“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Paul, to a group of folks in
My wife doesn’t call me Brian, not usually, not unless I’m in trouble. She calls me “Husband”.
It goes back to our transition from courting, to dating, to engaged, to fully and irrevocably committed to each other until the separation of death comes. I could tell instantly after we got married that my wife gloried in my commitment to her. She had made the risky commitment to me in her heart long before I had. She chose to put her heart “out there” before she ever got the commitment from me that I would care for it as she deserves. She moved to
Suffice it to say it was an emotionally painful journey for her. But she courageously waited in pain and fear. She had no way of knowing if this would ever lead to “will you let me spend the rest of my life thanking you for waiting?” or “I’m sorry, Carrie, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be married.”
And so, when we walked the beautiful path, finally together, to our vows of forever, her joy (and my glory) came in her changing my name from Brian to Husband. Shoot, just thinking about that first year, seeing her face say “Husband” to me so intentionally, so proud, so victorious, and so full of beauty packs the title with privilege and honor for me.
Since then, we have continued our introspective journey’s together, trying to continue the transformation of our lives into greater and greater Christlikeness and God-awareness…doing so as partners. But…
We sometimes get confused. Instead of staying on the introspective journey, we go extro-spective, inspecting each other, trying to change each other for our own good.
But I have to wonder. I wonder how my wife would change if I loved her just like Jesus loved the church.
How many moments in my day do I fail to heed the simple words, “Husbands, love your wives”? Dude, my new name is written right into the verse, you’d think I’d get it.
This verse goes on to suggest that I can do it. That I can love my wife so completely, so totally, and so appropriately that I can even shoulder her “issues” and love doing it! And that by loving her so comprehensively that I would actually then we loving myself appropriately! Isn’t that what Jesus did for us? It says here that I can present my bride to myself holy, blameless, and without wrinkle! What if ALL of the work I think needs to take place in her is really my message from God that I have work to do in ME? This stirs up the wild adventurer in me, I’ll admit. I want to believe this is true. I will feel like a genuine hero in the eyes of my wife, because I’m so intimately fighting for her heart. It might even put the sparkle and pride and disbelief back into her eye when she says “Husband” to me.
My friend Jim Spivey said it like this once.
"The condition of my marriage is a perfect reflection of the condition of my life, which is a perfect reflection of the condition of my faith. If I want to improve my marriage, I must check my own integrity and straighten my own life out and get right with God. Life is about continually learning to be more powerfully loving, and genuine love only attracts itself. How much my partner loves me is really none of my business."
This is how I’m going to love my wife. Ya’ll can measure how well I’m doing through the growing sparkle in her eye, the calm ease at which she walks through life giving the strength of her beauty away to friends and children. I know I’m on the hook for this (she will read this, too!), but this is a hook I want on. Pray for me.