|The need of love
Husbands are told to love because love is so necessary. Love is the motivating power to wonderfully treat others despite how that person responds to your love. In many cases it would seem that our wives do not at all deserve kind acts. This is possibly true. But this is the age of grace not judgment. We are called to imitate Christ and refuse to stand in judgment of others including our wives. Judgment is not our responsibility but God's. We plead for grace and live out mercy and kindness. Our business and duty is to treat people as they ought to be cared for because they are made in the image of God.
|The place of love
In marriage there are many, many opportunities of expressing this love. Sometimes it has to do with free time. At other times it has to do with timing for sexual intimacies. Opportunities to love abound. Love requires us always to be sensitive to the needs of our wives.
The test of love
The marriage becomes an excellent testing ground that reveals the sincerity and depth of love. Day after day, night after night we are given opportunities to love our wives. The intensity of the marriage context increases the degree of love or the degree of hate. If we turn back from our responsibility to love, then we will lessen our attention to our wife and put it toward other women. Watching sensual movies at home with your wife is an example. If we really love our wife, then we can not tolerate our eyes to follow after other women.
|The source of love
We don't naturally possess this kind of love. Self-love interferes with other-love. Imitations of love can and should be developed from surrounding conditions such as good parental examples. Without Christ, we cannot love unconditionally. When a person becomes a Christian, God's love is implanted in their lives. As God's child the husband is able to draw upon the strength and example of God to help him love his wife as Christ loved the church. This divine love is so essential to Christian living that God says if we do not have love, then we are not of Him.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and
everyone who loves is
born of God and
(1 John 4:7, NASB).
"Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also ought to love
(1 John 4:11).
"If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." 1 John 4:20,21, NASB
|Forgiveness & love
Love means we forgive. We, of course, cannot grant our wives God's forgiveness. Only God can do that. When a person does wrong to another, he becomes a moral debtor. He has held back what good and right action was owed. As long as the debt stands between them, the relationship will incur all sorts of mistrust. But if we forgive, then we are releasing the moral debt that person owes us. We can continue on in growing trust in our relationships. We must choose not to take revenge but instead to treat the other with kindness.
- We forgive as Christ forgave;
- we accept as Christ accepted;
- We hope as Christ hoped.
|Patience and love
Love typically requires that we put aside our own preferences for the sake of another. How true this is in marriage. In the end the issue is the same. We pay close attention to what she or he likes. This means we wait patiently. It might mean we don't even get the attention that we would like. We should gently communicate our needs to the one we love, but we can not make demands. Our primary reason for being here is to love. If I can please my best friend, then I am happy indeed. Lust stain the very path it creates because it is focused on self. When selfish there is no sensitivity except sensitivity to oneself! When our minds are working to satisfying our lusts, we are figuring a way to get more! We are not thinking about how to give more.
Love is patient. Love means that sometimes we are not loved back. Loving means we sometimes have to wait a long time. In the Old Testament Law, it is commanded that there be no sexual intercourse during the wife's period or for a time after the birth of a baby. Are you going to let your mind and body wander at this time? Or will you use self-control to show your loyal devotion to your wife? Love is exercises self-control because it is God's call on our lives. In Christ we find all the deepest and most necessary needs for our lives by caring nicely for others.
Lust or Love driven?
When we live by our lusts, we are physically driven. If we are deprived of what we want, then we are easily upset and driven to search other means to be fulfilled. This means we will often use other partners including fantasy ones. When we are love driven, we are giving. Our spouse might be tired, pregnant, mean, sick or just plain distracted. We still seek to fulfill her special needs. We pray, help, encourage, buy flowers, etc.. Our goal is not to get sex but to care for the special needs of the moment.
When love reigns in a marriage, sexual needs fit in the overall scheme of things. Those needs never stand out by themselves. In the last section of this series more practical steps will be given to those who seem driven by sexual desires. But remember, you cannot love as long as you let your lusts drive you. You must take over the driving and by God's grace begin to retrain yourself to care for your spouse.
Many marriages are not good. Mistrust has built up. When steps of love are first taken, the wife will more than likely be skeptical of your motives - probably with good reason. Don't be defensive and especially don't be offended. Just continue to quietly love. Love unconditionally. Love forever. Love is going to be what rules your mind and thoughts. But you can be sure, as a Christian, God will always be willing to help you. Sacrifice might be needed. Be willing to give and even to die in your love for your spouse. This devotion is the life of a marriage.