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Top 10 Posts of the Year – #4: What Does the Biblical Love of a Husband Look Like?

December 29, 2012

Recently I have been picking my way through Tim Savage’s book, No Ordinary Marriage. It is a very helpful resource for married  and engaged couples. I particularly like how he runs the line of “marriage is for the glory of God” through all aspects of marriage. The book will leave you compelled to be married not for your sake, but for the sake of the Lord’s glory.

One of the most helpful parts of the book for me was a section exploring what the biblical love of a husband. Tim points out 6 features of the love of Christ that should be exhibited in a husband who is living for the glory of the Lord in his marriage. I will try to summarize.

1. A husband’s love is never unfaithful. The Lord is fiercely possessive of his children (Jn. 10:28). There are no indications that Jesus’s affections spread to those who do not know him. This love evokes a response (Deut. 6:5). When husbands show the faithful love of Christ to their wives their families are strengthened. But, of a husband who is first of all unfaithful to the Lord will have a hard time being faithful to his wife. If we cannot be faithful to the one who is always faithful in return, we will have a hard time being faithful to one who may not always be.

2. A husband’s love does not examine divorce as a possibility. Although the Bible provides us with exceptions to this rule, it should never be looked at as an option prior to it being a last resort. There will never be sufficient reason for Christ to abandon his bride, and there are VERY few reasons why a husband would need to abandon his. If you allow the thought of divorce to enter your marriage it becomes very hard to root it out.

3. A husband’s love is attentive. The love of Christ is attentive to his people (Jn. 3:16). Likewise, a husband who models Christ’s love to his wife will be attentive to her needs above his own needs. Husbands, don’t let pressure at work, a love for sports, or the challenges of parenting come between you and paying close attention to your wife. A lack of attentiveness will breed frustration in your wife. Often this frustration is not expressed because the relationship has become unsafe. Then, your wife will erupt into a volcano of negative irrationality or a slow drip of despair. But, this need not happen. Your wife is your greatest treasure…take interest in her.

4. A husband’s love is understanding. Christ was not content to merely observe us from afar. Instead, he drew near to us to sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 2:17, 4:15). Love draws near and communicates. The greatest obstacle to the outbreak of God’s glory in marriage is a breakdown of communication. When dialogue becomes mundane, one-sided, repetitive, tense, or ceases altogether, mutual understanding will fade. A loving husband will guard against the demise of conversation.

5. A husband’s love is sympathetic. This is a natural outflow of being attentive and understanding. A wife who receives her husband’s attention and understanding will receive his sympathy. Christ’s life was the ultimate sympathy towards us. He wore our shoes, experienced our difficulties, and ultimately died for our sins. 1 Corinthians 13 makes it clear that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love is a display of sympathy as we consistently seek the welfare of another. A husband should respect his wife’s opinions and not belittle her in public, appreciate her contributions to the family, and come alongside her in the difficulties life brings.

6. A husband’s love is sacrificial. Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk. 10:45). Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). Most men still nurture the idea that their wife is there to meet their needs and have failed to see that it is exactly the opposite. How often do you see a man forfeiting a passion for the benefit of his wife? Not nearly enough. The love of Christ shown through a husband is one that denies self-interest for the good of another. This love empowers a wife and causes her to respect her husband, submitting to him as he lovingly leads.

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