Of all the instructions in the New Testament about marriage, no where is a wife commanded to “love her husband.” It would be wrong for a wife not to love her husband, but we only find the command verbalized to men. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives…”
For a man to neglect his duty of loving his wife is first a dishonorable act against God. But, not only is it dishonorable to God, it is disruptive to his wife, it causes confusion in the home, and it leaves the Lord’s church anemic, powerless.
I recently read an updated version of William Gouge’s book, Building a Godly Home. In it, William Gouge examined the duties of men and women in the marriage. This powerful exhortation was an influence on my message Sunday night at the Southern Idaho Bible Lecture Series hosted at Eastside Baptist Church.
It’s important that men hear this and hear this often. Husbands, love your wives. Be watchful over your household, men. Have a high minded view of your wife, not a worshiping view, an affectionate view. She has a role of submission, give long-suffering affection as one equal in many respects, but in her state of office, subordinate.
A corrupt view of this is for a husband to think of his wife as second in class or inferior in status. It is neither. It is one of duty. A wife has a duty, a husband has a duty, children have a duty. These duties are not about chores, they are more about affection for the other and the duty each has before God. If affection is absent from a husband toward his wife he will likely give his affection to another.
Here are some practical ways husband can show their love to their wives.
- Husband, you must be kind and thoughtful to your wife. Not effeminate, because you are masculine. Not brutish, because she is feminine.
- Husband, you must be courteous to your wife. Say thank you and please, often.
- Husband, you must reject being aloof. Be personal and engaging. look your wife in the eyes when you talk to her.
- Husband, you must be humble. Not fake and patronizing, genuinely humble.
- Husband, consider your wife first. She must get your first, best and engaging time.
- Husband, you must not lord over your wife with unfair demands and strictness.
- Husband, encourage your wife in good things.
- Husband, don’t discourage your wife with ingratitude.
- Husband, instruct your wife in private and exhort her in public.
- Husband, give helpful instruction to your wife. Don’t shy away from addressing your wife about her clothing and presentation. She may need to hear from you that she is showing too much sensual skin. She may need to know from you that her Facebook profile picture is too sultry and inviting. She may need to be talked to about how she interacts with others in her social practices.
- Husband, don’t make your wife go to many social events without you. If at all possible help meet her social needs with you present.
- Husband, treat your wife with respect.
I like to put it this way: No other man gets the chance to win my wife’s heart, no one.
There are more intelligent men than me, but no other man gets a chance to win her heart with his intelligence. There may be funnier men than me, she may laugh with others but no man gets a chance to win my wife with laughter. There are surely more romantic men than me, but no man, in real life or fiction, will overtake my wife with romance. There are kind men all around, but no man wins her heart because he’s more kind than me toward her. There are generous men around her, but no generosity is greater than mine toward her. There are poetic men, but no poet wins her.
Because I’m commanded to love her, I put my best attention toward her in this matter. That means, I’m the most romantic book she’s ever read, I’m more generous toward her than anyone she knows, I strive to cause laughter and joy in conversation and experiences in life, I’m the poet who woes her with roses and violets.
Husbands, provide for your wife. Provide for her spiritually, emotionally, socially, mentally, and physically.
You do this til you die! Now, go love your wife.