Guys, do you remember those courting days, when you and your wife-to-be couldn’t get enough time together? Remember when saying “I love you” to your sweetheart was as normal a part of your life as waking up each morning? Remember when she could do no wrong and everything about her was new, wonderful, and invigorating? Remember the laughter, the fun, and even the silliness of those days when a note, a call, or a text absolutely made your day?
And do you remember that special day, when you stood before a crowd of friends and family, and made this pledge:
“I take you to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”
Well, if you’ve been married any amount of time since those days, it’s possible, if not likely, that the routine, burdens and grind of life has served to distort and distract all those initial thoughts, feelings and beliefs. You may have even forgotten the words you enthusiastically recited as you began your new life together.
Lori and I have been married for nearly 37 years and, while we have had our share of disagreements, and things have not always been rosy, I thank God that our love and commitment remains strong and unwavering. Yet, over the years, I’ve had a number of close friends confide in me that their marriages were struggling and that the “D” word was even coming up in conversations with their spouse. Many guys I’ve known have expressed their discontent, anger, frustration and second thoughts about the lady who they felt 180-degrees differently about just a few years earlier.
So what changed? How is it that something that was so hot became so cold; something that was meant “till death do us part” could now so readily be concluded?
There are a myriad of reasons and explanations for each one of these marital challenges. But one thing that might be missing in most, is the choice to love. And that choice to love is illustrated beautifully in these verses in Ephesians 5:25-29:
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”
Note that inherent in Christ’s love of the church is a choice that He made: to give up His life and to care for His church. No one could doubt Christ’s commitment to love. But as great as that commitment was and is, what is even more astounding is the object of Christ’s love, the church. Consider that the church is full of broken, sinful men and women, who routinely fail their Savior and turn their backs on Him. Yet, Christ’s love remains constant and immoveable, in spite of our frail and ugly selves.
Now, using the illustration of Christ’s love for the church, we husbands are commanded to “love our wives.” Period. That command has no qualifier, other than we are to love her as our own bodies. Furthermore, because of the illustration of Christ giving up His life for the church, we can also conclude that a husband should exhibit an unwavering commitment to sacrifice on behalf of his wife, even unto death if it were required. But since it’s unlikely most of us will be called to actually die for our wife, perhaps we should just strive to love her when she might act unloveable, which might be possible. (Of course, what’s more likely is that we husbands might be even more unloveable than her.)
Now this may be an odd sort of article coming from a guy who loves to write about politics, government, culture and philosophy. But if you believe, as I do, that as the family goes, so goes the nation, then there is no more important topic than marriage and the family.
My heart often grieves for the state in which we find our nation, cities and culture. Sadly though, I believe that we are reaping the severe consequences of what we have sown via our rejection of God and His founding values upon which our nation was built. And certainly there is no more important value than marriage.
So if you are a guy who is struggling in your marriage, and if you seemed to have lost the love and commitment that you once had for your wife, I encourage you to reconsider, recommit and begin to evaluate the kind of love that Christ showed for you. If you will do this, and then find someone you respect to walk alongside you as you seek to restore your marriage to what it was always meant to be, then there is hope. And where there is hope, there is potential that, with God’s help, and your willingness to follow His leading, your marriage can be healed.
So keep keeping on. Do right until the stars fall. Love your wife. And look to the ultimate example of love. Christ chose to love you, even while you were unloveable.