“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”Ephesians 5:25
My teenage son looks forward to being married someday. It’s funny, he has since he was a little guy. He’s been saying for years that he wants to live with his wife in a big house with a big family.
And I know he’s watching me to see how being a husband and a dad is supposed to work. What I “preach” about these roles isn’t nearly as important as what I do in front of him on a daily basis.
Every now and then my son and I talk about what it means to be a husband and a father from a biblical standpoint. Since our culture has gone completely adrift in this respect, we try to remember to check societal trends against the enduring truths of God’s Word.
We talk about how the Bible says that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her (Ephesians 5:25-33). In other words, Jesus set the bar pretty high for us. Sacrifice is clearly involved. Bottom line – to love a woman as Christ means dying to your self.
For real, there’s a learning curve. I’m nearly twenty-five years into my marriage and still making adjustments. But the good news is that God doesn’t expect us to do this in our own strength. Jesus is willing to help us show His kind of love to our wives.
Ask any man that has been married long-term and has a thriving relationship with his wife, he’ll probably tell you that loving her well comes down to three basic things, three things I am trying to pass on to my son:
1. The way we TALK to her and about her. Words matter, every single one. Our wives are not to be our verbal punching bags. They aren’t built for it. Keeping our volume in check and our words positive expresses love whereas chronic criticism is plain foolish and shows a lack of restraint. Fellas, tell that gal frequently that she’s beautiful in more ways than one and watch it become true.
2. The way we TOUCH her. Gentle. Be gentle. She’s not an object. Whether you are touching her sexually or otherwise, be respectful of her desires. She’s a person created in the image of God and when you touch her it should be with sensitivity to the fact that God made her delicate. She may be a big girl on the outside, but she remains a little girl on the inside. If she’s not responsive to you, that’s a good clue that you need to change your approach.
3. The TIME we spend with her. Give her the gift of your time. Man, if she’s talking to you, listen – not just with your ears – but with your eyes. Sure, life is crazy busy but making time for her on her terms will bless her heart like nothing else. Whether it’s a walk, a conversation at the kitchen counter, a date, a house project, or a vacation, love has always been spelled T.I.M.E.
So that’s how the conversation with my son goes on loving a woman. He knows I’m no expert on the subject, but he’s willing to listen. He has seen me fail miserably and he has watched me recover. He has definitely seen the relationship between me and his mother struggle, but praise God, today he gets to see it flourish.
The conversation continues.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.