Husband, love your wife.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . .” Ephesians 5:25 KJV

Over the years, my wife and I have developed a quasi-liturgical call and response. She will ask me, “why do you love me so much?” I will respond with a lame, lawyerly answer, something like, “to list one reason would exclude all of the others.” I then smile and tell her that I “just do [love her].”

Recently, I’ve come up with a significantly better answer. When my wife asks me why I love her so much, I reply, “because husbands love their wives.” While at first blush this answer might seem cold and unromantic, it is the correct answer. Let me explain.

“It’s not you, It’s me.”

Whether or not a husband loves his wife has nothing to do with the quality of the wife and everything to do with the quality of the husband. A good husband loves his wife unconditionally.

Think about the alternative. If a husband’s love for his wife is dependent upon a certain trait found in his wife, then his love would be conditioned on the continued presence of that trait. What if a husband loved his wife for her beauty, charm, or industriousness? If the wife eventually lost her beauty, charm, or industriousness, then the husband would be relieved from loving his wife.

This can’t be. In fact, our marriage vows assume just the opposite. Husbands vow to remain faithful and loving in all circumstances, including poverty and sickness.

A faithful husband loves his wife. This is an essential characteristic. A man can’t be a husband in any real sense if he doesn’t love his wife.

All reasonable people should be able to see that loving one’s wife is a minimum requirement for husbands. The bar is set much higher, however, for Christian husbands. The Christian husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and we all know what Christ did for his church.

This is Scripture: Christ loved the church, sacrificing his life for her. Husband, love your wife, sacrificing your life for her.

I have grown frustrated with all of the bad news that has bombarded me lately. J. Budziszewski’s recent lecture on natural law mercifully reminded me to focus on the really good and basic things present in my life.

I can’t fix the world, but I can love my wife.

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