Four Critical Ways Every Husband Needs to Love His Wife

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Ephesians 5:25–33, ESV)

With A Sacrificial Love (Ephesians 5:25)

“Just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her”

Sacrificial love was demonstrated on the cross. Christ died for unlovable sinners while we were in the mire of our sins and enemies with God. Romans 5:7-8 says, “For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare to even die. But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Husband, this means that you are commanded to love your wife sacrificially even when you think that she is unworthy of such radical love.

Sacrificial love is a willingness to serve others. Christ demonstrated a servant’s attitude that was willing to give himself completely and totally to demonstrate his love. We can sometimes believe that we would be willing to give our lives for our wives, yet we fail in the everyday duties of serving our wife and family as Christ did. John 13:14 reminds us of the words of Christ, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” This further illustrates Paul’s point of mutual submission in Ephesians 5:21. In Philippians 2:7 we see our Savior himself setting the example for us, he who…“emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Sacrificial love is a willingness to lay down you own life for another. First John 3:16 describes love not in romantic terms, but in radical sacrifice. It says, “We know love by this, that He laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

With A Purifying Love (Ephesians 5:26-27)

Purifying love desires the best for the wife and wants to see her pure and undefiled. Husbands who discourage their wives in Bible reading, church attendance, serving in ministry, going to church functions where she can be edified and grow in Christ are undercutting this type of love. Husbands who encourage their wives to get involved in sin to allay their own guilt are also guilty of pulling down their house with their own hands. They are like those described in Romans 1:32 “they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Purifying love is exemplified in:

  • Husbands who are the spiritual leaders in their homes. (Eph. 5:23; 1Cor. 11:3; 14:35)
  • The husband leads by example-He is a godly man growing in maturity and obedience. 
  • Time spent in the word and prayer as a family (Eph. 6:4)
  • Time together at church worshipping together (Heb. 10:25; Deut 6:7)
  • Encouraging involvement in ministry and other activities
  • Confronting and confessing sin in loving and biblical manner (James 5:16)

With A Caring Love (Ephesians 5:28-30)

This is a love that not only sacrifices and purifies, but nurtures and embraces. Does this passage teach that we need to love ourselves before we can love others? No. It says we already love ourselves. Those who claim to hate themselves really don’t.

  • We feed ourselves.
  • We clothe ourselves.
  • We clean our bodies.
  • We avoid pain and abuse.
  • We protect ourselves from danger.
  • We give ourselves shelter from the elements

Nurturing can include providing in many ways:

  • Providing for the family by working hard at your job.
  • Providing housing, food and clothing (physical needs).
  • Providing security and protection.
  • Providing love and affection.
  • Providing attention and shared experiences.

With An Unbreakable Love (Ephesians 5:31-33)

  • A love that no man or woman can separate. This means, husbands that are still hanging on to their mama’s apron need to cut the strings. Wives that are still “Daddy’s girl” need to cling to their husband instead.
  • You need to cling to one another in the storms of life understanding that divorce is not an option. If you leave even the option of divorce as a possibility, that crack will widen when difficult times come.
  • Separation should be as impossible as Christ separating from His Church-Rom 8:38, 39.

Three Lessons from a Sack Lunch

But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”” (Matthew 14:16, ESV)

I think that the strangest and most puzzling parts of the Bible sometimes yield the best gems when we take the time to ponder their meaning. Take for instance the above passage, where Jesus insists that the disciples feed the crowd of 5,000 men even though he knew that they couldn’t do it, and knowing that he would feed them himself a few moments later.

Why would Jesus say this? Why would he put such a gigantic responsibility upon the disciples to do what they couldn’t do? I think could be three possible reasons, and with each reason a lesson for us:

1. He wanted his disciples to learn compassion for the people, as he had.

Two verses easier Jesus is described as feeling compassion for the large crowds gathered. His healing ministry was an outgrowth of this compassion. Although it may be that the disciples had compassion, large crowds and the consuming needs of this crowds can begin to gnaw at the best of people. The needs were overwhelming and yet, Jesus continuously had compassion for the sea of humanity and their needs.

Whether it is Los Angeles, Chicago, Mumbai, Caracas, Tokyo, or Melbourne, the megacities of our world are teeming with hurting people. Sometimes Christians avoid the cities because the needs are so great, but Jesus felt compassion because the needs are great. And the needs are greater than the need for only bread and fish. They are lost and need the gospel.

2. He wanted the disciples to learn to come to him for the needs of others.

Of course the disciples didn’t have enough food to deed an estimated 20,000 people! That’s about the capacity of Madison Square Garden in New York City! But the disciples needed to learn that the five little barley loaves and two small fishes were not their only resources. Their greatest resource was looking them in the eyes and telling them to do the impossible. But they could not see beyond their small abilities.

So many pastors and churches are like those disciples. The city is so big. The sin is so great. The hearts are too hard. The church is too small and weak. We do not have enough resources and our power is weak. YES!! In ourselves we do not have enough. But we are not by ourselves. We must learn to go to our heavenly Father with our needs and ask of him on behalf of the communities we serve. He wants us to ask! He does not expect us to serve the needs of the world in our own strength.

3. He wanted them to see the power he would demonstrate once they came the end of their own meager resources.

There is no biblical record of the reaction the disciples had when they saw the crowd eat their fill. Nothing is said about what the twelve thought as they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. We can only guess, and it isn’t a wild stretch to say that they must have been awestruck. What sort of power, compassion, and love had they just observed? They would need this memory to carry them after the ascension to remind them that no matter how meager their own strength and resources would be, Jesus Christ was enough.

The Western Church can have a hard time realizing that without Jesus we can do nothing. We think that our programs, buildings, crusades, media, and education almost guarantee our success. And when these don’t seem to do the trick, we quickly switch to something that will work. That’s the American entrepreneurial spirit at work–which has taken our country far, but has no place in the Church.

It is only when we sense our weakness and need for Christ in everything we do that we will see and benefit from his empowering and grace. And when that happens, we will be certain to stand in awe as the disciples knowing that there was nothing we contributed to the things we are witnessing. All glory will go to God alone, and that’s the way it should be.