Their relationship has survived past the half-century mark, through the everyday stress of a normal marriage, through the difficulties of infertility and adoption, and through the terrors of a triple-bypass and a pacemaker. They are truly an amazing couple.
My wife and I have only been married for three years, and by the grace of God, it’s been an incredibly easy three years. But without fail, every time we visit my parents home, my dad finds time for us to grab some lunch and talk. And every lunch, and every chat that goes with it, ultimately ends with my dad offering me some piece of wisdom about maintaining a good marriage.
Now, my dad’s no biblical scholar. He’s practically a savant at mathematics, but reading has always been something he’s struggled with. Yet most of the clearest memories I have from my childhood are of my dad sitting in his giant La-Z-Boy recliner with his Bible and the day’s copy of the newspaper. He reads slow, and he talks slow, but he has been absolutely saturated with Scripture…and it shows. In all of our conversations about marriage, he has (perhaps even unconsciously) grounded all of his advice in Ephesians 5:25.
So, as husbands, what is our duty to our wives? Ephesians 5 sums those duties up for us in terms of their pattern and their practice.
Our basic precept for marriage is, “Husbands, love your wives” (v. 25a). Following Christ’s patten of loving His bride, the church, each of us is to love his wife in the following ways:
- Love your wife absolutely. Christ gives Himself for His bride—He gives all of Himself. He doesn’t hold anything back. This is obvious from what He has done (Think of Calvary), from what He is doing (think of His constant intercession on our behalf in heaven), and from what He will do (think of His Second Coming). So we too are called to radical, absolute giving of ourselves to our wives in authentic love.
- Love your wife realistically. Like Christ, who goes on loving His bride despite her imperfections, so that He can present her sanctified—without spot or wrinkle—to His Father on that great Day (vv. 26-27), so we husbands are called to keep loving our wives despite their shortcomings, aiming to have a sanctifying influence on them. Our love must be both realistic (remembering that they are sinners just like we are) and purposeful (aiming for their growth in holiness).
- Love your wife sacrificially. Christ nourishes and cherishes His bride at His own expense (vv. 28-29). So ought we as husbands care for our wives at our own expense with the same care we give our own bodies. If you get something in your eye, you give it immediate, tender attention. Do you treat your wife with that same care when she’s hurting?
Stick around, because Thursday morning, we’ll have some more marriage advice for y’all, all from Ben Palmer’s dad.