Marriage (Part 5)

XIV. Consider the duty of the husband to love his wife. EPH 5:25-31. A. Loving a wife should be an instinctive thing but Paul nevertheless commands it. 1. love: v. To bear love to. 2. love: sb. That disposition or state of feeling with regard to a person which (arising from recognition of attractive qualities, from instincts of natural relationship, or from sympathy) manifests itself in solicitude for the welfare of the object, and usually also in delight in his presence and desire for his approval; warm affection, attachment. 3. solicitude: Anxious, special, or particular care or attention. 4. welfare: The state or condition of doing or being well; good fortune, happiness, or well-being (of a person, community, or thing); thriving or successful progress in life, prosperity. 5. The husband that truly loves his wife cares about her welfare, wants to be with her, cares about what she thinks of him, is fond of her, gives her particular attention, and is devoted to her, her happiness and her well-being. 6. This commandment establishes that a man's rule over his wife is to be wielded with a view to what is good for her. a. Nowhere can the rule of the husband be construed to be a club to gratify his lust for power, nor an excuse to debase or degrade his wife in demands, words or actions. b. Authority is for the edification (building up), not the destruction of others. 2CO 10:8. (1) Rulers must rule justly in the fear of God. 2SAM 23:3. (2) A wife needs to know that a husband's authority is being wielded for her good, not simply for his ego. (3) An appeal to the wife for love's sake may be a more preferable approach than dictating orders. PHM 1:8-9. c. Jesus Christ's model of authority was one of service. (1) (LUK 22:27) For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (2) Jesus described His Second Coming in terms of coming to serve. LUK 12:37. d. A common source of conflict is when what a husband thinks is best for his wife's well-being is contrary to what she thinks is best. (1) This is a case where a husband had better be guided by sober thought rather than base desires and emotions. (2) A wise leader will avoid impractical or unnecessary extremes in setting standards. PHIL 4:5; MAT 23:24. (3) A calm, rational discussion between spouses may be needed here. Those in authority do well to give ear to the opinions of those beneath them. 1CH 13:1-4. (4) Where a reasonable man has arrived at a reasonable conclusion, his wife should submit and not charge him with a lack of love and caring. What she errantly perceives as a lack of love is actually the true demonstration of love: he is doing what he is supposed to do in Marriage Page 15 obedience to God. e. Men, think not, “She is my slave, my puppet, my push-button automaton to satisfy my every whim.” f. Men, think, “She is my beloved wife, my flesh whom I nourish and cherish. Therefore my rule/control will be reasonable, benevolent and with due consideration of her needs. I will be firm where household order or vital principle is at stake. I will establish guidelines and boundaries within which she may freely operate and exercise considerable power. I will not relinquish my headship, but neither will I be a heartless tyrant. I will remember my Savior's love for me; His tender, compassionate rule over me, and make this my pattern.” g. The man who thinks that he can dictate orders to his wife like a drill sergeant grinding down boot-camp recruits is a fool who will likely generate alienation and mutiny, not loving submission. (1) This is destructive authority that will imperil her, the marriage and children. (2) By contrast, authority which manifests itself in loving consideration and care of a wife is far more likely to generate loving submission in her. B. Husbands are to love their wives “...even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (EPH 5:25). 1. Christ's giving of Himself for the church was as a sacrifice to God. EPH 5:2. a. This is how we perceive Christ's love for the church. 1JO 3:16. b. There is no greater love. JOH 15:13. c. How many stories have been told which revolve around the theme of a man who puts himself in harm's way even unto death to rescue the woman he loves? d. The gospel is the greatest love story ever told since it is the account of the greatest Man making the greatest sacrifice for the greatest purpose. 2. After Christ's pattern of sacrifice, so is a man to love his wife at a cost to himself. a. He does this by giving her time, affection, attention, communication, appreciation, money, leisure, his self. (1) A wife craves her husband's affection and attention. SON 1:2; 2:3-8. (2) She needs more from her husband than a paycheck. (3) She needs to be told and shown that she is loved, even as the church needs to be told and shown that Christ loves her. Think here of the personal value of Christ's love being communicated to us through the written and preached word, and shown through the ordinances that bring His love to mind. b. A husband should love his wife enough that he would die for her. c. A man who is unwilling to sacrifice himself should not marry. d. A woman should not marry a man who only thinks of himself and what he wants, regardless of how good-looking, charming or wealthy he is! e. On the practicality of such sacrificial love, Christian radio host and author Bob Levine observed: “It is often harder to live for your wife than it would be to die for her. It involves dying daily to your own desires and dreams.” (The Christian Husband, p. 167) 3. A husband's responsibility to love his wife does not cancel his responsibility to rule Marriage Page 16 her as her head. a. Loving a wife does not mean allowing her to always have her way. b. Nor does loving a wife mean that a husband should sacrifice all of his interests and hobbies to satisfy an overly possessive, controlling wife. To do this would make her the head! c. Christ loved the church sacrificially not to exalt it over Himself, but to save it and make it what He wanted for Himself. EPH 5:27; TIT 2:14. 4. Husbands: consider the significance of TIT 2:14. a. peculiar: That is one's own private property;... b. The church is called the purchased possession. EPH 1:14. c. She is obviously His most treasured possession: He spent all for her. He left glory for her, preferred her to angels, gave His life for her, and made her joint-heir of glory. ROM 8:17. d. Husbands should likewise deem their wives their greatest treasure, especially in light of MAT 6:21. If our wives are not genuinely a treasure to us, our hearts will not be towards them, and this cannot be hid. husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church is not going to be a tyrant. 5. A a. (PRO 28:16) The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. b. An oppressive husband shows a lack of understanding of the nature of true love. C. In His loving, sacrificing, and saving Headship of His wife, Christ exalts her. EPH 5:26-27. 1. He does NOT trample upon her, debase or humiliate her. The humiliation was His to bear. ACT 8:33. 2. A godly man will follow Christ's example by exalting his wife through his sacrificing of self-interest for her benefit. 3. He will NOT exploit his headship to the humiliation of his wife who is rather to be honoured. 1PE 3:7. 4. Mind that Christ's salvation of His church is “That he might present it to himself a glorious church...” (EPH 5:27). a. present: v. trans. To bring or place (a person) before, into the presence of, or under the notice of, another; to introduce, esp. formally or ceremoniously; spec. to introduce at court, or before a sovereign or other superior. b. Consider that Christ's love is a love that brings His bride under the notice of Himself. This speaks of attention. c. Men, do not discount the importance of giving due attention to your wives! D. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies...” (EPH 5:28). 1. so: In the way or manner described, indicated, or suggested; in that style or fashion. 2. Men ought to love their wives in the way that Christ loved the church, as already noted. a. A husband should give himself for his wife. b. A husband should present his wife to himself, bring her before his attention. c. A husband should so love his wife as to exalt her to her full potential. 3. When men love their wives as their own bodies, they love their wives as Christ loved the church. a. The church, the wife of Christ, is also the body of Christ. EPH 1:22-23. b. For a man to love his wife as his own body is to bestow upon his wife the Marriage Page 17 same care and consideration he bestows upon his own flesh. (1) NOTE: This obviously assumes a reasonable care of one's own flesh that is for its betterment. (2) The man who does not care about his own body or who mistreats his own body is not therefore justified in not caring for his wife. (3) Mind also that loving one's body means putting a check on its desires for its own good. 1CO 9:27. (4) The man who loves his wife thus will, FOR HER GOOD, have to do likewise sometimes. (5) It is not an act of nourishing, cherishing love to give into every desire of either one's body or one's wife. c. The man who thinks of his wife as only something to feed and comfort his body without bestowing the same regard for her body does NOT love his wife as Christ loved the church nor as he loves his own body. d. Paul even teaches that in marriage the wife has power over her husband's body just as the husband has power over her body. 1CO 7:3-5. (1) The husband should have the same regard for the needs of his wife as he expects her to have for his needs. (2) Men: you need respect, food, sex, liberty and rest. Fine. She needs those as well, plus affection, attention, appreciation, assurance, praise, compassion, kindness, protection, security, stability, etc. (3) This is a matter of due benevolence and failure to render that benevolence is defrauding one's spouse. [a] due: That is owing and payable, as an enforceable obligation or debt. [b] benevolence: Favourable feeling or disposition, as an emotion manifested towards another; affection; goodwill (towards a particular person or on a particular occasion). [c] defraud: To deprive (a person) by fraud of that which is his by right, either by fraudently taking or by dishonestly withholding it from him. Marriage Page 18
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