Date: October 28
Category: Marriage and Relationships
"However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]."
This verse is very similar to what we read in Colossians 3:19 about husbands and wives, except this verse has somewhat of a different emphasis. Here we read, "Let each man of you [without exception] love his wife." In the Greek language, there are four different words for love. One word for love is "phileo," which represents the love between two friends. Another word for love is "stergo," which is the love between family members. Then another word is "eros," which is a sexual love between a husband and a wife. Then there is "agape" love, which is the love of God – an unconditional love given to us regardless of whether or not we deserved it.
Here in this passage, Paul is talking about "agape" love. A husband is commanded to love his wife without exception, meaning regardless of whether she deserves his love or not. In this chapter, verses 22-33 deals with the relationship between a husband and wife. Paul uses that as a picture to show the relationship between Christ and the Church. For example, we read in verse 25, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her." In other words, husbands are commanded to love their wives with the same standard and the same approach as Christ loved the Church. So a husband is to direct all his attention, kindness, and good words towards his wife.
Then in verse 28 we read, "Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself." So the way a husband loves his wife should be the way he loves his own body. That's the second standard for how a husband should love his wife. Then in verse 29 Paul explains it more clearly, "For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church." So a husband's role is to nourish, carefully protect, and cherish his wife in the same way that Christ does those things for the Church.
Then in verse 31 we read, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." So when a man wants to get married, he has to leave his parents and join himself with his wife, and that intimate sexual relationship is part of marriage. Then in verse 33a we read that a husband is to love his wife as being in a sense his very own self, meaning he should treat his wife the way he would like to be treated. Those are all the responsibilities of a husband.
In the same way a husband should love his wife, a wife should love her husband as well. Before a couple gets married, they speak nice words to each other, buy each other nice gifts, and show each other love, attention, and affection. But often after they get married, those things stop. The husband and wife begin to take each other for granted. That's why many people engage in adultery and that's why many marriages fall a part. It's so important that even after marriage both spouses continue to do whatever they can to please the other person.
In verse 33b we read, "let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband." Respecting her husband means a wife needs to pay attention to him and hold him at a very high esteem. That means that a wife should notice her husband. Regardless of whoever else is around, her husband is the most important person to her. Not only that but she should regard and honor him. Also, she should prefer him, meaning she should desire him and no other man. And she should venerate and esteem him, meaning she should have a deep adoration for him.
Then it says that a wife should defer to her husband, meaning she should allow him to take that priestly role that God has given him and allow him to take authority and hold the responsibilities within the relationship. Not only that, but a wife should praise, love and admire her husband exceedingly. One of the greatest needs that a husband has is to receive the praise of his own wife. Men will do anything just to be praised by their wives. Once they receive that praise, there is nothing they would not do for their wives. That's why the Lord has commanded a wife to do exactly that.
So we can see from this passage that God wants us to love our spouse with an "agape" love, an unconditional and undeserving love. We do that by showing our spouse love in a way they would understand it. There is nothing worse than being a married woman who is not loved by her husband. And there is nothing worse than being a married man who is not respected and appreciated by his wife. So let us take these words to heart today because this is what keeps a marriage strong.