“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:28
So, as men we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? He surrendered his life and underwent the most painful experience imaginable so that the church could be born, could thrive and produce life. He submitted himself to the father’s will and lovingly embraced that experience for the establishment of the church. So then, as men we are to sacrifice ourselves every day for the betterment, establishment and survival of our wives. By submitting his will to the father’s he essentially said, “O.K, it’s not about what I want.” Men, in order to love your wives, you have to realise that it’s not about what you want. It’s about what she needs.
This might sound one sided but if we continue reading in the scripture we see that Christ ultimately presents the church as a cleansed bride back to himself. His sacrificial love ultimately benefits himself as the birth and growth of the kingdom brings him glory and honour and praise. So too, then, will our sacrificial love for our wives ultimately bring about a greater benefit for ourselves. Remember that when you marry you become one flesh and so you must think of your spouse as an extension of your own person. What benefits her, is ultimately a benefit to your own person.
If we look back to verse 21 we get a fuller picture of what this looks like. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Our definition of submission is to present for the approval, consideration or decision of another or others; consideration of each other. Husbands are to be considerate of their wives and submit themselves to them in the same way that Christ submitted himself to the father’s will for the benefit of the church.
So loving your wife means submitting to them, or being considerate of them and presenting yourself for their approval. In so doing you will earn the respect, love and honour of your wife in a way that you couldn’t do if you only sought your own benefit.
Terry & Julie Scott