A Love That Is Sacrificial, Not Superficial
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-32
Marriage is covenanting to love one person for the rest of your life. It is the continual laying down of self for the sake of your spouse and daily choosing to make them happy rather than looking out for number one. When both spouses within the union are fulfilling their God-given roles, immense joy is at hand.
Many think only the wife is called to a life of service, but this passage (along with the previous chapters of Ephesians) shows that both spouses should humbly prefer the other. The wife is to submit and respect, and the husband is to love as Christ loves. In marriage, both husband and wife are a picture of Christ's humility in their own way.
The wife displays Christ's submission to the Father in the Trinity. Though Christ is equally God, He chooses to submit to the Father. Though we are equal in value to our husbands, we choose to place ourselves under their authority.
Husbands show Christ by lovingly leading and protecting their wives, spiritually and physically. They mimic Christ's love for the Church as they put their wives before themselves. Unfortunately, we don't live in a world without sin, so neither spouse is able to perfectly live this out. But even if your husband is completely disregarding his command to love you with a servant love, you are still accountable for the commands given to you in Scripture. You must respect your husband. As wives, we are commanded to do so. If we don't, we are sinning against God. There is great joy and comfort to be found in living out our role as God designed, regardless of the actions of those around us.
The saying rings true. Love is a choice.
When you're tempted to speak harshly to or about your man, choose him over your desire to wound him. When you don't feel like hearing about his hobby, choose to listen because it's important to him. When you're tempted to be unfaithful to him in any way (including in your mind), choose your husband.
When you said "I do" you really said "I choose." I choose you over other men, over friends, over dreams, and over myself. This is the choice that brings true joy and happiness. To place the happiness of others above our own. This is what we are each called to in marriage.
We are called to a love much more beautiful than anything Hollywood has to offer. To a long-suffering love, not a love that leaves when the feelings flee. We are called to a love that is sacrificial, not superficial...a love like Christ's.
Father, thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank You that these truths remain the same regardless of changes and time. Help us to honor You with our marriages. May they point the world to Christ. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
How can you go out of your way to serve your husband today? I encourage you to bless him in that way.
About the Author
Brittany Allen is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and momma to two in Heaven. She exists to bring God glory and prays her writing is an avenue for that. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically and thrives on seeing women open up their hearts to the Savior and to other women around them.