“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…” (Ephesians 5:25)
Today, my wife Karen and I celebrate twenty years of marriage. I first met Karen in high school when I was a senior and she, a junior. We dated for a few months that year and then went our separate ways. I never imagined that ten years later we would be married. I can say with certainty that at the point in which we married both personally and in marriage, I had a completely different set of priorities than I do now. It’s not that those priorities were necessarily bad, but they just were not the best because they were not centered on Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, for way too long after we married, my priorities remained elsewhere. How does a man lead his family in the way God designed when his life is not centered on Christ? Certainly not the way God would have us lead. But in God’s timing, and only by His grace, our marriage now has a different center. I believe that in both of our lives, Christ is the priority and by God’s grace, it will remain that way.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…” Marriage is the most important human covenant. It is also a covenant in much need of God’s grace. In fact, outside of grace in salvation, I don’t know of where it is needed more than in marriage. Is there anyone more uniquely qualified to tell you about your faults than your spouse? Probably not! No matter where we are in our walk with Christ, marriage is tough. It is tough because it involves two imperfect people with an inherent disposition to sin. It is made even tougher because Satan attacks it like no other institution because of what it pictures. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. As humans, our inclination is to take God’s Word and remind others what they should be doing; all the while ignoring what God is telling us. I imagine this tendency is even greater when it comes to our spouses. Husbands, God’s command is clear in that our wives needs, as He defines them, are to be our goal. His command to us is not conditional on her response. We are to love her, as Christ loves the church.
I’m well aware that it will be an impossible task to love Karen as Christ loves the church, but that doesn’t lessen His expectation that I do just that. This means that I’m left to rely on His strength, because in my own, I will fail. I have failed. For all marriages to be what God would have them be requires that our relationship with Him be the one we treasure most. That is the only relationship that has the power to change all others. I thank God for His grace for my past failures in loving Karen as Christ loves the church, and I know I’ll need more grace for future failures. I thank God for you Karen. These years have really gone fast, like all marriages, have been far from perfect, but I am so grateful that I have you as my wife. After twenty years, you are more beautiful than ever. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our future. Happy Anniversary Karen! I love you!
Dear Lord, thank you for Karen, my wife, and for all wives. As husbands, you have called us to look to you as our example for how to love them. Forgive us when we don’t. Let us look to you for much more. You are Savior and Lord and the most important relationship we can ever have is with you. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to love you as I should and to love my wife as Christ loved the church.