Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Note 8 at Eph 5:25: It is interesting to note that the Lord commanded the men to love their wives and the wives to respect (Eph 5:33) their husbands. This is because women tend to relate to others more on the emotional level of love, while men relate to others more on the level of mutual respect. Men don't have to like their associates in the business world to get along with them. If mutual respect is present, men can tolerate big differences. In general, women are not that way. They are more concerned with having a good relationship with others than men are.
Because of this, if not warned, men will give women what they themselves naturally crave, which is respect, while women will give men what they naturally crave, which is love. In doing this, the basic need of the partner will be lacking and the spouse will not understand why. The wife will say, "I love him," not understanding that he needs respect, and the man will say, "I respect her," not understanding that the wife wants to be loved.
Men often equate respect with love. Husbands may think that because they honor their wives, provide for them, and protect them, they are loving them. But the average wives want to be loved on a more intimate level. Likewise, women think that because they are affectionate to their husbands, that is enough. Yet men also want to be respected.
A man who has everyone at the office say "Yes, sir" to him and show him respect, has a hard time coming home and being criticized over and over for some failure in his performance, even if he knows his wife loves him. Likewise, the woman who has others lavish her with compliments on her looks or personality has a hard time coming home to a man who ignores her, even if he is a good provider.
It is very appropriate that Paul instructed the husband to love his wife and the wife to reverence her husband. Left to ourselves, we would fail to understand the different needs of our mates and give them what we are personally looking for, thereby leaving their needs unfulfilled without realizing it.
Note 9 at Eph 5:25: Husbands are to follow the example of Christ in the way they love their wives. How did Christ love us?
First, the love of Christ was extended to us before we requested it or changed our actions. Ro 5:8 says, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Therefore, men should love their wives independently of whether they deserve it or not. Wives should not have to earn their husbands' love.
Second, Jesus took our blame and bore our punishment. Men should protect their wives by taking their shame and sharing their pain. It is never appropriate for men to tell their wives, "That's your problem. You made your bed, now you lie in it." That is not the way Jesus treated us.
The Lord also promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). A wife craves the security of knowing that her husband is committed to her "till death do us part." Failure to impart this sense of security is a breeding ground for all kinds of fears and imaginations that Satan uses to destroy marriages. There is no excuse for men deserting their families.
There are many other lessons to be learned from our Lord about the way husbands should love. Jesus loved us with the greatest sacrifice possible. He died in our place. If men would love their wives as Christ has loved the church, many marriage problems would not exist.
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