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.