Paul calls the Christian man to love and lead his wife (Eph. 5:22-33). In the next video we’ll look at leading; in this one we’ll look at loving. If you’re not married, keep watching, because it’s never too early to learn how to love and lead your future wife. We are to love our wives in two ways.
First we are to love them as our own bodies (v. 28-29). Think of how you look after your body, how much you think about it, protect it, and develop it. ‘Nourish’ and ‘cherish’ translate two of the most tender words available in the Greek language.
- Nourishingis about feeding with a view to flourishing and growth in every area of her life: physical, intellectual, emotional, recreational, social, and spiritual.
- Cherishing is about keeping warm, as a bird puts her wing over its young to protect and treasure.
Second, we are to love as Christ loved the church (v. 25). This is an even higher standard than loving our wife as our own body. It means we are to love her more than anyone else. We are to love her exclusive of all other women. We are to love her practically. We are to love her appreciatively, praising her whenever possible. We are to love her graciously, not just when she attracts us, but even when she offends us. We are to love her sacrificially, giving up time, money, energy, talents for her.
What does this look like practically?
Best friends. Given the choice of anyone to hang out with, choose your wife. There’s no one, male or female, who should come anywhere close to being a rival ‘best friend forever.’ You don’t need to do date nights to prove this. Best friends are just as happy enjoying one another’s company in the sitting room, in the yard, or in the car.
Spiritual fellowship. Talk about what God is doing in your lives and teaching you through his Word and works. That spiritual intimacy is the bedrock of every marriage. Read the Bible together, pray together, and share together from your personal devotions and reading.
Regular study. Once a year read a book about marriage together. Sometimes you will learn nothing new, but we always need to relearn old things.
Clear roles. Follow the Bible’s teaching on what kind of roles and responsibilities the husband and wife should have. Don’t worry about her obedience. Worry about your love. If you love her, leading her will be so much easier for both of you. Regularly discuss who is responsible for what.
Time. Try to be home as many evenings as possible, especially at mealtimes. Get technology under control so that it is not interrupting the family meal or the evening time together. Take one full day off a week and make it a general rule to devote that day to your wife and family. Take your full vacation time and again, use it to strengthen your marriage and family relationships.
Communication. Talk about everything. Set apart at least 30 mins, ideally an hour, most evenings just to be with one another and talk to one another, even if it’s nothing important. If weather permits, why not combine this with a walk to improve your health.
Encourage. Tell her what you love about her. Tell her what she’s doing well. Make sure you do this at least five times more than pointing out what she’s doing wrong.
Same bedtime. Try go to bed together at the same time most of the time, and pray together before you sleep.
Lots of laughter. If we’ve gone too long without a laugh, one of us will say, “Hey, we need to lighten up a bit.”
Vital vocabulary. The most important words in any marriage are: ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I forgive you,’ and ‘I love you.’ Try to say them as often as you can.
Remember, 1 Peter 3:7 warns us that we cannot flourish spiritually if we neglect our wives. Our spiritual life is directly connected to our married life.
Real men love their wives.
Description: Two biblical models for loving our wives.
- List five ways in which you show love to your own body. Then think about how that can translate to love your wife as your own body.
- List five practical ways in which Christ loved the Church. Then think about how that can translate to loving your wife as Christ loved the Church.
- How much time in the week do you spend cultivating friendship with your wife? How does that compare with before you were married? What can you do to change this?