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Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

Christian husbands, you don’t have the freedom to “fall out of love” with your wife. There are always contributing factors, but in the end it is this claim that “we fell out of love,” “the feeling isn’t there,” “the spark is gone,” or something similar that is often the stated conclusion for why a couple is divorcing. And more often than not (in my experience) this comes from the husband. Now, let me be very clear, this is not always the case. And there are many marriages which end in divorce for biblical reasons. This is not a commentary or post about divorce. The point I want to make sure we all understand is the one that began this post: the Christian husband does not have the freedom to “fall out of love” with his wife. This just isn’t an option.

In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul tells husbands to love their wives six times in eight verses. You would almost think Paul is trying to make a point! The evangelical world has twisted itself in knots about the verses just prior to Paul’s admonition to husbands in which the wife’s responsibility to submit to her husband is commanded. And yet Paul spends only three limited verses on that subject, but devotes fully nine verses to husbands loving their wives. We spend too little time thinking, teaching, and encouraging Christian husbands to love their wives.

Every Christian husband knows that in Ephesians 5 the husband is exhorted to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. What many of us need to hear, especially in Western modern culture, is that an aspect of Christ’s love for the Church is that it endures. Christian husbands must take note that Christ’s love for the Church is not momentary or even for a season. It is a love that continues. It is steadfast and true. And these qualities are to mark a husband’s love for his wife.

There is no other option. In verses 28 and 33, the Apostle makes this point strongly. He says husbands “must” love their wives. For the Christian husband, loving his wife is behind door number one, number two, and number three. Whichever way he turns in his relationship, he knows that this is to be his manner, mindset, and pursuit. He has no freedom to do anything else.

And what is the primary reason for this? Well, we often make the mistake of talking about Christ’s relationship with the Church as comparable to our marriage relationships, but that is not what Paul says in Ephesians 5. He says that Christ’s relationship with the Church is the substance and our marriage relationships are just a reflection of that. Therefore, our marriages either rightly or poorly reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church. This means that for the Christian husband, he knows that he cannot and will not fall out of love with his wife, because that would speak falsely about His Savior. He knows that within his marriage, there is an even higher calling in loving his wife, and that is the glory of God.

Therefore, the Christian husband gazes upon his wife and knows that no matter how difficult, how trying, or what temptations are offered that he must persevere in loving her. Why? Because the Christian man, who has been bought with a price, is a bondservant of Christ Jesus, and a son of God, wants above all else to give glory to his God. So what does a Christian husband do when he is tempted with giving in to “falling out of love” or something similar? He is to remind himself that he is a member of the bride of Christ. And so Christ’s love for the Church is not only the example, but the means by which he must and will continue to love his own wife until death do they part to the glory of God. He knows there is no other option for him under the sun.


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20 thoughts on “Christian Husband’s Only Option: Love Your Wife”

  1. Bobby says:

    The command to husbands to love their wives, does come after women are told to submit to their husbands, which comes after the general command to submit to each other, which then puts everything in perspective. If I may…husbands loving their wives is submission on steriods. Love is the ulitimate submission, the greatest form of submission. Look at all that is required when a man loves/submits to his wife.

  2. Lee says:

    Having been born again for thirty years, serving, teaching, and studying, I know full well the comparison of the relationship of Christ and the church with a husband and wife. Please allow me to be brief. My marriage of eleven years has just ended. Why? Because in a weak moment during an argument I told my wife I didn’t love her any more. Did I mean it? At the time, I was so very disappointed and upset with the relationship. She had spent the previous seven years verbally abusing me and the children to no end. Exclamations such as “I hate your guts!” and “I want a divorce!” were the weekly norm. During this period I had refused to engage her on the same level but I guess I was worn down. I did mean it at the time, but I knew it wasn’t something that would last a lifetime. Suddenly, after years of threats, she gets the divorce against my wishes of course. I apologized, begged, pleaded, went to counseling, you name it. I dropped all my activities and responsibilities that she had grown to despise, most of which were in the church, although she had always claimed to be saved. Now, three months after the divorce, I am constantly counseling my eight year old son and trying to be ever so civil to his mother. It seems as though I have failed somewhere. My mission was to raise my family in the church, serve my community, study the Word, and provide all else for my family as God provided. Yes, I told her I didn’t love her, but it was done to get her attention and let her know how injured I was. I was wrong to say it. I have always tried to own my mistakes and I have apologized many times to her for things over the years, yet she has never taken ownership of her issues and verbal bashing. This is the great comparison. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In short, I did all I could for her, but it was never enough. And the day I let the flesh get the best of me was all it took. Your prayers are welcome.

  3. donsands says:

    Good word. I do love my wife, and am in awe sometimes that God allowed me to have such a woman. But we have our sinful moments, and the love is buried under the pride.
    Good thought to remember my trusting in God’s grace so that i can obey Him is for His glory. He deserves all my love and I need to have the filial fear of a loving and wonderful Father; not an afraid of a hard-nosed father fear.

    I also am learning that we can in no way love without the Holy Spirit’s help. Jesus died for us, and rose from the dead, so that we, His chosen beloved can have the Spirit in us to empower us. And in fact understanding this makes it certain that our Father deserves all glory.

  4. I find it shocking that more men claim to have “fallen out of love” with their spouse than women.

    Obviously, this all comes back to the gospel: does Jesus “fall out of love” with us? I don’t think so. That truth is marriage-sustaining in and of itself. If anyone has the right to fall out of love with his bride, it’s Christ. And yet, he is faithful to a thousand generations.

    Thanks, Jason.

    Nick

  5. SCZ says:

    If by “fall out of love” it is meant “get a grip on emotional giddiness” then it would seem that a husband has a right to do so. I might go even further and say he has a duty to actually grow up and understand love from an adult instead of a adolescent perspective.

    But if what is meant by “fall out of love” is to make romanticism orthodox and thus when it is gone or faded one has the right to divorce, then no believer has that right.

  6. Richard says:

    Lee,
    We are praying for you. But please remember: Christ died for this too. Take your eyes away from your sin, and look to Him. The Gospel is outside you.

  7. Jerald says:

    Good, challenging truth. When I love my wife as Christ loves the church, I can’t use feelings or her response (or lack of) as an excuse for not loving her. Christ loved me and DIED for me while I was his enemy.

    What saddens me is it seems to me that the church as a whole has accepted remarriage after divorce as acceptable. This shatters the picture of our marriage reflecting Christ’s relationship with the church. Jesus is always faithful to me (as part of the church) and will never give up on me and marry another even if I demand a divorce from him and walk out of the relationship. It is following the world’s reasoning and not the Bible’s if I do anything less than that for my wife.

    Lee, my heart goes out to you and I pray God would give you love for your wife that goes beyond human understanding.

  8. Julia says:

    Thank you, Jason!

    I am sharing with my three grown sons.
    (non-married ages 25, 22, 20)

    I am also praying for Lee and his wife. For her to be convicted, repent and restore their relationship!
    There is power in pleading earnestly for the return of his true saints.

    In Christian love, Julia

  9. Jonathan Bonomo says:

    Thanks for these reflections, Jason. I’m reminded of the words of Tertullian, in a letter he wrote to his wife:

    “How beautiful is the marriage of two Christians. They are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in Spirit. They are in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one Spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they face difficulties and persecution, and share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another, they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts… Psalms and hymns they sing to one another. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present. And where He is, there evil is not.”

  10. Michael B. says:

    I don’t understand how you can command someone to love someone else. Love isn’t something you can control — you either love someone or you don’t. Now one can choose to treat somebody well, but one can’t choose whether or not he will love somebody.

  11. FirstRP says:

    Michael,
    Doesn’t that depend on one’s definition of love. I’d agree that according to culture’s definition of love (which is more emotive) you’re right, love isn’t something that you can control. But the biblical concept of love is something more than this. It’s an expression of putting one before yourself, it’s a dying to self. If we think of it in that definition, we may say it’s altogether appropriate to tell husbands they must love their wives. After all, Paul does.
    Grace,
    KB

  12. BOBBY says:

    Michael B., Paul is using the word “LOVE” as a synonym to “submit”. Submitting is something you can control. As FirstRP puts it, it is “putting one before yourself, it is dying to self”. Love, as I said in my first post, is submission on steroids. It is saying (and doing) “I will obey God’s word and submit myself to my wife”, to meet her needs before mine, dying to myself as Christ died for his bride, the church. For those in Christ, we can “love”, even when we don’t want to. It’s an amazing thing, this thing called love, for true love for one another can only come from a heart that has been loved in the Gospel. So Paul reminds husbands to love as Christ loved his bride and gave himself for it. That is the Gospel. Blessings!

  13. Well said. Thank you. For those who would like to explore this theme further, here is a link to the book, “Loving Your Wife as Christ Loves the Church”: http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Your-Christ-Loves-Church/dp/088469304X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327934116&sr=1-1

  14. Venessa Ozanne says:

    Lee, sorry to say but your post is very prideful! I don’t doubt that you had an abusive wife but I do doubt that you understand your own sin. Why? Do I say this … “I know full well,” sorry bro but you don’t and you will never know this to its fullest depth. Christ is perfect and did not deserve death – we are sinners and are only deserving of hell! And when we begin to understand this than our understanding of salvation changes from one of deserving or striving for perfection to one of grace, mercy and agape love. If you asked your wife if she thought you loved her I would not be surprised if she said NO. Repent of your pride, call upon the Lord to show you how to love your wife and stop and listen to what your wife is really trying to tell you through her abuse. She most likely is scared of been loved and to love. She does not need fixing she needs unconditional love shown to her that reflects Christ’s own love. And you need to study what love is because love is not always giving a person their own way. If God gave us our own way we would never in our flesh have chosen Him! God bless :)

  15. Ben Burdick says:

    Great article full of Biblical truth. Thanks!

    http://lovedoneright.blogspot.com/

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