Loving Your Wife Like Christ
There's a popular passage in Ephesians that addresses how husbands and wives ought to treat each other. I've heard this passage read and taught on many times over the course of my wife. I can immediately remember the part telling wives that they ought to submit to their husbands as he is the head of the household as Christ is the head of the church. That's all it really says to the wife. Submit. Do with this as you wish, I want to focus right now on the instructions for the husband
There are far more instructions given to the husband than to the wive. Ephesians 5: 25-29 states, "For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church."
Let's digest this a bit. Christ loved the church, which is comprised of all believers. He showed His love for the church by giving His life for her. Think about the example this gives to the husband. Think about the standard it sets. If we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, this means she becomes more important to us than ourselves. This means her success, her growth, her wholeness, her dreams, it all must be given high priority. We are essentially tasked with ensuring she thrives as she was designed to by God. Sure she has to take responsibility for herself, but the husband is given the task of being her coach, her trainer, her cheerleader, her counselor, and whatever else she needs to become all she was meant to be. Sounds like a lot more than just submitting to the other.
The passage later reaches that husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. Maybe you don't. focus much on the physical fitness or well-being of your body, but at least you cater to it. Maybe you are not a health nut, but I'm sure you like to indulge in certain foods and treats. I'm sure you give yourself rest or entertainment as you desire. To whatever extent you love yourself, you are called to love your wife to that same standard or higher.
I'll be honest, I've never cared for the phrase "happy wife, happy life". This phrase makes me feel like the wife is not responsible for her own well being, and she truly is. But, according to Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, the well being of the wife is in direct relation to how well she is treated and supported by the husband. This is not vise versa. The husbands well-being is not determined by how his wife treats him. The husband's well-being is determined by his own pursuit of Jesus.
Let us be husbands that pursue Jesus above all and find everything we need in Him so that we can love our wives and build them up into their created identity in Christ. It's a high calling to love like Christ loves, but He forms us into His image and gives us His love. As long as we abide in His love, we can lover our wives the way they deserve to be loved!