Loving husbands are a rare breed, because it requires 7 dimensions of love (Ephesians 5:25-33). All 7 dimensions are impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit in his life, but the first dimension is particularly difficult. Loving as Christ loves the church means it is UNCONDITIONAL.
That is further supported when you see that the Greek word for love in Ephesians 5:25 is agape, not eros or phileo. Agape is an unconditional love.
Pursuing the best (highest good) for others; patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally
That is our working definition of LOVE. All believers are asked to love unconditionally (agape) in a variety of passages like John 15:12.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
The difference for loving husbands is there are 6 additional dimensions of what God is expecting of him. But, for now, let's look at love properly, through the lens that sees it as both powerful and relational. A proper view of love follows the image of God - powerful and relational. Check out course 2b for more details.
Love is powerful when it shares the truth, even when the truth does not feel good. Love is relational when it cares, comforts, and consoles. But, love is a combination of both, not a balance, but a proportion that is needed for each situation. Since we are not PERFECT like God, we cannot be 100% of both all the time. But, the combination of both is what helps us "pursue the best" for others.
If you are only powerful or only relational, that isn't love! It could be more likely defined as control (power) or tolerance (relating).
The Two Ditches
Loving husbands do what God asks. They walk on the “Pursuing Her Best Road.” But, it is very easy to be in the ditch on the right or the ditch on the left of the road.
One ditch, you control her (dominate or manipulate) to “make her change." That is the Power Ditch. Or, you just want to get along “putting up with her.” That means you are tolerating her, just relating to her. You are in the Relate Ditch. Either ditch is off the "Pursuing Her Best Road."
There are numerous problems for relationships when you stay in the ditches, but one of the biggest is when you trade ditches.
Let’s say you are in the Relate Ditch saying, “I’ll love her no matter what she does.” That’s great and what God wants of you. But, if you are in the Relate Ditch you are really saying, “I’m not going to say anything even if she is in blatant sin, because when I say something the relationship becomes miserable. I will just tolerate bad behavior.”
Tolerating or “putting up with” sin is not love. Love pursues her best, which means you accept her where she is and you hope, pray, encourage, exhort and even rebuke her ungodly behavior. If you are living in the Relate Ditch, you will not do the “exhort and rebuke” actions, because that requires power.
So, you “Trade Ditches” – cross the “Pursuing Her Best Road” into the Power Ditch. For example, you hear what I am saying about not tolerating sin and you think, “That’s right, I have been tolerating her sin. What she is doing is just wrong and she keeps doing it!” Then you confront her in a powerful, mean-spirited way – you just jumped from one ditch to the other.
Or, you have been in the Power Ditch, become convicted of that and cross the road to the Relate Ditch, just to get along “at any cost.” That type of behavior will often require you to give up some good values to just relate, tolerate, or get along.
The Power Ditch is either acting like a dictator, aggressively trying to control her. Or, being an "actor", pretending to be nice, but you are trying to manipulate her into changed behavior. You can be very manipulative in the relational ditch also.
Get On the Road
Both ditches are bad, loving husbands get on the road. Jumping back and forth into the ditches solves nothing. The road combines both Power and Relating – that is where God wants you. Stand on good and Godly values and relate those values patiently, kindly, sacrificially and unconditionally.
AND, always remember that changing is HER DECISION, not yours. God has called loving husbands to pursue her best, but her change is between her and God.
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!