Updated: Feb 17
Disclaimer: This post focuses on how God instructs a husband to treat his wife. If it seems a little “lopsided”, no worries. Soon to follow will be a post entitled, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” Ouch!
I recently sat and listened to a lovely Christian woman who was in great emotional distress. She opened her heart and allowed her brokenness to be revealed. Through words and tears she shared with me, exposing the hurt and pain in her marriage that she had skillfully kept secret for a long time.
After years of marriage counseling together, my husband and I say there isn’t much that shocks us anymore. But I do sometimes find myself thinking “if my husband were to do or say that to me I don’t think I could ever fully heal from it.” For example, I’ve heard stories of husbands calling there wives filthy names, stories of them saying disparaging things to their wives, stories of husbands who condescend on their wives in front of their friends, and stories of physical abuse. It is our role as counselors, not to choose sides, to remain neutral, and to weigh and examine the character, behavior, and fruit from each party, pointing out and encouraging “good behavior or treatment of the other” and calling out the inappropriate, unacceptable behavior and treatment, offering counsel on how to correct it.
Perhaps there are counselors who are able to close the door at five p.m. and “leave everything at the office”, but for me, I typically have several days that I think, ponder, and contemplate a conversation. Invariably, I return to placing myself in different roles in the story. This gives me a first-hand look at how it might feel to be treated a certain way, or, to treat someone else a certain way.
Maya Angelou once said, ““I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” There couldn’t be a truer statement.
My husband is someone who practices Ephesians 5:25-31. He doesn’t always get it right, but the times he does far out way those that he doesn’t. And that is what makes the difference! Multiple times a day I thank God for him and ask the Lord to bless him. Often, it is the “little things” that take up the most space in your heart.” I know that my husband wants to please me, to care for me, to exalt me, to promote me, etc., he proves this everyday by his treatment towards me. Little things like keeping wood on the fire to keep me warm, making my coffee, making sure the doors are locked so I am protected, periodically asking me, “do you need anything while I am up.?”
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
I can honestly say that my husband fits the bill. He isn’t perfect, but he is perfectible, and his heart is for me. “Just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it”. Christ died for the church. Husbands, would you “die” for your wife? Although I am not excluding physical death, I am not speaking of just that either. I am talking about the daily “dying” of yourself, your own desires, of having your own way. Are you willing to lay that all down, to cast it aside and love and serve your wife? Christ did it for you. Are you more than He?
Romans 1: 20 says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Simply put, “There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.”
Marriage is one of those things that God made in the natural so we can understand marriage in the spiritual, in other words, our marriage to Christ. (Revelation 19:7) “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
When we consider all that Christ has done for us how can we treat our spouses (or anyone) less than this? Someday we will be held accountable of our treatment of others, especially husbands and wives who stood before clergy and vowed before God to love, cherish, protect, etc.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”