The Strong Shelter of a Husband's Love
Husbands, when we read Paul's exhortation that we should love our wives "as Christ also loved the church" (Ephesians 5:25), that should give us pause. Why? Because that's a standard we can't attain. That's why he gave a second directive: "Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (v. 28). Now that we can do. These verses give four characteristics of the kind of love we're called to provide for our wives.
Sacrificial Love: Developing a sheltering love for your wife begins with recognizing the sacrificial nature of what Jesus did and why He did it: He let Himself be killed so you could have eternal life. If you're serious about loving your wife like Christ loved the church, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices for her. Maybe you're thinking, I would take a bullet for her! That's fantastic, but will you also make all the little day-to-day sacrifices short of that? Will you get into her orbit, find out what she really wants, and then do it, even when it's not easy?
Sanctifying Love: Jesus' sacrifice had a deeper purpose behind it: sanctification, the process of learning to live with His Spirit, life, and love guiding us (see vv. 26-27). To sanctify simply means to set something apart to be used for its original purpose. In that sense, a husband is to sanctify his wife by helping her grow and mature, supporting and loving her as she fulfills her role in the relationship.
Secure Love: When you love your wife sacrificially and sanctify her to fulfill her purpose, you give her security. And when your wife feels secure in your love, she will feel good about respecting you, submitting to your leadership, and supporting your decisions. In that same vein, make sure she knows that she is beautiful and special to you. Tell her she is yours and you are hers. It doesn't matter if she's managing your household, running a company, or doing both; your love secures her like nothing else the world can offer.
Stable Love: Typically a man puts his best foot forward while he's dating the woman he loves and then starts coasting once he marries her. But when you neglect romancing, nurturing, and sacrificing for your wife, things fall apart. No sacrifice leads to no sanctification, and that weakens your wife's sense of security and undermines the stability of your marriage.
Providing a strong, sheltering love for your wife takes time and energy, but it's worth it. Consistently loving her well will stabilize your relationship, allowing God to work in the two of you to build the oneness He wants in your marriage.
Tip #7: Time is of the essence, so spend a lot of time with your spouse. It's more valuable than getting that promotion, making another buck, or hanging out with your buddies. Solomon wisely reminded us that there is "a time to love" (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Learn the value of time. Don't waste it.