How Christ Loved the Church

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…  (Eph. 5:25)

Today’s scripture follows one of the most misunderstood and misused lines in the bible: “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord” (v. 22).

Since I’m a husband, I’m not going to try to answer what it could possibly mean for a wife to be subject to her husband.  Instead, I want to focus on this question:  What would it mean for a husband to love his wife like Christ loved the church?

It would mean that they would wipe away their beloved’s tears while also regretting when they were the cause of those tears; that they would kneel before their wives to wash their tired feet; that they would honor their marriage bed as sacred ground.

It would mean that they would never take their wives for granted or use them; that they would pray for God’s help to be strong and tender husbands and fathers; that they would be committed to making their home a holy and safe haven; that they would forgive their wives without keeping score and ask for forgiveness without making excuses; that they would encourage their wives to be their best and hold them when they’re not.

It would mean that they would bless and pray for their wives every day; that they would be protective of their safety and welfare, knowing that they ultimately belong to God and not to them; that they would reserve some energy at the end of the day so that they didn’t bring home a “dead-man-limping”

It would mean that they would believe that after God is first in their life, their wife comes second—not work, hobbies, or buddies; that they would be willing to share the chores around the house because there’s no such thing as “women’s work”; that they would see their wife as their partner, as a gift from God, as their dearest friend.

And finally, it would mean that they would be willing to lay down their lives for their wives.

Husbands, I encourage us to love our wives like Christ loved the church. Husbands, until we love our wives like this—tenderly, passionately, and sacrificially—maybe we shouldn’t broach the subject of what it means for our wife to be subject to us.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Husbands: Have you ever expected, even demanded, that your wife be subject to you in ways that demeaned, bullied, or dishonored your wife?
  1. Husbands: What would it mean—specifically, concretely, and daily—for you to love your wife like Christ loved the church?
  1. Husbands and wives: Is your marriage a sanctuary or a battleground?  Is it filled more with kindness or contempt?  If it’s the latter, would you be willing to ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of your marriage?

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