George‘s face was pensive as he talked to Pastor Rick. I just don‘t love my wife anymore. I don‘t want to waste the rest of my life with a woman that I don‘t enjoy being around. George went on to describe some of his grievances.  Pastor, she criticizes everything I do. I make a good living, but she compares me to her friends‘ husbands and always wants nicer things. She complains that I am never around, but when I am home, she only wants to talk about her friends or her job or decorating our house, but nothing I‘m interested in. He lowered his voice, She doesn‘t like sex anymore, so we don‘t do it that often. After five years, she‘s still not sure she‘s ready to have children and that‘s important to me. I want to have a real family before it‘s too late. This life we‘re living doesn’t seem like a real marriage anymore, so I just think it‘s better to end it now and move on before we get any older.

If George is typical of most men who are seeking a divorce, he already has someone else whom he wishes to marry. What should Pastor Rick say to him? Some pastors would say, Stick with your wife, even if you don‘t love her. It‘s your duty as a Christian. Is this God‘s answer? What is a husband‘s responsibility to a disrespectful, uninteresting wife?

There are two places where husbands are commanded by God to love their wives. Please find out the differences between Ephesians 5:25-28 and Colossians3:19?  Can these passages mean that a husband must love his wife, no matter what she has done or neglected?  Must a man really give himself for his wife in every way, including laying his life down for her daily, just as Christ lived to benefit the believers?  What husband, like Christ, would actually be willing to spill his life out for an ugly, critical, or lazy woman? That doesn‘t seem fair!  Actually, such action is not fair, but it is more Christ-like than a man could ever be with a delightful woman whom he had no difficulty loving.

While a man sometimes wrongly sees loving his wife as an opinion or a feeling he has about her, the Bible paints a much bigger picture. The kind of love the Bible talks about in these two passages is involved in active sacrifice and service, just as Jesus sacrificed all of His time in life and His life‘s blood in death. He did this despite the fact that the ones that He was living for and dying for were not good or kind toward Him at all! In fact those who would become His bride were actively involved in sin and rebellion against Him. Many of those who would become His bride actually crucified Him. Does this give you a clue as to which of the four types of love is used in the original language in both of these passages? Yes, of course, it is agape, the unconditional love. Agape is a love that hopes for a good response, just as God loved us while we were yet sinners.

Can you see the correlation between this situation and yours? When you are asked to do something impossible, God is your only hope. On your own, you are indeed incapable of the type of love that caused Christ to trade the comfort and pleasure of heaven for suffering on the cross. But in God‘s strength you can learn to give your wife the love that she needs, regardless of her current ‘lovability’ factor.

God has designed it so that by loving a woman, you actually benefit yourself (Eph 5:28). By trying to fill Christ‘s shoes toward a woman who is imperfect and may not even appreciate your self-sacrifice, you will become more like Christ, a huge blessing. Gary Thomas, Author of Sacred Marriage asked, What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?  There is only one way to achieve perfect love, and that is to cast ourselves completely on the Holy Spirit and to ask Him to live His life through us. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and [only then] you will be my witnesses. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can you adequately portray the love of Jesus Christ to your wife.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” Ephesians 5:25

Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home

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