Husbands: Sacrificially Love, Part 2 (Ephesians 5:26-28a)
...that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. (Ephesians 5:26-28)
In speaking to husbands regarding the need for sacrificial love for their brides, Paul continued to hold out Jesus as their example. Jesus loves His church by sanctifying her, washing her with the water of the word, preparing her to be holy and without blemish. Jesus tirelessly works for His bride's beauty. His goal is simple: to “present the church to himself in splendor.” Jesus works hard to develop a radiant church.
The Christian husband is to have the same goal in mind when loving his wife. He is to work tirelessly for her radiance and beauty. She is a soul, a person in need of sanctification, perspective, and growth. She needs loving support to become all Christ has designed her to be. She is in pursuit of her best self; the husband is integral to that pursuit. He is to sacrificially love her by having a game plan for her splendor. She beautified herself for him on the wedding day, but now the husband is to spend the marriage beautifying her.
A believing husband beautifies his bride through prayer.
Jesus always prayed for, with, and about His disciples, and Christian husbands are to do the same today. We are to lovingly bring our wives to God in prayer, asking Him for wisdom and grace in how we treat them. Marriage is complex, so the husband is to go to God for help in those complexities, casting his burden upon the Lord. We are also to lovingly pray for our wives, interceding for them as they walk through life. They need God’s grace and strength, just as we do, so believing men are to lift up their wives in prayer. However, we are also to pray with our wives. Going to God together is wonderful for a marriage, for it reveals the issues of the heart. To pray with someone is to know someone. To pray with someone who is strong in Christ is one of the greatest ways to be challenged in your own walk.
A believing husband beautifies his bride through the word.
Jesus washes us with His word, all the time speaking and teaching and communicating Scripture to His church. He gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers for this work (Ephesians 4:11). He longs to get His word into our hearts. The Christian husband wishes to allow the word of God an increasing voice in his marriage. He leads his wife by talking about the sermons and books and Bible passages he has recently received. He shares good books and resources with her. He leads her to a local congregation that values God’s Word. He submits Himself to the Word and shares it with his bride.
A believing husband beautifies his bride through his walk with God.
Jesus always obeyed His Father in heaven, seeking Him at all times. The Christian husband is in constant pursuit of God. His wife feels safe because of this pursuit. She knows God has space to correct the inevitable errors her husband will get himself into because he is a man walking with God. God has the opportunity to chasten her husband — in his prayer life, in his Bible reading, in his study, in his Christian friendships — so she is at ease. He shows her what a growing man looks like, a man who wants desperately to become more like Christ.
A believing husband beautifies his bride through his words.
Jesus spoke life into His disciples and continues to speak life to us. His words of exhortation and encouragement have lifted up countless Christians through the millennia. The Christian husband does the same. He uses his words, not as a weapon, but as a tool. He speaks life and encouragement into his wife’s heart. He does not tear her down, but instead builds her up, with his voice. The Shulamite came into her marriage with Solomon as a bucket of insecurities, but Solomon healed her of that over the years with his words (Song of Solomon 1). The modern believing husband does the same because he has a plan for his wife’s radiance.