With having established what a marriage is and what it is not, I will begin to look at the people in the marriage. The first will be the husband. I have chosen to look at the role of the husband first because it is he that the bible begins talking about first in Genesis.
After making Adam, God knew that he needed a helpmate–a wife–to help him out. God then created Eve. Immediately after giving Adam Eve God said: “For this reason a man will his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh”. (Genesis 2:24). Jesus repeats these same words thousands of years later when talking to some Pharisees about marriage and divorce (Matthew 19:5). Paul later also repeats these words in Ephesians 5:31. Being repeated several times shows that these words are important and must be heeded.
Notice in this verse that the man and woman will become ‘one flesh‘. This shows that in a marriage there is no longer ‘me’ and ‘you’ or ‘him’ and ‘her’. The two are together. It is not all about him, nor is it all about her. There is no selfishness allowed in a marriage.
Often men feel as that because they are to be the head of the household, they are the boss and it is all about them and their desires. They rule the wife and the household like a dictator demanding everything their way. This cannot be further from the truth of what marriage is supposed to be like.
Although God is in absolute control, He is not a God who is an extreme dictator, ruling with an iron fist. He is a God who is loving and compassionate, looking out for the best for each one He is over. Marriage is working together as one, helping each other out.
Now I shall look at just how a husband is to love his wife and treat her.
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. Ephesians 5:25-27
Paul tells the husbands to love their wives. He pushes that issue strongly and gives an example of how they are supposed to love their wives–just as Jesus loved the church.
So, how did Jesus love the church? With a perfect, self-sacrificing, undying love. Think about this for a moment. How much did Jesus love the church or people? It was while people hated Him, while they did not want anything to do with Him, while they were beating Him and pounding nails into His hands and feet that He loved them. Jesus gave Himself up for the church. He did not have to do this, but chose to do it because of His great love for the church.
There is absolutely nothing that you have done that should make God love you at all. In fact, with everything you have done, you deserve God’s most extreme wrath of punishment. Yet, God loved you, Jesus loved you enough to pay the price for your sins and set you free from condemnation and judgement. This is extreme love.
Husbands you are to love your wives in this very same way.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:28-29
What does it mean then to love the wife? It is to feed and care for her. This is doing the same that every man does for himself, he feeds and takes care of himself. It is to work at meeting her needs, no matter what those needs are.
God feeds and cares for you. He provides physical food for you to eat to nourish your physical body. He also provides spiritual food to provide for your spirit and make it alive.
In the beginning God created the earth and all that is in it to provide for the physical needs of mankind. Later, Jesus died upon the cross to provide for the spiritual needs of man. God went all the way to help mankind out in every way needed and possible. There was no limit to His provision or love, both are endless, eternal.
Men, instead of putting yourself and selfish desires first, put your wife first. The only one that should be before your wife in your life is God. God first, then your wife. When you put God first, putting your wife next will be easy. When you take your eyes off of God, you become selfish and putting your wife next will be nearly impossible and you will fail.
Every day you must ask yourself how you can help your wife be the best that she can be for God and others in this world. Ask yourself how you can meet her needs first, before working to meet your own needs.
The best way to do this is to seek God’s direction. God will show you how to help your wife. Then trust God to meet your needs as you trust Him to help you meet her needs. This is real love. Remember that God is all about love. God is love (1 John 4:8) It is because of love that God created this world. It is because of love that Jesus died upon the cross. It is because of love that Jesus forgives us of our sins.
Your marriage must be about love, not just sexual love, but true love. Love that puts the other person first. Love that is self-sacrificing. Love that is forgiving. Love that is patient. Love that is not easily angered. Love that does not remember wrongs done. Love that does not dishonor. Love that is not proud or boasting. Love that is not easily angered. Love that always protects. Love that always trusts. Love that always hopes. Love that always perseveres. Love that never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
This type of love is not easy, but it is what is best. There will be tough times. Your wife will hurt you at times. There will be challenges and disagreements. Jesus loves you even though you hurt Him at times. Every time you sin, you hurt Jesus, yet, He still loves you.
Yet, love will persevere and strive to keep going. Love will triumph in the end.
Men, love your wife. Love her as Christ loves you. As you love her and put her above yourself, you will have a much better marriage. You will also have a marriage that God wanted you to have.
Thank you for staying with me as I continue to look at marriage. Next week I will look at the wife’s role in a marriage.