Ed Harrell once said he was counseling a married couple, when the husband told him he just didn’t love his wife anymore, therefore was not happy with the relationship. Waiting for some scholarly advice, Harrell replied, “You don’t have a choice in the matter because God commands that you love your wife”! He is exactly right.Love should be part emotion and will driven. The peerless Apostle Paul is clear and direct in his instruction to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33 when he says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (RSV). He continues with the analogy of man loving his wife as he does his own body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.”
My wife and I have been married for 27 years and she is still as pretty as she was in 1981 to me. I’ve gained a few more pounds, gotten grumpier, and have some wrinkles on my face, but she still loves me and I, her. Most of my friends from college are now divorced because the pilot light was out in their marriage, no foundation to build on, just memories of how they were attracted to each other when they were young. Somehow over the years they drifted apart from their commitment to each other. Obviously one or both did not take God seriously when he commanded them to continue their relationship for the rest of their earthly life. That is why it is so important for us to teach our children that marriage is for a lifetime.
One verse that has always humbled me in this regard, is I Peter 3:7: “Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.” I’ll have to admit, selfishly, one reason, but not the dominant one, I try to honor my wife, is because I want God to hear my prayers, and he will only do so if I’m treating my wife with the love and respect that the Lord commands, and that she deserves. Above all, if you treat your wife with shame, dishonor, and unfaithfulness, you’re risking your salvation. Is that not a good reason in and of itself?