1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
I am sure many husbands have heard this verse over and over as it is often brought to their attention by their wives.
But there is a limited and inferior view of the word love in the world today. Most people see the word love and think of a good feeling one gets because they are cared about. These people stop at the phrase ‘God love you’ and they apply that they are accepted as they are. They then feel happy that someone cares about them.
Or they apply the romantic definition to the word and start saying to their husbands, you are not kissing me enough, not holding me enough or not holding my hand in public or whatever their complaint may be. Now for me, I am not a fan of pda’s (public displays of affection) as I lived 14 years in Korea, a country that rarely displayed any public affection to their loved ones and I went to a bible college that discouraged them for a variety of reasons.
Then there is the complaint that those who want to be blind support for whatever endeavor they are pursuing. They feel that if they do not get that support then they are not loved.
These complaints and others like them all contain one common element. They are defined by the ideas of those who understand the word love in a very limited fashion, a subjective manner and all human sourced. In other words, how they view love comes from how they were taught, how they want to feel, and what they want to take place and while the definitions of the word I have already given are a part of the word love and love contains those elements, those definitions do not make up the whole content of the word ‘love’.
Back in my undergrad days Dr. Jimmy Dirraddo came to our school to participate in a week long seminar. He was also the closing speaker and he decided not to speak from the outline given to us students and spoke from a text- ‘That ye love one another as I have loved you. Dr. Dirraddo spent the next hour defining love as action and of course love is action even when husbands love their wives
With all of these different ideas about love, we have to ask how did Christ love the church? This question is important if we want to practice biblical love as God defines the word not as each and every human defines it. If we tried to please all the people with all their different definitions of the word love, we would have a nervous breakdown and go crazy for it is just impossible to do.
But God’s definition gives us the ultimate and objective meaning of the world, a standard that is above all other definitions and leads us to the correct actions he wants us to take. So let’s look at how Jesus loved the church so husbands can know how to fully love their wives.
First, we see Jesus giving wise counsel to it. We see Jesus throughout his providing the guidance it needed to be stable, to function in a pleasing manner to God, how to defend against sin and so on. He was always there helping the church through its problems with the right words to solve them not dismissing them as unimportant.
Second, how do we get to the point of providing wise counsel? We learn. One of the lessons God taught me was that to be a good teacher I needed to be educated in more than just the subject I was teaching and men it is not enough to know only your employment field. We need to learn more because attacks from evil come from all directions and if you do not have the truth to defend against those attacks you and your family are vulnerable to destruction.
It is also not enough to say ‘well he is the pastor or he is an expert so they know and I will just trust what they say’. Blind adherence to other people’s words is not a biblical teaching but learning to discern between true and false teaching is and husbands, to lead your wives correctly you need to learn how to discern between true and false teaching no matter what topic is being discusses and one rule of thumb is this—if it disagrees with the Bible then it is wrong. But you have to make sure it actually disagrees with the Bible first before making that declaration.
Third, we see Jesus teaching the church. From the Sermon on the Mount to the loaves and fishes we see Jesus providing instruction the church needs to follow after him. Men, you need to learn how to teach your wives correctly. in North America we have a genre of movies called westerns and in those movies from time to time you see the men turn to their women and say ‘don’t worry your pretty little head over this’
It is very condescending attitude as it demonstrates that men think very little of their women and that the latter cannot handle the answers to their questions. But Christian men cannot take this attitude for a women cannot properly be your helpmate if they are lacking information. We need to teach our women correctly helping them understand so that they can use their god given attributes to their fullest.
Men, one way to love your wives is to teach them correctly so they can build their faith and use their talents as God wants.
Fourth, we see Jesus rebuking the disciples when they made errors in their faith. He was not using negative abusive language but made a simple statement, ‘ye of little faith’, and then proceeded to instruct them again and show them the real way to go.
We cannot be afraid to rebuke our wives when they need rebuking but this must be done correctly and not just because we are getting lazy and do not want to provide the right information to help them
Fifth, we see Jesus is patient with the church. He knows their humanity and all that comes with that status hinder their growth so Jesus gave them time to develop and learn and the same thing applies to husbands. Do not expect your wives to be perfect and do everything perfectly from the first moment you tell them something. They will make mistakes, they will forget or they will let fear or some other influence hinder their growth
That attitude leads us to the sixth part of what is God’s love—understanding. The book of proverbs tells us to get wisdom but in the same verses and usually the same line Solomon tells us to get understanding. Being understanding will help us to analyze a given situation and direct us to the right response.
The seventh part of love is forgiveness. Notice that Christ did not continually hold mistakes over the heads of his disciples or the church but corrected their mistakes, forgave them and let the disciples and others learn from the mistakes they made. Forgiveness does a lot, for example it removes the beams from our eyes so that we can see clearly on how to handle the situation, but it does not exclude discipline, rebuke, punishment and other necessary actions. it just helps us to act like Christians
The eighth part of God’s idea of love is we do not lie. We see Jesus telling his disciples, ‘if it were not so I would have told you’. So we do not lie to our wives and as Paul tells the Colossians, do not lie to one another’ those words apply to husbands and wives.
The biblical directions for marriage are not just contained in a few marriage verses, since husbands, wives, parents relatives and children are all part of God’s kingdom, they are the ‘one another’ as well’. Being honest, the fruits of the spirit and so on all are a part of how a marriage and family are to function.
One passage of scripture does not overrule another
Finally the ninth aspect of God’s definition of love and how Jesus loved the church is that he kept it in the right perspective. When the disciples returned from their first solo mission, they were excited about how ‘even the demons’ obey us but Jesus cut that excitement off by bringing the disciples back down to earth by saying- do not rejoice in this but rejoice rather that your names are written in the book of life’
We do not rejoice in power or control but in the humble knowledge that God has recorded our names so that we will live forever with him. We do not rejoice that we are better than the non-believers for even their marriages can and are good, but we rejoice that God has saved us and that he has given us a spouse that also is saved.
It is that humbleness that should lead every believer to the correct idea of what love and marriage are. Our marriages are not just the result of our hard work, but because God is a part of the family unit and leading us to learn how to correctly love another.
We cannot have a great marriage if we leave God and his definition of love out of the equation. Now i do not think I have mentioned all the areas of how God defines love. I am sure as you start with these few aspects you will find more if you are willing to learn and grow in Christ.