THE BELIEVING WIFE AND HUSBAND ARE TO WALK IN A SPIRIT OF SUBMISSION AND LOVE
When dealing with wives and husbands, we must always remember that God's instructions are not grievous. In fact, they are easy and light. God instructs and guides us down the easiest and lightest path possible. (See Matthew 11:28-30).
If we walk down the path God has laid out for us—if we do just what He says—we can experience the most loving, peaceful, rich, and full life imaginable. This is doubly true for husband and wife, for they have the companionship of each other as well as of the Lord.
This morning our focus is upon the husband loving his wife, and the summary of the passage found in verse 33. Notice five significant points here:
1. The love which the husband is to have for his wife is the very love of God Himself (agape love). Agape love is a selfless and pure love, a giving and sacrificial love. It is the love of the mind and will as well as of the heart. It is not only a love of affection and feelings; it is a love of the will and commitment. It is a love that wills and commits itself to love a person. It is the love that works for the highest good of the person loved...
· that loves even if the person does not deserve to be loved.
· that loves even if the person is utterly unworthy of being loved.
2. The love which the husband is to have for his wife is the very same love he has for his own body - vs. 28. "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." This is a startling statement. This means that he is to nourish and cherish his wife as he does his own body.
The word "nourish" means to feed, clothe, nurture, and look after until she is mature in the marriage and then to continue nourishing her as long as she lives.
The word "cherish" means to hold ever so dear within the heart; to treat with warmth, tenderness, care, affection, and appreciation.
3. The love which the husband is to have for his wife is to be the love that will stir him to leave his parents and be joined to his wife - vs. 31. For the cause of a husband loving and cherishing his wife—does a “man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” The unity of the marriage relationship is thus based upon the love of the husband for his wife. Moreover, that unity is more than just physical union. It is a union and unity of their entire being. They, as two beings, become one.
4. The love which the husband is to have for his wife is a spiritual mystery - a spiritual love - a love just like Christ's love for His church - vs. 32. "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Paul refers to to a spiritual mystery likening marriage to that of the love that Christ has for His church. We, as members of His body, ought to take great comfort in the love and care our great Husband (Christ) has for us both now and forever. A union between a husband and wife has a beautiful spiritual element.
5. The conclusion is simple and straightforward: the husband is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to reverence (respect and esteem) her husband. "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Paul summarizes the section by reiterating the command for the husband to love his wife. For the third time the command for the husband to love his wife is restated. Its repetition should emphasize its importance. The injunction for the wife is restated in slightly different fashion. She is enjoined to "reverence her husband." The word translated "reverence" has the sense to fear or respect. In this case, it is in the context of obedient submission as noted in verse 21. The husband is to set the tone of the marriage relationship by his love to his wife.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. In what area of your marriage are you failing to experience God's love? In what ways would God's love improve those areas?
2. Do you ever worry about losing the love in your marriage? What do these verses instruct you to do in order to guard your marriage from losing its love?
Your Friend and HIS,