How do you "Love your wife as Christ loved the Church"?


#1

Well, gentlemen, it seems the baton needs to be passed to us. The ladies have a long thread about being submissive to us. Perhaps it’s time we discussed how we fulfill our God mandated requirement to love our wives as Christ loved the Church.

There are times when that is an easy command. I know that in my married life, most of the time it was easy. I didn’t so much pray for my wife as thank God for giving me such a wonderful woman. I failed in that because I was selfish. I should have been praying more for her and less about her. Things were good, though, and I believed that I was owed a good marriage.

When times got tough, when her actions made it clear that she had lost respect for me and no longer saw me as the man she once did, I struggled to do my duty. I was angry and bitter and not all that inclined to love her sacrificially. My own needs and desires were more important to me than hers. I’m not talking about anything immoral, just day-to-day things. I allowed her actions and behaviors to get in the way of my obedience to God. I saw her rejection of me and our former lifestyle as a rebellion and I reacted poorly. In the times of transition, when I could have possibly had some affect on her decisions, I was controlled by my emotions and feelings more than I should have been. As a result she probably felt she could not discuss things that she was feeling. Again, I failed.

I’ve finally come to the place where I can pray for her earnestly, humbly, confessing my own failings and sins, but the damage has been done. My lack of obedience to this command is a large part of the reason why a world-class marriage is now just a run of the mill one. I still love her and she still loves me, but we lack that “special” bond we once had. The toll of the last few years was so great that we will probably never be what we once were. Much of this, I believe, comes from my lack of obedience in this area. I did not love her as God commanded, I loved her as I needed to. The emotional responses that I had were enough to convince me I was doing the right thing.

Men, this command is as much for our own good as for our wife’s. When we fail to love sacrificially we risk building a marriage on human grounds and not God’s. When we fail to plead before the Father for our wife, we fail. When we refuse to actually sacrifice here on earth for her, we fail. When we do not quail at the enormity of the task, instead believing that we’re doing the right thing, we fail. Think on the actual words, “Love you wife as Christ loved the Church.” How daunting is that? How impossible is it to accomplish? If we’re not struggling daily with that, we’re probably ignoring it.

It took me losing everything that made life special to understand this. I blamed her for too long for refusing to be the wife I thought she should be. I wanted her to be submissive when it came to the “big” decisions, but I had lost that right because I failed to do what I was commanded to do. I abrogated my duty and had the audacity to blame her.

I am beginning to understand what it means to love this way. It’s hard, and I’m still a selfish person who wants his way, but I can see a difference. I don’t know if she can, or ever will. Do not squander your blessings as I did. Start today to make a change in how you obey God in this command.


#2

Ghost,

Just wanted to say that your post was very inspiring. I know that for me, reading The Good News About Sex and Marriage was what opened my eyes to the beauty of my wife and learning how to love and respect her the way that I should, through the eyes of Jesus. As I get more and more into my faith and that being the central part of our lives is has given us the strength in our marriage that we need. She is a the greatest blessing that God has given to me, a living example of Christ’s love for me and I get to see that and experience that each and every day of my life.

We, as husbands, are called to be so much more in this life than just husbands, we are called to be like Christ and as you said, “love our wives as Christ loves the Church.” Are we man enough to do that?


#3

I was in the same boat, GhostMan. Been there, done that. Life was AWFUL for both of us. I read about the Theology of the Body and I CHANGED… However, that did not “fix” things… for months I expected my wife to notice. She did not. The subject came up and I told her about TOB and how I now embraced the Church’s stand on things. It still did not change things. I started learning more about my faith. That started to change things. But what finally got us back on track was focusing on us. Talking out the issues and communicating again… I so wanted to go to Retrouville, but she suggested 10 Great Dates. And things have slowly come around.

I thank God every day for the wonderful woman I married. The family she’s given me. The love she gives that I do not deserve.
I say to you, it is not too late. For anyone. Admit your failings. Love you wife. Focus on the positive. Pray. And things will get better.

But for you question… Loving your wife as Christ loves the Church… What a high order! Who of us sinners could ever hope to love like that! We can’t. But we can’t give up either. But as TOB states, you must be willing to die for her. Offer up those things that you desire for her comfort. If she is tired, encourage her to rest. Do not whine, but wine and dine. Touch often, but give her space. Unless you married a selfish person, your life only will get better if you do these things.

May the Lord give Peace to you!


#4

Christ loves the Church way more than I would love my future wife. However, I would love her and pray that she would love God and people more and more each day. I would pray for her to have the wisdom to raise our kids and bring them closer to God as well. For me, be supportive to her materially and spiritually.


#5

To answer the question, with great difficulty, actually, since I’m certainly fully human, but not close to fully divine. BUt it seems to me that I’m getting better at it as time (nearly 40 years) goes by, and she seems to think so, too.

Blessings,

Gerry


#6

Ghost, you should print out your statement and put it in an envelope and leave it with a rose for your wife. Unless she has a heart of stone I don’t see how she could be unmoved by what you wrote and maybe see that you are genuinely wanting to work on your marriage. That was the nicest thing I’ve seen a man write in years. :thumbsup:


#7

Suggestions for husbands:

When you have some free time, approach her and ask, “Honey, what can I do to help you right now?” Be prepared to follow through.

Without being asked, do some task around the house that she usually has to do.

Take the kids away for a whole day so she can have that time to herself.

Get the vacuum out and do the family room and living room right in front of her without making any comments about what you’re doing.

These suggestions come from my wife of 27 years, who told me to do the above instead of buying flowers. She said, “If you really love me, show it by cleaning up the kitchen and emptying the dishwaser. That says a lot more than flowers.”

BTW: When a husband hears the voice of Jesus speaking to him through his wife, he obeys his Savior. We have to be careful about this, “submission” thing. It goes both ways.

Blessings from Oregon, where we used to fight Indians. Now we fight pagans. - Rob


#8

Consider a Marriage Encounter Weekend to get your world class marriage back.
wwme.org/new.html


#9

I just came back to the Church recently and want so much to be part of my Catholic upbring. My dilemma is my wife is Methodist and doesn’t want anything to do with the Catholic Church. I have tried to be a good husband and be patient with her, but to no avail, she will not believe me that I had some kind of spiritual awaking to come back to the Church.
We have been married for over 41 years and I have been away from the Church that long. Several months ago I got a strong feeling, very strongly, to come back to the Church and I have. I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
She feels that I have lied to her all these years. We were going to the Methodist church, but I silently didn’t like it. I wanted to please her. She will not attend her church because of the embarrassment I have caused to her. I don’t want to leave the Church ever again but don’t want to endanger our marriage either. She refuses to read, talk or get any advice from my priest. She does not like the Catholic faith. I pray a great deal about my situation and need all prayers I can
mrhav


#10

mrhav,

We are alike in many ways, except it was my wife converting away from the True faith. The pain inflicted during her journey away from me and the fullness of the faith has been so intense that I have lost the ability to experience any emotions. Splits like this crush the heart of a relationship. The party who hasn’t moved feels like the other is rejecting them. When you made this change, although for your own spiritual gain and at the urging of hte Holy Ghost, you made changes to her life that she had no control over. You now attend a different church. She feels like she cannot go to hers anymore, yet is not called to be with you right now in the Catholic Church. She feels abandoned and confused. You’ve changed the rules on her and she does not share in your reasons. She’s pulled along for the ride without any of the gains that you have experienced.

I am like your wife in many ways. I’m confused about what my wife is running from/to. I don’t know to even relate to her anymore. Her conversion was done in a manner that hurt me more than I thought I could bear. She didn’t even seem to care about the losses, pain, suffering and even physical effects that her conversion caused. She was getting what she wanted and that was enough. Everyone else was acceptable collateral damage.

Have you done something similar? Have you really talked to your wife about your conversion and explained to her what was going on, or have you - like my wife - just done your own thing without ever talking to your spouse?Have you made certain that she knows this is not some mid-life crisis and a new sportscar and young girl are not next? Have you listened, really listened to her reasons for being upset and feeling like she was lied to?

Religious changes in a mature relationship should be treated with the utmost care. You are not just you own man - although the state of your soul is between you and God - and you must consider your wife as well. You must work hard to show her you love her and are not rejecting her and the life you’ve made together. You need to share your thoughts and feelings and listen to her too. You may need to find places where you can compromise without "C"ompromising if you get my meaning.

If she’s like me then she is dead inside and cannot ever believe that life will be good again. Se feels betrayed and abandoned by the person she loves most. She wonders what is next. Be patient and win her back. You made the changes in your joint lives, the onus is on you to help her as best you can.


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.