Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…
Spoiler alert: Do not read if you think that marriage is all about living happily ever after on easy street.
If you’re ready for some harsh reality, read on.
Marriage is hard. It takes real commitment. It takes guts, endurance, and sacrifice.
Marriage teaches a person how to stick it out through thick and thin. The relationship shapes the man and woman into different people. Marriage is about sacrifice made from a deeply committed, unconditional love.
Marriage requires work.
Marriage has been devalued in the past 100 years (even more so in the last several months!). Divorce is rampant, pornography invades, distractions abound. Husbands are portrayed as buffoons who can’t change a light bulb let alone be sensitive enough for their wives. Husbands have to find the delicate balance of being a breadwinner and a helper; the tough guy with the romantic (read: sensitive) side. They’ve got to be climbing the ladder of success while making time for the demands of their family. They are expected to be all things to all people.
Is it any wonder that so many marriages fail? Nobody can be that perfect 24/7!
The passage quoted above is taken from Ephesians 5. Note the first two verses of that chapter:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
It all begins with love. Not a gooey cinnabon type of love, but a sacrificial love. That means you don’t go to the football game when your wife is throwing up every 5 minutes and the kids are running amuck. It means refraining from buying that boat/car/tool/computer when the kids need braces. It means letting go of things important to you in the interests of the one you love. (This goes for both the husband and the wife).
Husbands are to be leaders in the home. Not domineering, overbearing arrogant leaders, but leaders who guide by example, who lay down their wants and needs for their families, who love through action. A good leader corrects error and guards the lives and souls of his wife and children. It is my perception that this concept has been sneered upon to the point that men feel like they need to be spectators in their marriage because as active participants they will never be appreciated.
There is a reason that Christ’s sacrificial love is used to compare the husband/wife relationship. Christ is the leader of the church. He Demonstrated his love and commitment to his bride by giving up heaven, suffering on earth, forsaking earthly power, and enduring shame through a bitter death.
Do husbands love their wives in a similar way?
People are imperfect. Not one of us can do exactly what Christ did, but we can follow his beautiful example. Write down names of husbands you are acquainted with using this free PDF template and pray for each man by name. There may not be enough room! Lay it out before the Lord as Hezekiah rolled out the letter of the Rabshakeh. (Isaiah 37.14)
If you are a husband: pray these principles for yourself (and for your married friends!). Ask God to help you fulfill the role of husband in a way that will please him.
Wives: it’s easy to become so focused on the praying for your children daily that you fail to pray for your spouse daily. He may seem like he can take care of himself, but he desperately needs God’s strength and protection like all people. Pray diligently for your husband.
Important note: Do not fail to pray for strong husbands. Remember King David, the “man after God’s heart”? He was strong in the Lord and yet he succumbed to temptation with Bathsheba. Remember, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5.8) Lions are not afraid to attack other lions; so Satan is not afraid to attack strong Christians. Pray for the strong and the struggling.
Here are some focus points for your prayers:
- Pray that they will be courageous. Yes, this is inspired by the movie of the same name. It takes courage to defend. It takes courage to love knowing that you will get hurt. They need to fight the devil who seeks to devour their family.
- Pray for them to lead with strength and humility. Do you think Christ was weak or strong? It takes a great deal of strength not to lash out against attackers or defend one’s self against false accusation. Christ did that. He knew He was God, yet he stooped down and washed the feet of humble fisherman. Pray for these husbands to act in the same manner toward their families.
- Pray for them to hold on to their integrity for dear life. Husbands must abstain from pornography, keep from lusting after other women, choose their situations with wisdom and be truthful with their wife. Fiercely protect that integrity!
- Pray for them to love their wives. This may seem like a no-brainer, but over time those initial euphoric feelings fade away to (hopefully) be replaced by a deeper, more lasting love. People mistake the absence of “feelings” as indicative of absent love. Pray that they will strive to keep their marriage strong by showing their wife love in ways that she will recognize and in ways she may not. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages is a great resource to really pinpoint the best ways to show love to your spouse.
- Pray for them to be strong against temptation. Temptation gallops. It’s hard to look in any direction without seeing some form of it. It’s all lies. Read Proverbs 5.3-4: For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” She may look great, but the result of succumbing to temptation will not be good for anybody.
- Pray for them to be immersed in the Word. I can think of no better way for husbands to be strong than to be intimately connected with the Word of God and diligent in prayer.
FREE PDF prayer guide. Includes bible verses and a few lines to add notes/names. Download by clicking here.
Pray with purpose.
Reach out and encourage!
Please leave feedback in the comments section re: the PDF download. I am still trying to format this effectively to be a tool for your use and mine. Thank you in advance for your help!