Husbands Love Your Wives

People are often pictorial in their thinking. We may not be very good with amorphous concepts which consist only of words, but when we attach the words to an image the words make sense. For instance, the idea of a “singularity in space and time whose escape velocity exceeds the speed of light” makes more sense when described as a “black hole”. The mind went from a mathematical construction right to an image of a swirling mass of darkness with maybe a little spaceship being pulled into the vortex.

God often employs illustrations to get us to understand what he’s
talking about…be it inanimate objects (the tabernacle) or living
advertisements (Pharoah). One particular illustration in the New
Testament has an incredible double-edge. The word-picture paints a
mural of love for husbands to learn from and at the same time forms
part of the greater canvas of Christ’s love for the Church.


I speak, of course, of {{Ephesians 5:25-32}}…probably one of the most read  passages of scripture next to {{1 Corinthians 13}}. So often read, in fact,that it is possible to miss some of the intimate details of the
passage. Some have taken these verses and applied them to men’s dark
moods (especially after work) and have pointed out that men should be
kind to their wives.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify
her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He
might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or
wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So
husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who
loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE
HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO
SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with
reference to Christ and the church. ({{Ephesians 5:25-32}})

“Husbands, love your wives…” seems to imply the idea
of men being friendly, but this is only the tip of the major iceberg
these four small words are saying. Husbands, specifically being
addressed, are called to perform their duty as the head of the
household ({{Ephesians 5:23}}). Not to be confused with the idea of head as teacher or spiritual leader (although both are implied) the thrust is
as a sacrificial deliverer. In this duty of sacrificial deliverer where
the man is to lay down of himself for the woman, a man may find his
commitment waning. Therefore the commandment to love, not in the
brotherly-and-kind-love sense (although that is definitely included) but
specifically the ]moral imperative of constant active love based not on the recipient to receive or continue that love but on the constancy of the giver of that love with abundant emotion] (agape).

Some have taken agape to mean unconditional and that is not the thrust of the verb. Philein love is that love which finds warmth by the warmth emanating from the other person. It is reciprocal. Eros
love is that love which finds fire in the physical depths of a
person…it doesn’t consider the warmth of friendliness but the fire of
the passion. Agape is not based on the worth of the recipient, though it might include it,…it is grounded in the mind and unified with action and bubbles with emotion.

The warmth of the love of friendship within the husband and wife is then an imperative which springs forth from this  love. The passion of eros (never used in the Bible) is one which springs forth from this love, seeking not ones own eros but the other’s eros.

Paul draws a parallel to another head and another body, Christ and
the Church. Christ gave Himself entirely for the Church, no concern for
Himself and with a specific purpose. “To sanctify the Church,”
says Paul and this should resonate within husbands for he doesn’t end
there with what this sanctifying mean. It was the washing of the Church
with the water of the word so that she may be spotless and presented to
Him without spot or blemish.

Although the idea of being a spiritual head is implied, the focus is
on the man’s imperative to have a self-less love. Not by pulling out
every speck from her eye or picking out her faults, but sacrificing of
self to the point that she finds herself rejoicing in submitting to his
lead. Not presented in mere words but in everyday, constant, selfless
action. Not puffing himself up because he is so self-less and
self-sacrificing but in complete unadulterated humility and meekness.

She wants to go to a woman’s conference? Take her. The family needs
to be led in prayer every evening? Do it. She needs to go to the
doctor? Take off of work and take her. There are dishes in the sink and
you’ve done them for twelve nights? Do them again. Not out of duty but out of actual feeling! Erase the idea of roles with limits, as if the dishes is woman’s work and the trash is man’s work. Once men realize the upper heights of what it is to have agape towards one’s wife, there should inevitably be fear because of the grandness of this concept. Doing for her and enjoying it! I don’t get it but it’s right there.

Men are to nourish their wives in every single conceivable and
inconceivable way. The idea that the God of heaven would presence
Himself here on earth and die for rebellious men, for the very people
at the foot of the cross who taunted Him and scorned Him should make
men shudder at the profundity of what they’re being called to do. It is
to cherish and nourish in ways we haven’t thought of and to seek out
new ways to do this. If the men can’t find the way, they are to
ask—either their wives or other spiritual men but above all the Lord in
Heaven.

In light of doing this, men can become the very imitators of God
which Paul is addressing in the beginning of the chapter (Eph 5:1-2).
An action that renders a sweet smelling aroma so that others around may
turn at the beauty of the fragrance and see a man in his proper role as
head and husband, giving himself for his wife.

-r-

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