Mary and Joseph Reflect: How to love your wife

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives,

exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving and not getting

Ephesians 5:25 (MSG)

During the Christmas season we reflect on the birth of our Savior and the ultimate gift we are given in his birth, death, and resurrection.  In Christ, we also have someone who models how we are supposed to love our wives. What characterizes Christ’s love for the church?

It is a love marked by Commitment: The church was Christ’s top priority and he was not deterred from his mission.  He didn’t allow his own humanity to keep him from fulfilling his commitment to the Father and to the church.  He didn’t allow opposition from Satan or religious leaders to derail him.  He didn’t allow distractions to knock him off course.  

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.  But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  Luke 4:42-44 (NIV)

Husbands, the one who was born in a manger is our role model.  How committed are we to loving our wife?  We can not allow any opposition or distractions to keep us from loving her.  

His love was Unconditional: Christ’s mission to die on the cross for us wasn’t contingent upon how people responded to his words and his deeds.  He was misunderstood by his parents, rejected and mistreated. Jesus did not die for us because there is something attractive about us.  I’m not saying our wives aren’t attractive, but our love for them should not be based on how they are performing or how we are feeling.

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8 (TMB)

Christ’s love for the church was Sacrificial: Jesus gave his life that we might have life.  He paid the ultimate price for us.  He was separated from the Father for us.  He died a horrible, painful death for us.  Husbands, Christ is our role model.  Are we willing to give of ourselves so that our wives may feel secure, cherished, and loved?  Loving sacrificially will involve doing the uncomfortable and laying aside what we want to do.  How many of our disagreements stem from our unwillingness to sacrifice even in small things?  

Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many. – Matthew 20.28 (TLB)

Christ has set a high bar for us and expects us to meet God’s expectations.  Thankfully, he gives us the power to love. Yes, I forgive Mary Butler Coleman because she forgives me. And I love Mary Butler Coleman because the love of God through Christ inspires me and empowers me to love. 

Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already “one” in marriage.

Ephesians 5.25-28 (MSG)

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