Men: How to be a great lover
- 2000 14 Apr
A husband's responsibility in marriage is to love his wife just as Christ loved the church. Here are the four ways Christ loved the church as a model for husbands.
- Unconditional love. Long before we were knit together in our mothers' wombs, when all we were was an idea in the mind of God, He loved us. God's first act of love toward His new bride was to establish our destiny, choosing to adopt us as His own children. God's love for us has nothing to do with how attractive we are, physically or spiritually, or on how we will perform. It is based on the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:5-6). God chose us as His adopted sons because He wanted to. Pure and simple.
- A husband who would love his wife as Christ unconditionally loved the church will begin by understanding that his love is a choice, made in spite of (not because of) his wife's actions, attitudes, performance, or appearance. He must love his wife no matter what, not on subjective factors such as appearance or performance.
- Covenantal love. Having chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, God announced His intent, pledging to us that He would fulfill what He had purposed to do. He made a covenant with Abraham - that He would possess the land that God had given him, give him an heir, and that his descendants would number more than the stars in the sky. The covenant made it clear that God's faithfulness was not based on human response but on intent that He would do what He promised.
- On his wedding day a husband stands before God and witnesses in a covenantal ceremony. He makes a vow to love, honor, and cherish his wife - no matter what. This is no trivial matter. In the same way that God invites us to see His character on display in His faithfulness to keep His covenant with Abraham, so a man stakes his personal integrity on his faithfulness to his wedding vow.
- Incarnational love. God stepped away from the throne room of heaven and stepped onto a fallen planet, clothed in human flesh (Phil 2:6-7). He willingly laid aside His right to reign and rule, and become a bondservant instead.
- A husband who seeks to love his wife incarnationally will be characterized by setting aside any claim to privilege and stepping into her world, learning to sympathize with the challenges his wife endures. He will embrace her life and her world as his own, loving her by choosing to live his life alongside her in all that she faces.
- Sacrificial love. Christ not only gave up the splendor of heaven, He showed His sacrificial love for us by willingly facing physical torture, shame, and humiliation - and finally, by becoming the object of divine wrath as He gave up His life on the cross.
- For husbands, it requires dying daily to their own desires and dreams. It involves a willingness not only to prefer his wife as more important than himself (Phil. 2:3), but a readiness to lay down everything he holds dear to care for her. It is a decision on the part of a husband that nothing will supersede his marriage covenant. It's the kind of love that never gives up.
From The Christian Husband by Bob Lepine, (c) 1999. Published by Servant Publications, P.O. Box 8617, Ann Arbor, MI 48107. Used with permission.
Bob Lepine is co-host of the daily radio program Family Life Today, heard in more than 200 cities nationwide, and a frequent speaker at FamilyLife Marriage Conferences. He lives with his wife and five children in Little Rock, Ark.