The book of Ephesians speaks very powerfully to three areas of our life: marriage, parenting and jobs/career (see Eph 5:22-6:9).
Ephesians 5:33 states "…let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Paul speaks on marriage and uses the illustration of Jesus and the Church. Men are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church. What does that look like? Jesus laid down his life for his bride. As men and women, we want to preserve our lives, but in marriage we give up our lives for our spouse. Jesus gave up his life for you.
HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES
Paul refers to the original instructions regarding marriage that are found in Genesis. These 24 words that are the key: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Eph. 5:31). There are three elements here:
- Cleave ("hold fast")
- Become one
Paul calls for men to love their wife and for wives to respect your husbands (v. 33 is drawn from Gen. 2:24).
Paul tells the men to do three things. First is to LEAVE. Leave anything that does not contribute to your oneness. Second, men are to "CLEAVE" (King James Version). This means the husbands are to aggressively cleave to or pursue your wife. This is what it means to love her. It is about a commitment. As you do commit to one another, you BECOME ONE. Commitment allows love to be sustained. You behave your way into feelings; you don’t feel your way into behavior.
Ephesians and Genesis place the bulk of marriage responsibility on men. It is the husband who takes the responsibility of leadership in a good marriage. The husband’s great priority is to love and lead his wife. Many men are afraid to lead. They’ve not been trained and they easily err toward passivity, abdication or domination.
Practical steps in "cleaving" or loving
In marriage, there are many ways for a man to love his wife. Here are some practical ways for a man to genuinely express love his wife. Here are some suggestions:
- Affection Hold her and accept her. Pursue her and surprise her with a gift. You may want to express public affection. Put her first and remember the little things! (Yes, they matter!)
- Connection through communication Be attentive when she talks to you and look at her. Smile when you talk and answer her questions. Treat her as an equal. Be sure to listen and don’t instinctively try to "fix" her problem. Call her and tell her when you’re going to be late, laugh together and pursue her!
- Honesty Enough said.
- Openness Share your life with her. Value her and be open to share your feelings.
- Financial support As a leader in the home, you are to provide for her well-being.
- Family commitment She appreciates your involvement with the children. Help her around the house. This goes a long way in showing her how much you love her!
Men, it’s time to rise up and follow Christ’s example in your marriage. Lay down your life and pursue your wife!