This Week’s Passage: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
As I pondered this passage this week I was reminded of a way that I should love my wife that I was already familiar with. And I observed a way of loving my wife that I had overlooked all these years. The power of pondering!
I should love my wife sacrificially – This is the way I was already familiar with. When I do premarital coaching this is what I talk about with couples. This does not mean, however, that I am good at practicing it. What I note is that it is imperative for the sake of my marriage that I think often and deeply on the cross. That I think intensely about the love that drove Christ to the cross. That I think thoroughly about why Christ had to go to the cross. That I think seriously about what the cross accomplished on my behalf. That I think about the profound sacrifice that Christ made to “save a wretch like me.” The better acquainted I am with Christ’s sacrificial love demonstrated so purposefully on the cross the better I will do at sacrificially loving my wife.
3 words come to mind that help me think about putting this into practice: 1) initiate – The husband is to be the initiator of sacrificial love as Christ was for His bride the church, 2) intentional – The sacrificial love of Christ had intentionality – to bridge the gap that existed between sinners and God. As husbands to our wives we are to love with intentionality – to bring our wives into deeper relationship with God, 3) incarnational – our sacrificial love is to be fleshed out in real and practical ways. It is to be more than just saying “I love you” – it is showing “I love you”… just s Christ did.
I should love my wife selfishly – Seriously, that’s what the text says. I had never really noticed this before or given it much thought. The one time the Bible calls us to be selfish is when it has to do with demonstrating love for our wife. Go back and read verse 28. And then note in verse 31 the reminder that when we are married we are “one flesh” with our wives. And because we are one flesh the statement “I love me some me!” takes on a whole new meaning. Now, loving myself means that we selfishly (or perhaps selflessly) look after the needs of our wives – because by so doing we are looking after our own needs – and that is by nature what we do best. So it seems that when we understand what it really means to be one flesh with our wives then we can be as selfish as we want to – at least when it comes to showing love to our wife.
So here are my summary take home points from this passage. Look to the cross and love sacrificially. Understand the one flesh principle and love selfishly. They both make perfect sense in light of the gospel.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 6:1-4