Real love of a husband to his wife involves 7 different dimensions. Unfortunately, any husband that says that he loves his wife, probably doesn't, based on what God says in His Word. Obviously, the 7 dimensions are a big challenge that can overwhelm you if try to do it in your own strength.
Real love is definitely unconditional, but it involves other clear values and actions that help you see how much God loves us. And if you just look at unconditional it seems impossible! But consider the an additional seeming impossibility, God asks a husband to be JESUS to his wife!
Now that can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. And you can use each of these seven elements of real love as a way to see whether you are moving toward or away from being like Jesus.
Unconditional love, real love, does not depend on whether the object deserves love or not. That means love is not based on how your wife is acting or living! And, it is not subject to the whim of your opinion or emotions. Christ did not die because the church deserved it and that is our example that real love isn't about whether your wife deserves it or not. When husbands submit to Christ, they love their wife and submit to the wife's need to be safe and secure.
This love is a gift to your wife to help her not follow the Judgment for Women. It turns your focus on relating to her, not “ruling” over her. Therefore, it meets her relationship design.
Now some additional reality. You can provide all 7 dimensions of real love to your wife, but it is still her decision to accept the love. That means you can love as Christ loves the church, but she may still say NO to the relationship!
SO, are you still going to love her as Christ loves the church? Do you have real love for your wife?
…and gave Himself for her… – Ephesians 5:25
Sacrifice is surrendering something you value for something else. The Apostle Paul says that husbands are to not spare sacrificing even themselves for their wife, just as Christ sacrificed Himself for the Church.
How do you sacrifice for your wife? You probably won’t have to die. But perhaps you could give up some of “your” time to do something with her. Of course, you can talk with her, spend time with her, or even go shopping with her! Real love sacrifices. Are you?
The key to sacrifice is dying to self. Dying to self is similar to LOVE in that its focus is on others.
Sanctifying / Purifying Love
… that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word… – Ephesians 5:26
Men, God has given you the amazing responsibility to help set your wife apart as holy, preserving her virtue and purity. That means you protect her from compromising or defiling situations, and encourage her to remove anything that brings impurity into her life.
How do you do this? You use the water of the Word to wash the dirt of the world off her. The Greek for “word” implies spoken portions, not entirety, which implies that husbands know enough of God’s Word to know which portions to speak at the proper times. This is how you can develop wife through speaking and standing upon the Word.
Your ability to cleanse and mature anyone is from Christ and His Word. And real love has a foundation in what Christ says not your opinion.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. – Ephesians 5:29
Men, nourish your wife! That is real love which helps her mature and blossom. Have you noticed what you can do to help develop talents God has given her? Have you thought about helping her mature in the Lord?
Well, here are a few suggestions: 1) Pray with her. 2) Discuss God’s Word with her. 3) Observe her, don't judge her, and 4) ask if she is interested in what you see.
Finally, stop making everything about “ME” - yourself!
Nourish also means “to feed.” So, provide for her. And, that fits with a man’s design to work and provide, and further supports the fact that man is to be the breadwinner.
… and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. – Ephesians 5:29
What do you think about the word cherish? There’s something about the word that most women like. For example, if you tell your wife you love her, she will enjoy that. But when you tell her you cherish her, she probably will feel even more valued, secure, and protected.
In Greek, cherish means to soften or warm with body heat, like a bird on a nest. In English, it means to hold dear, value highly, take great care of, and treat tenderly. So when you’re cherishing your wife, you state that you will provide a secure, warm, soft place for her.
God designed man to work and provide a secure, warm place for his wife, and God designed her for a safe, warm place.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. – Ephesians 5:31
Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24, before sin, when man and woman were still operating in purity. He reminds us that the sanctity of marital oneness has not changed. And not even the fall could abolish it.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25-27
Taking the analogy literally, the result of this cleansing will be to present the wife to her husband. She is presented to us as the Church is presented to Christ.
This implies that real love benefits the husband also! The picture is of a bride presented in a marriage ceremony, ideally, she will be without “spot, wrinkle, blemish.” Preparing her is pictured as the husband’s job, as Christ is about the business of preparing His church. Men, will your wife look like the idyllic pictures of marriage ceremonies; a glorious beauty, pristine in her countenance and adornment…or, something less, maybe even dirty with tattered clothes?
Scripture says “woman is the glory of man” (I Corinthians 11:7). Glory implies a shining and a reflection. Some things you don’t like in your wife may be a reflection of you!
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