After decades of “wise” instruction from the likes of Sigmund Freud, Hugh Hefner, and Dr. Phil, we men should have ourselves, and our relationships, figured out. But for all of their theories and speculations, the world’s authority comes down to one basic belief: Focus on the self matters more than the selfless attention to our wives and children.
Yet, divorce rates continue to rise, infidelity is rampant, fatherless homes are the norm, and the use of psychiatric medications for daily functioning has skyrocketed. The problem may not be the availability of information, but rather the reliability of its wisdom.
The Bible tells us; “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. 3:19). Men, we must be very careful in choosing our sources of guidance.
God’s Word is the only source of truth, that when applied, makes perfect, useful sense. As evidence of this promise, we need only look at God’s most basic instruction to the husband found in Ephesians 5:25:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
This scripture is a powerful calling. It is an instruction to minister to our homes as Christ ministered to the church. If we are to love as Jesus loved, then we are to be close and active, not distant and passive. There was nothing passive about our Lord’s love to us.
Jesus touched (Matt. 8: 1-3); He healed (Matt. 14:14); He instructed (Mark 10:1); He provided (Mark 6: 37-44); He prayed (John 17: 13-21); He forgave (Matt. 9:2): He resisted temptation (Heb. 4:15): He served (Mark 10:45)” and finally, He sacrificed all (John 19:30).
Using our Savior as the template of comparison, allow me to inquire:
- Do you touch your wife as Jesus touched? His touch was filled with understanding and compassion. It was a touch that gave but did not take. Touching your wife physically in this way assures her of your commitment and love for her (2 Cor. 1:3,4).
- When your wife is in pain, do you promote healing? Our wives need to know they can bring their injuries and needs to us. They need us to be engaged, interested, and invested in reestablishing their peace (Gal. 6:2).
- As the Spiritual Leader of the home, is your study of God’s Word faithful, so that you can instruct and encourage your wife? A man cannot feed others unless he is fed. Your fervent attention to learning the Bible will allow you to lead your family from a Christian worldview and will transform not only your message, but your heart (Hebrews 4:12).
- Are you providing for your family’s financial needs and security? So many families today are overburdened by debt and commitments beyond their means,creating tremendous stress. Financial problems are cited as the second leading cause of divorce. Fiscal responsibility and leadership from the husband is central to protecting the home (1 Tim. 5:8).
- Are you in prayer for your wife and with your wife? Do you make it a priority to lift her needs to God and to share the intimacy of prayer together? Research tells us that less than 1% of couples who “regularly” pray together, get divorced (James 5:16).
- Do you forgive as Christ forgave? Can you resolve and release the issues that divide you, or do you harbor them in your heart, allowing anger and sin to take root? Studies tell us that the capacity to forgive is fundamental to the maintenance of good healthy relationships (Eph. 4: 26, 27).
- When temptation comes, what do you do? “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9). This means that there is no safe level of thought or deed when it comes to sin. Boundaries are essential if we are to preserve the marital covenant. We must actively pursue God’s cover and protection for our homes, on a daily basis (Eph. 6:10-18).
- How do you serve your bride? Whether in small matters or large, serving our wives is one of the foremost ways to demonstrate honor. It expresses consideration, it defines her as valuable, and it produces a climate of mutual respect and loyalty. Do something unexpected that reminds her of her precious place in your life (John 13: 14,15).
- Finally, is your love sacrificial? Jesus gave everything for those entrusted to His care and husbands are called to do the same (Luke 9: 23). What can you sacrifice today that will bless your wife? Time at work; hours at the T.V.; attitudes or ambitions; behaviors or habits. If it limits or injures the marriage, it needs to go.God’s Word and instructions are perfect. Husbands are not. But if we cling to His truth, He will bless our obedience. “…just as Christ also loved the church”: No clearer instruction, no higher call.