By Kevin V. Rutherford
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25). The basic idea behind the word “love” in this text is that of wanting what is best for one who is loved. Husbands must want what is best for their wives. They must seek the well-being of their wives. Husbands who obey this command of God will not hurt their wives, nor will they want anyone else to hurt their wives. Further, if a husband is desiring what is best for his wife he will be doing what he can to help her spiritually so that she will live eternally in heaven.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25). Men, we must love our wives in the same way Jesus Christ loved the church when He gave His life for the church (cf. Acts 20:28). This is a love that will cause a husband to put the needs of his wife above his own. The husband who obeys this command is willing to make sacrifices for his wife. When a man spends so much time with hobbies and friends that he is neglecting his wife, he does not have this kind of love.
“So, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). Typically speaking, men do not deliberately harm their own bodies. It is normal for a man to avoid receiving pain and injury to his body when possible. We are not to deliberately inflict injury upon our own bodies, but rather we are to be good stewards and take care of them. When a man loves his wife as he does his own body, he will never ever beat her, and in fact will seek to defend her should someone else try to harm her.
“So, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). Did you notice that it says, “their own wives”? When sitting in a classroom during an exam, one will likely hear the teacher say something to the effect of “keep your eyes on your own page.” Do the same with marriage, men. Don’t develop relationships with other women that go too far. Treat other women with respect and kindness, but don’t treat them in such a way as to develop a relationship with them that is closer than it ought to be. The love a husband has for his wife must be unique. His relationship with her must be special. He is not to give that relationship or love to any other woman.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your payers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Dwell with your wife. Live with her. Your life with your wife must be intertwined. You need to be with her. You need to spend time focused on her so that you can live with her in an understanding way. We don’t want to develop an antagonistic relationship with our wives. We don’t want to develop a relationship that is simply tolerant of the marriage. We want a living relationship with our wives that involves a commitment to communication, with an effort to listen carefully.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your payers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). The word “honor” translates a Greek word that can be used in different ways depending upon the context. Some of the ideas discussed by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon that fit this context are; that which is of a great price, highly valued, or precious. In other words, men, we must treat our wives in such a way that shows they are very special and important to us. This we are to do as to the “weaker vessel”. The picture here is of someone taking that which is precious and valuable and treating it with great care because it is also that which can be broken or damaged. Treat your wife in such a way that is befitting of one who sees his wife as precious and as one he does not want to see get hurt. The term “grace” can carry with it the idea of joy. Joy that comes because of a special gift. The special gift we have is the relationship with our wives. The joy of the gift of a life together comes from a very special relationship that is precious to us.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your payers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Men, if we do not treat our wives in the manner here described, God will not hear our prayers. Our prayer will be hindered by our own attitudes. Our prayers will be hindered by the ruining of our relationship with our wives. Our prayers will not be heard by God if we are not going to treat our wives as He has commanded. God is, in essence, telling us that if we don’t treat our wives right, He is not interested in hearing what we have to say to Him. Therefore, a man must have his relationship right with his wife before he can have his relationship right with God.
- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/