Ephesians 5 teaches husbands to love their wives and often times we see this in Scripture and we can get easily discouraged because husbands get distracted by work, friends, hobbies, and end up doing a poor job.
We see this echoed in 1 Peter as it calls husbands to love their wives in an understanding way, however, this is going to end in frustration because husbands don’t naturally do this. We naturally treat them like a younger brother and try to wrestle with them, like a co-worker and bark orders at them, like a friend and make sarcastic comments, but we don’t naturally love them and live with them in an understanding way.
It is only when we experience someone loving us and living with us in an understanding way will we be able to share that experience with someone else. How could we possibly give to someone what we haven’t experienced. Therefore, husbands loving their wives starts with Jesus.
Jesus understands us…Scripture says He was tempted in every way, He entered into human history, took on the role of a servant, stepped out of the heavenlies, was tired, hungry, and sleepy. He understands us. He created us. He also understands we are more fragile, weaker, but also very valuable because He gave His life for us on the cross. When we draw close to Jesus and experience Him loving us and living with us in an understanding way we will be able to share that with others.
What does this look like practically? For example, in my marriage I have found that when I draw close to Jesus there are a few things I experience that empower me to love my wife:
Listening: This means when our wives speak we will find ourselves listening to them. We will listen to them because we have been talking to Jesus and He has been listening to us.
Sometimes I will do a horrible job of not listening. I will cut her off, tell her to get to the point, tell her there are too many details. Jesus doesn’t do that to us. Jesus doesn’t say c’mon I got a lot of stuff to do, get to the point. He listens. We think it makes us look smart to give an answer before they finish the question and Proverbs teaches that it is folly and shame to give an answer before you hear you the question. It doesn’t make us look smart, it makes us look rude.
Tenderness: When we draw close to Jesus and we see how sensitive He is to us to point out our sin in an understanding way, in love. When we experience that in Jesus we will find ourselves showing tenderness to our wives.
Development: Remember Scripture is teaching us to live with them in an understanding way and a wife wants to know when she got married and had kids that she doesn’t feel like she threw her life away. We don’t want our wives thinking, “What could I have been before I met you?” No, we want them to blossom in marriage. We want to put time into it, money into it, and she is like a flower in a garden that we get to cultivate and we want to see her blossom in character, in depth with Jesus, in compassion for others, and become a more Godly woman.
Esteem: The last one is esteem. Esteem is when we treat someone as valuable and Jesus thought we were so valuable that He gave His life for us. As a husband God has given us a unique role to affirm our wife and esteem her with beauty, her character, and her kindness and we did this when we were dating and she thought this was going to happen the entire marriage, but we get distracted and maybe we start to think that we stopped loving each other. Our culture is confused on love and doesn’t understand the love that comes through Jesus. We know sentimental love that is fueled by feelings that come and go. We know sexual love, which really isn’t love, but basically two people using each other, but Jesus introduces us to a love that is efficacious, a love that affects us, and transforms us. Our marriages don’t need sexual love or sentimental love, but an efficacious love that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Those are some practical ways we can love our wives, but it starts with experiencing that in our relationship with Jesus first and drawing close to Him.