Dear husband, part of your likewise obligation towards your wife is to love her as Christ loved the Church – as recorded in Ephesians 5:25-29.
There are four ways by which Christ loved the Church and by which a man ought to love his wife.
1. He gave himself for her.
2. Sanctified and cleansed her so that she might become glorious and without spot or wrinkle or have any blemish.
3. Nourishes her.
4. Cherishes her.
I will now expound each of the four ways for our proper understanding.
GIVING YOURSELF FOR HER
A man ought to love his wife first by giving himself for her just like Jesus did for the Church. A sacrificing of his own interest, convenience, resources and life just to ensure she’s flourishing. In other words, to make her flourish at your own expense – almost to your own hurt.
Note that giving yourself for her is not the same as giving to her. Giving to her is only taking a little out of your vast resources while the rest remains intact; but giving yourself for her is a total exchange. A total investment of yourself and all you have and own – as though to make her rich while you become poor. It was in this sense that Jesus gave Himself for the Church. He was rich but for our sakes he became poor. He in other words gave us his riches and took on our poverty. He was full of life while we were full of death. He gave up his own life and took on our death in order that we may inherit his life. A total exchange.
In practical terms, if there is a scenario in which only one of my wife and I can live and one of us is asked to lay down his/her life for the other, I shouldn’t think twice. I should know immediately that I’m the one to lay down my life. “Please don’t hurt her; let me go. Let her have the life I could have lived including all I’ve ever worked for.”
In practical terms if there is just #10,000 in the house and both of us need the exact sum equally, I should happily release that money to my wife so that she can sort out her own issues while mine waits. Let her have ten new change of clothes from my income while I continue to manage this two or three that are gradually becoming worn out.
Let her take the only slot of scholarship available while mine waits. Let her own interest, progress, establishment, convenience, happiness be always the priority while mine takes a secondary place. This is what it will mean to give myself FOR her. What I’m actually hearing in my spirit as the real meaning of this is to give (up) myself FOR her.
Then in giving himself for us, Jesus did not only give us His life, he gave us access to use His name for our own benefit. The brand value of His name is a product of His years of investment. Names are only as valuable as the work their owners have put into them and this can take several decades. So the fact that Jesus’ name commands bowed knees in heaven and earth and under the earth isn’t cheap – He didn’t get that on a platter of silver. He worked for it. He toiled for it.
He then says, I give you my name, you can use it to get anything from the Father as though I’m the one asking directly. The moment you mention my name, it wouldn’t matter to the Father any longer what your own personal records are. He will answer you based on my own records with Him and you will by implication get answers that someone else worked for.
In giving myself to my wife, I must happily give her the freedom to use my name, my social influence, my brand asset, for her benefit. These are stuffs I’ve been investing painstakingly in before I even met her. I must happily deploy these things without restraint to advance her life.
Friends, what I’ve just described to you above is what I’ve been doing for the past one year in trying to love my wife as Christ loved the Church. And this is the way I have decided to love her for the rest of our marriage. There is surely more grounds for me to cover but certainly this is the way to do it and this is exactly what I’ve been doing.
Do I always feel she deserves it? Absolutely no. Sometimes I feel she does, sometimes she doesn’t at all, yet I must maintain this life at all times. Do I always feel she even appreciates the extent of sacrifice at all times. Absolutely no. She does sometimes but not all the time. A woman can get used to being with a loving and sacrificial husband that it no longer looks like a big deal except she consciously jerks herself to consciousness periodically. Vice versa too.
But you see, all of that do not matter. It’s my Christ-like obligation. She doesn’t have to deserve it or appreciate it. I do this as a service unto the Lord Christ of whom I shall receive the reward of the inheritance. Col. 3:23&24.
What is your response to this brother? How are you loving your own wife? Are you willing to give yourself FOR her as from now on? Don’t wait until she deserves it. Do it as unto the Lord. Grace to obey this truth is multiplied unto you.
Peniela E. Akintujoye.
©️Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| firstname.lastname@example.org