Love Him Sacrificially

As I prayed about loving my husband as God loves me, one of the things God showed me is how very easy it is for me to put myself first. It’s shameful when I think of my Lord’s example of washing His disciples’ feet and dying for the sins of mankind. I’m sure my selfishness is displayed in my marriage more than I realize. My husband sees it. But that is not sacrificial love.

Jesus told His disciples in John 15:12:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

And then, in case there was any question about how much Jesus loved them, He clarified His statement with a definition of the kind of self-sacrificial love He had for them and expected them to have for one another:

“Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (verse 13).

We are to love our husbands the way Jesus Christ loved us when He laid down his life for us.

How can our husbands not be encouraged, inspired and motivated when we show – and demonstrate – to them, the  kind of love that sacrifices itself for the benefit of others?  Show him the kind of love that says “Not my will, but yours.” “Not my happiness, but yours.” “Not my preferences, but yours.” “Not my fulfillment, but yours.”

Practice Protective Love

Throughout the Bible, God is seen as a protective and loving God. He comes through for His people. He protects His own. Do you have a protective love going on for your husband?  My husband is a pastor and there are times when I hear something hurtful that someone said about him. The inner tigress in me wants to claw out that person’s eyes and rip out their tongue so they never say something hurtful like that about him again. Do you ever feel that urge when your husband is being attacked?

Chances are your husband is in some kind of arena where he can be “beat up” too -- by co-workers, a boss, some who may be competing for his job, and so on.  There may be days when your husband is quite possibly disrespected at his office, at his workplace, by his grown children, by someone in his extended family. Whether he’s a coach, an executive, a supervisor, a teacher, or an employee working under someone else, he has his days, be sure, when he is the target of accusation, the brunt of jokes, the disappointment of others, the one who let the team down.  Those are the days he needs your understanding smile and the reassurance that no matter what anyone else thinks of him, the most important woman in his world still believes he’s her hero. That’s the kind of protective, reassuring love he needs to get back out there and face it all again the next day.

Practice Persevering Love

Scripture speaks of God’s loving kindness that lasts forever. It also speaks of His unfailing love. I believe the most thorough description of love that we can find in Scripture is First Corinthians 13:4-7. Quoted at many weddings, this passage describes enduring love – love that just won’t quit.  In case you’ve read through this portion of Scripture many times, I want you to get a fresh look at it by reading it in a more contemporary translation so it hits you in places that perhaps it hadn’t before. And ask yourself: Does this describe my love for my husband?

  • Love never gives up.
  • Love cares more for others than for self.
  • Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
  • Love doesn’t strut,
  • Doesn’t have a swelled head,
  • Doesn’t force itself on others,
  • Isn’t always “me first,”
  • Doesn’t fly off the handle,
  • Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
  • Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
  • Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
  • Puts up with anything,
  • Trusts God always,
  • Always looks for the best,
  • Never looks back,
  • But keeps going to the end (The Message).

As you love your husband unconditionally, sacrificially, protectively, and with perseverance, he can’t help but notice you loving him as God does. And that is the kind of love that 1 Corinthians 13:8 says “never fails.”

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone, Women on the Edge, and When A Woman Inspires Her Husband (from which this article is an excerpt). She and her husband, Hugh, have also co-authored the book When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection.  For resources and free articles of encouragement to strengthen your soul or your marriage, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.