“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
The above passage is one that I think all men who either are or intend to one day be married should study. In our culture, and especially among my brethren in the Southern Baptist Convention, Christians seem to always remember and (ab)use Ephesians 5.22 (“Wives, submit to your own husbands . . .“) and yet we completely neglect the much longer passage focused directly on what the man’s responsibility is in the marriage which occurs a few verses down. The biggest problem is that I think many husbands simply forget to “love their wife.” Instead, they view their wife as a commodity to be prized and manipulated to serve their own interest, but not as someone who is deserving of love. It’s not even that their wife has done something which merits her being loved, but just by the fact of her being married to him he is called to show her the love which Jesus showed in himself for his bride the Church. If men spent more time trying to practice that then their wives would be more inclined to demonstrate the biblical submission which we try to force on them.
So, as I reflect on the past two years of being married to my best friend, I want to echo the apostle Paul’s words to all the guys: Husbands, love your wives; be imitators of Christ and give your life for the pleasure of your spouse, so that she can be secure knowing that she is loved!