines, we see in 1 Corinthians 14:35 that husbands are also responsible for communicating God's word to their wives. This is not to say that women do not have spiritual insight and that you won't often learn from her as well. (Another important form of help!) However, it isn't the pastor that scripture tasks with being ready to answer the wife's questions on spiritual matters. Once again, the responsibility for that is the husband's.

Now the Difficult Parts

1 Corinthians 13:4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things

Ephesians 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

"Charity" in 1 Corinthians 13 is the same underlying Greek word used to tell men to "love" their wives. You can read what that entails for yourself. It looks impossible to me, so all I can say is what I said at the beginning. Get that love from the Source, then let it flow through you to her.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Romans 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The love we are called to emulate towards our wives, is Christ's love. To just touch on a couple of the ways that He loved; Christ called His disciples friends and included them in "all things" he received from the Father, also we see Him praying for them from the beginning of choosing them all the way to just before His death. There are many more, but I'll let you seek them out in your journey to be more and more like Him. Ultimately, to be Christlike, we must die and let Christ live in us. Nothing less will suffice if we truly want to love our wives as Christ loved the church. So let's resolve to be living sacrifices in this area of our lives. Difficult, absolutely, but not impossible with God.

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