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Monday, December 19, 2011

How To Love Your Wife

My wife and I have been married for over 20 years now. Wow! It hasn't been easy. There have been times when we really thought we wouldn't make it. So you say, maybe we needed to go to more conferences, counseling or read more books.  For the record, we had 24 sessions of premarital counseling at our church (how we got this is a longer story), read many books, attended many conferences on marriage and have heard countless sermons.  Have they helped? I always say "No" when first asked but I will be a bit more reasonable and say "maybe a little."  

So what makes write a post about loving my wife? For some time now I have been thinking that I don't need more books or more conferences to learn how to love my wife. I get dirty looks when I say this out loud.  Looks that say, "You think you know everything already? You are so proud!" None of this new! I get this all the time anyway.  And the stuff that is presented in books or conferences is not new either.  They all repeat the same stuff I have heard for over 20 years.  It's all reshuffled material. 

So you say, "What's the answer Mr. Know It All? How do you love your wife?" The answer is simple. The doing part is the hard part. If you have been a Christian for some time then you should know the answer. It's in the Bible! I hear voices, "Oh, that's a cop out! You are using the Bible."  Think about it. Shouldn't we focus on the what God says about how to love our wives? Yes, we should learn from other couples. And I am not saying that there is no value in marriage counseling, books, conferences, etc. I do believe some people need them. I think it should be mandatory for some. But let me get to the point.

The answer is found in the book of Ephesians. Chapter 5 verses 25-33. I am convinced that if we do this then our marriage will survive everything. It starts with husbands. I'm not going to even dare talk about the S word found in the previous verses (submission). Men should not focus there. Our focus should be on loving our wives. 

Here is what the Bible says about loving our wives: 
"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." (verse 28, NIV)

We need to love our wife AS (in the same manner) Christ loved (past tense) the church.  It is a reference to his sacrifice. Christ died for his Church. He gave his life to save her from her sins and make her holy. We need to love our wife the same way. Sacrificial love. As I read this passage and often pray about it God seems to be saying "Love your wife as Christ love his Church which includes you, yes you, Edgar! Period. Don't make excuses" 

Then verse 28 says, "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church" It is repeated in verse 33: "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself."

Just this week I was reading this again and it just hit me. These verses speak about the how part.  We need to love our wife AS we love our bodies. I hear some men saying "Yeah, look at my body!" Well, you still feed it, perhaps too much. The fact is, that we do take care of our own bodies or else we wouldn't be alive.  We love ourselves.  Love your wife in the same manner.

So men, might say, "What about if I do all that, and my wife takes advantage of it? What about my wife's role, doesn't she has to her part?" Think about how Christ loved the church, yes that's you! Do you do everything He commands you to do? Do you honor him the way he ought to be honored? 

"Well, does this mean that I never say anything to her even when she is wrong?" No. Look at Christ. Does He not tell us what we do wrong? Yet, He still loves us.

"It's impossible to do this! Christ was God and I am not!" You are right. It's impossible for you in your strength. Yes, you are right! You are not God. Yet the Bible says in Ephesians 3:17 that you can let Christ dwell in your heart through faith.  You can't do anything He commands you without being in Him (John 15:5).

When you are having problems in your marriage ask yourself, "Am I loving my wife as Christ loved the Church? Am I loving my wife as I love my own body?" If you answer is "No," then you know where the problem lies.

I know where mine is. I'm still working on it!
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