Real Love – 7 Dimensions of a Husband’s Love
Real love of a husband to his wife involves 7 different dimensions. Any husband that says that he loves his wife, probably doesn't, based on what God wants. The 7 dimensions are a big challenge that can overwhelm you if trying 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. If you just look at unconditional it seems impossible! But consider the further seeming impossibility, God asks a husband to be JESUS to his wife!
This can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. Each of these seven elements real love become a way to see whether we are moving toward or away from being like Jesus.
Unconditional love, real love, does not depend on whether the object deserves it or not. Men, it is not based on how your wife is acting or living! And, it is not subject to the whim of your emotions. Christ did not die because the church deserved it. Real love isn't about whether your wife deserves it or not. Husbands submit to Christ, when 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 we sacrifice for our wife? You probably won’t have to die. But perhaps you could give up some of “your” time to do something with her. You might talk with her, spend time with her, or even go shopping with her! Real love is willing to sacrifice. 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. You protect her from compromising or defiling situations, and you encourage her to remove anything that brings impurity into her life.
How do you do this? 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 are to be knowledgeable 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.
The ability to cleanse and mature anyone is from Christ and His Word. Real love leads based on what Christ is saying. You do not do this based on how you feel or from 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! Real love helps her mature and blossom. What can you do to help develop talents God has given her? What can you do to help her mature in the Lord? Here are a few suggestions: Pray with her. Discuss God’s Word with her. Observe her, don't judge her, and ask if she is interested in what you see.
Finally, stop making everything about “ME”.
Nourish also means “to feed.” So, provide for her. This fits with a man’s design to work and provide, and supports the fact that man is to be the breadwinner.
… and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. – Ephesians 5:29
There’s something about the word “cherish” that can make a woman’s heart melt. Men, if you tell a woman you love her, she will enjoy that. But tell her you cherish her, and 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 are providing 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 is quoting from Genesis 2:24, before sin, when man and woman were still operating in purity. He’s reminding us that the sanctity of marital oneness has not changed. Not even the fall could abolish it.
Why a singular love? What about divorce? Divorce does not actually separate. “Joined” in Greek means “glued together”. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), and God has not changed His mind (Malachi 3:6). (see Chapter 11)
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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