Some years ago a magazine carried an article: “The Seven Ages of the Married Cold.” It told how husbands respond to wives’ colds during the first seven years of marriage, ranging from careful solicitude in the first year to complete indifference and even irritation by the seventh year.
Unfortunately, the demise of marriage can be seen through this humorous look at a not-so-humorous reality. I think we would all agree that the American family has been aggressively attacked by the devil himself. There is an all-out assault on our homes every day, and we need to be prepared.
Husbands Must Practice Sacrificial Love
The benchmark for a husband’s love for his wife is found in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” We could never attain to the degree of love that God has, but I believe He is speaking about the kind of love we are to have as a goal.
Think about what Christ did to show His love for the church (Christian people). He left Heaven, came to earth, took on a body like man, was cursed, bruised, spat upon, humiliated, mocked, crowned with thorns, had spikes driven through His hands and feet, and had a spear thrust in His side—for you and me.
The kind of love that He showed was totally foreign to us. He did not provide forgiveness and Heaven for people who deserved it, but for those of us who did not deserve it. He didn’t love us because we were loving or lovable, but because He was loving and lovable.
In the same way, until we men are willing to die for our wives, we will never love them the way God intended. First Corinthians 13:5 says that love “seeketh not her own.” This means that, as husbands, we must die to ourselves and be willing to sacrifice our wants and desires for our wives.
Husbands Must Practice a Purifying Love
A passage in Ephesians 5:26–27 depicts the church as Jesus’ total focus while here on earth. Everything He did was for the best interests of the church. I believe this means for all of us husbands that we are responsible for how our wives live. We are to be sure they are learning the Word of God, and growing in His grace. We are to lead them in the Christian life, and demonstrate our dependence upon God, which in turn can build up their trust in both God and us!
Husbands Must Practice a Caring Love
When we read in Ephesians 5:28–33 that men should love their wives as their own bodies it simply means that because we already know how to care for our own selves, we ought to love and care for our wives in the same way. We should provide for them, protect them, and plan for them. But bear in mind that all women are not created the same! I can’t list the ten ways to properly care for your wife, because they may not apply to her. First Peter 3:7 says we are to “dwell with them according to knowledge.” This often is a lifelong process, so back to school men!
Husbands Must Practice an Inseparable Love
Ephesians 5:31 reiterates a quote from Genesis 2:24: “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.” Throwaway marriages are on the rise. Wives (and husbands) are being discarded with the same respect given to an empty Coke can: it’s not much good after you’ve gotten what you want out of it.
Marriage is a blessed institution, but it doesn’t come without a price. It takes hard work to have a successful marriage. Don’t give up on yours: though you may be miserable, there are greater heartaches down the road of divorce.
Resolve today that by the grace of God, you are going to be a better husband. God’s instructions are a guarantee for a good marriage if you will follow them. We can change if we let God do the work. There is nothing that the grace and blood of Jesus Christ can’t change.