Thursday, February 15, 2007

Loving Your Husband

Valentine's Day has come and gone! We have a single, fake rose in a vase on our table. When you push a button, it sounds off Fur Elise for us and the petals start to glow. My husband didn't give it to me, but he seems to like it. In fact, my husband didn't give me anything for Valentine's Day. I guess I should have sulked and walked around gloomily, but I didn't. How could I? Yesterday the Lord reminded me of a well known passage:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
That passage (Ephesians 5:25-33) reminded me what a husband's true love for his wife should look like. First of all, my husband should lead me in truth. His ability to use the Word to help me become more Christlike demonstrates his love for me. He gives himself up, as did Christ, in order to cleanse me and make me blameless. How does he do that? He guides me and reminds me of my true love, Christ. In my case, one of the things my husband did for me yesterday was to point me to the fact that the most important act in life is to obey God. He modeled for me incredible forgiveness and gave up his own desires in order to spend time with me. He prayed for me.
Women, love your husbands. Respect your husbands. If you're not married yet, begin to pray that God will give you an attitude of love and respect towards your future spouse if God has marriage in store for you. I did not include the verses prior to this passage that talk about our responsibility as women, but basically it tells us to respect and love our husbands. I have found that when I allow my husband to lead me and I submit to his loving guidance, he respects me. In turn, I find it easier to continue loving and respecting him. Do I always do it correctly? No. When my husband modeled incredible forgiveness for me yesterday it was because he had to forgive me. I pouted and I grumbled about something I don't even remember now, but he forgave me. He put me before his wounded feelings and loved me. How can I not love him in return?

Do you find yourself in a difficult marriage? Are you an independent single who feels that submission and respect are for Christian women of the past? My sisters, God's word remains God's word for the ages. It never changes and it never misleads us. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you think that loving your husband (present or future) is something you cannot do with submission and respect, I urge you to seek God's word. Pray that God will lead you and that He will help you to fall in love with His word. Pray that you will love God more. I have found that the more I keep my eyes on the cross, the easier it becomes to love my husband. I have also found that when it gets difficult, it's often my own shortcomings that irritate me and urge in me an inward "me" focus. Loving others becomes rather difficult when I look at me and not towards Jesus!
As I end this today, I will say a prayer for anyone who might stumble across this message. Wherever you stand--loving strongly or weakly--only the Great Lover of our Souls can truly fuel your ability to love. Look at Him today and let Him teach you to love.


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