Husbands, God commands you to love your wife. He says that you are to love your wife as Christ loves the church. These are words that should bring us to our knees in holy fear. Christ’s example of love is humbling and overwhelming. His example should shake us to the very core of our being. This command, properly understood, should drive us to cry out to God for strength, courage, and his mercy.
Because if you are to love with the love of Christ, then the actions of your wife must not determine the quality of your love for her. Men, Jesus loved you when your were unlovely. He cares for you when you turn away from him. He returns good in exchange for your cold and callous insensitivity to him. He reaches out to you when you have made a train wreck of your relationship with him. He is selfless when you are selfish. When you insult Christ by taking credit for his blessings he offers you forgiveness. Jesus responds to your disrespect by taking the punishment that you deserve. He loves you when you withhold love from him. He prays for you, even when you stupidly think you don’t have time to seek him in prayer.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Jesus loves you at great personal cost to himself. The way you act towards him does not determine the way he acts towards you. That is a very good thing for you and me. The last prayer you should want to pray is, “Dear God, please love me the way I love you.” Anyone who would pray such a prayer is what the Proverbs call a ‘stupid fool.“
But sadly, the way we love our wives is often dependent on the way they act towards us as husbands. If they are distant, we become indifferent. If they are cool, we become hurt. If they are disrespectful, we become angry. If they need help, we feel put out. This sort of behavior is not love.
Husband, God calls you to model the love to Christ to your wife. You are to love her because Christ loves you, not because of the way she acts towards you. Certainly, it is more pleasant when your wife loves you unselfishly. But, even this must not be the basis of your love for her. The love of Christ to you must be the primary motivation and example of your love for your wife.
When your wife has struggles, be compassionate and know her well enough to be able to help. She, just like you, can be unlovely. Christ’s love is still the example you must follow. Ask God for strength. Ask God to help you not act like the stupid fool, who forgets what God has done for him. Love your wife as Christ loves you.
Just in case any wives are reading this, you can show this to your husband! And remember, even if your husband is not loving you as he should, the love of Christ is also your model and strength.