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Relationships 101 - Husbands and Wives Pt2 


Ephesians 5:25-33 

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 and that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 In this way men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord cares for the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I am speaking about Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.




This passage is a challenging one, Paul compares the marriage covenant between a man and a woman with the relationship Jesus has with His followers. The language of marriage is often used in that way in scripture. That language is somewhat metaphorical in that the marriage covenant illustrates the closest we get to understanding the fullness of our relationship with Jesus. Even Paul writes that this is a great mystery. 


But that’s not the direction we are going today, we are talking about relationships. Last week we discussed the command in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives submit to your own husband as unto the Lord”. That is a challenging topic to present tactfully and challenging to apply. Although a challenging topic, it’s easy to understand. 


Husbands, love your wives, which is at the centre of what we are talking about today, is easier to talk about, there is likely a willingness to make an application, and it sounds simple enough, but it’s a somewhat complicated topic. The way a husband loves his wife is complicated because women are complicated creatures. They require time, experience, understanding and nuance. 


Men tend to be more straightforward. I’ve seen men compared to a plain wall with one switch in it, on and off. And then women compared to the cockpit of a passenger jet, dials and switches everywhere.


To muddy the waters a little more, in the Bible, there are several different words that are translated as the one word “love”. Words that describe unconditional love, brotherly love, friendship. We mostly use the same word for those different kinds of love. We understand the implied meaning by the context in which we use the word.  If I say I love steak, you know what I mean. You also know what I mean if I say I love my wife. You understand what I mean by the context in which I use the word. 


When we read, Husbands love your wives, it seems pretty simple, but it means many things. I John 4:8 says, Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. These two verses show us the love that God is and the Love that God shows. That’s the same kind of love, the same word used in Ephesians 5:25, Husbands “love” your wives.  The Bible compares that love with the love of Christ, “Just as Christ, God in the flesh, also loved the church and gave himself for it.”


A husband’s love for his wife is self-sacrificial 


The Bible shows that the example for a husband to follow is the self-sacrificial love of Jesus. A husband’s love for his wife is a love that drives him to love his wife in such a way that he gives his life over to her well-being in a sacrificial way. This kind of love is made manifest in a husband who is living in submission to the Lord. And men doing that make last week’s post an easy pill to swallow. We are going to break down and illustrate self-sacrifice love in 3 ways.


A Husband’s love for his wife is one of passion


The first one is this, there is a kind of love that is passion. The word for that is eros, like erotic. A husband loves his wife with a passionate, romantic love. We often think of love as a feeling or emotion. And this kind of love sits well in that space. 


But there’s also the cultural idea that it must not be right if you don’t feel it or it’s not happening. But even passionate love requires effort. Love is similar to faith in that faith is more than intellectual understanding or belief. It’s the courage to humble ourselves and act on what God says is true. Do husbands really love their wives if they don’t act like they love their wives? Even passionate love involves more than just emotional feelings.  


How do you love your wife passionately? Remember, it is also self-sacrificial love, it’s more than just feeling passionate. If you’ve been married for a while, you’ll track well with me on this. Not unlike the tendency for people to think that love is only an emotional feeling that happens when you find the right person, people also tend to think that passion is something that is spontaneous. It just happens, and if that’s not the case, then something is wrong, or you married the wrong person. You didn’t marry the wrong person. When you have kids and chores and jobs and life happens, and you’re running kids here and there, dinner needs to be made, lunches packed, laundry, jobs, and so on if you are relying on spontaneity in the passion part of your marriage, you will find that it won’t be long before the passion and romance part of your marriage starts to circle the drain. 


At the end of a long day, passion becomes a very low priority for both the husband and the wife. Something important to understand is that a man can be very tired and still say, “I’m feeling pretty passionate”. But that’s not the same thing as self-sacrificial passionate love it’s more of a base desire. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It can be a driver to help a husband demonstrate self-sacrificial passionate love.  


A wife generally doesn’t respond well to a husband’s desire for sex at the end of a long day, and her husband can become frustrated. Then he’s less likely to express love, which becomes a bad cycle.  What do you do about that?


Communicating is the first step. And a husband and wife must understand that passion is not only spontaneous. It’s nice when it is, but it’s not always that. Sometimes you need to plan it.  It’s what a husband does that shows love. That’s where the love becomes self-sacrificial, the time and the effort you put into it.


One of the things that My wife and I have always done in our marriage is about twice a year, we go away. I’m the one who plans it. And someone might say, but it’s so expensive to do that. Yes, it’s a sacrifice and an investment in loving your wife. That may mean spending money. 


Taking my wife away is expensive. I could have bought some pretty amazing tools for my shop with the money we’ve spent on going away over the years. But loving my wife passionately has been a sound investment in our marriage, which carries over to an investment in our family, church and society.


Here’s a scenario that might give a husband a starting point. You come home and bring your wife a gift. It might just be something small, but you know she likes it. Something just for her. Doing that says not only do I love you, but I pay enough attention to know what you like. 


She says, “oh, that’s wonderful, thank you, I better go start dinner”. You say, don’t worry about that, I booked at that place you like. What about the kids? I called your mum, she’s going to take them. Why don’t you get ready? I’ll take the kids through the drive-through and drop them at grandmas house. Because you are competent and planned well, you made the booking for a time you know would give her plenty of time to get ready. 


And then, just before you leave with the kids, you lean over and say, and pack a bag, I got us a room for the night. That’s much work and a lot of planning and expense. But that’s one example of self-sacrificial, passionate love. That’s one of many ways to express that love; it doesn’t always have to be that elaborate. 


If we go back to Ephesians 5:22 and talk about wives submitting to their own husbands as unto the Lord, what would that look like? It wouldn’t look like, a wife saying, we can’t afford that, it’s too much trouble, and I don’t want to leave the kids. It would look her saying wow, you really made a big effort. You must really love me. It means a wife putting on something she feels good in and enjoying herself. 


A husband's love for his wife is one of uncritical satisfaction.


I have a few favourite books that I use for the majority of my study. They’re older books I think the newest one was published in the 1950s. One of them defined the love that a husband has for his wife as a love of complacency. No doubt there are wives, who would say, my husband is pretty complacent. 


When I think of complacency, I think of not paying attention. The way we use words changes over time. The book I was using was written 70 years ago, so I dug around and found a dictionary definition of the word complacency from the 1950s, and it defined complacency as a feeling of uncritical satisfaction.  There you go, A husband's love for his wife is one of uncritical satisfaction. But then, what does that look like in real life?  


One way might be when a husband rolls over first thing in the morning and tells his wife she is beautiful. His wife thinks you’re out of your mind, I just woke up, my hair is a mess, and I don’t have any makeup on, I don’t feel beautiful right now. When a man tells his wife she is beautiful, he means it, even if his wife doesn’t feel like that’s true. 


Last week, we talked about wives submitting to their own husbands as unto the Lord. This is a great illustration of how that can look in real life. When a husband loves his wife with uncritical satisfaction and tells her she is beautiful, even when she doesn’t feel like it, an example of submission would be believing what he says. My wife has decided to believe me when I tell her that, or at least believe that I think that. 


 A husband's love for his wife is a love of fondness and affection


A husband's love for his wife is also a love of fondness and affection. A husband loves his wife passionately, he loves his wife with uncritical satisfaction, and he also loves her as his family.


If you have a brother or sister that you are close to, the love a husband has for his wife is similar. This kind of love is characterised by its strength and duration. Not just the strength of the feeling but the strength that leads to endurance. If you have siblings, they remain your siblings, no matter what. Even if you don’t get along, even if they annoy you, they are still your blood relatives, there’s nothing you can do about it.


That is the attitude of the love a husband has for His wife in a marriage covenant. It’s like you are blood relatives, and nothing can change that. As the Bible says, they become one flesh. A husband is committing to that kind of love self-sacrificially. 


In this kind of love a husband is saying and demonstrating to his wife that she has complete security in his love and the only thing that will take that love away is his death. When a husband loves his wife like that in a marriage covenant, the submission to his leadership we discussed last week seems sensible. It seems reasonable and becomes infinitely more doable. 


I know and understand that people will say, in this marriage that happened, and this marriage disintegrated and so on, but I guarantee that in each of those situations, someone transgressed the boundaries of the marriage covenant, probably both the husband and the wife. Whether it was infidelity, a lack of love, or whatever if a marriage disintegrates it’s because someone went outside the boundaries of the marriage covenant, and that likely began with disregarding God as part of the marriage covenant. 


A marriage that stays within God’s good boundaries for the marriage covenant will not fail. It can’t fail, A marriage that stays within God’s boundaries for the marriage covenant is indestructible. That’s a bold statement, but I believe it’s true. 


Marriage within the boundaries of the marriage covenant is indestructible. It has to be because everything else is built on it—family, church, culture and society.


 A husband’s love for his wife is self-sacrificial


A husband's love for his wife is, passionate, it’s a love of uncritical satisfaction, a love of fondness and affection, and those all come together in self-sacrificial love. 


Again Verse 25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it”. That’s the ultimate example of how a husband loves his wife. All of the ways a husband loves his wife follow the self-sacrificial example of Jesus.