Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:25-32
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
The husband is to be the head of his wife (v. 23). Yet this is tempered by the chief characteristic of the husband — to love his wife as Christ loved the church. No husband is entitled to say that he is head of his wife unless he first loves his wife the way Christ loves His church. The husband’s leadership is one of love and servanthood.
The husband’s relationship to his wife is to be characterized by Christ’s relationship to His church. First, Christ loves His church unconditionally. He loves His church in spite of her flaws and deficiencies. Second, Christ gave Himself for His church. He sacrificed for her. He gave His life for her. A husband must be willing to make sacrifices for his wife. He is to give himself to her willingly and fully. He is to serve his wife as Christ serves His church.
A husband’s love for his wife is not just theoretical. It is not what one says, but what one does. Actions speak louder than words. The test of a man’s love is his conduct in his home day to day. The Psalmist wrote, “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house” (Psalm 101:2b). This means that a husband follows God’s will and loves his wife in private as he presents himself in public.
I Corinthians 13 describes and defines the Greek word “agape,” which is the word used in our text today — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing; but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is how a husband is to love his wife.
Christ loved and gave Himself. Love involves action and not just words. A husband is to treat his wife with respect and honor. She is a treasure from God. A husband must never take his wife for granted. She is a good gift from God and she is to be her husband’s best friend.
A husband is to leave and cleave — “Therefore a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v. 31). God’s goal for marriage is oneness — the two shall become one. The unity between a husband and wife is to be protected at all costs.
The passage ends with these words — “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (v. 32).
Lord Jesus, You love Your church and You gave Yourself for her. You have told me to love my wife the way you love the church. Enable me to love my wife unconditionally and sacrificially. Let me love her with words and with actions. Enable me to love her with the love described in I Corinthians 13. Grant me grace to be patient and kind to her. Keep me from being irritable and resentful. Let my love for her never fail.