I love being married. The picture on the left captured one of the happiest moments of my life (I apologize for the lack of beard). I’ve been living the married life since May 23rd, 2015 (and I still have no idea what I’m doing and probably never will). It has been the most fantastic thing that has ever happened to me. My wife is the most amazing woman on the planet. There are sometimes when I am just completely overwhelmed by my wife’s love for me. I can see it in how she looks at me, how she smiles at me (I know it sounds sappy, but you can get over it). She cares so much for me, it’s almost unfathomable. She takes care of me when I’m sick, she feeds me so well, puts up with my garbage, and she just simply loves me. Without her, I honestly don’t know how I could get through my day. Marriage is just simply beautiful. It reflects the message of the gospel. Sadly, marriage has been construed in our day and age. We spout unbiblical sayings such as “Happy wife, happy life.” We don’t get it. We don’t understand it. Husbands don’t know how to be the husbands the bible calls them to be. Marriage is beautiful. Especially in light of the Gospel. Let’s look at a passage that my wife and I actually used as our wedding vows. Ephesians 5:22-33:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
My fellow brethren, verses 25 – 29 are what we are charged with as husbands. If you think that it doesn’t sound hard, then it’s a good thing that you’re reading this. Scripture clearly gives us a perfect model to go off of in order to be a proper husband: Christ. Paul says in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Let’s ask ourselves, what even is a husband? The English word for husband comes from the fourteenth century term husbandman which means “farmer.” A farmer is a hard worker. I, personally, have never known a farmer that was lazy. Farmers have to put in work from dawn until dusk every day of the week. It’s their livelihood. They have to invest their very lives into producing and cultivating a crop. It’s a lifetime of work. A farmer no longer gets to just be himself. He’s a farmer. He has to use the majority of his time to nourish the land that he is cultivating. Guess what? It’s the exact same way in marriage. In marriage, our wives do not exist to simply be there to “please” us. They’re not there for us to manipulate for our every physical and emotional need. Our wives literally exist to be nurtured and cultivated by us just as a farmer does with his land. That’s what a husband is. Now, as husbands, what is our specific job description? It says “…love your wives…” Sounds easy enough, right? “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Dang. Gentlemen, we officially get to die. We get to play the role of Jesus in this depiction of the gospel. This is radical for two reasons: 1.) It’s a lot & 2.) We will fail every single day. So, what’s the “a lot?”
First off, Jesus literally (and I mean literally) died for the church. Now we are called to sacrifice our lives for our brides. This means that our flesh can no longer have a say. We’re dead. We’ve died to ourselves. This means that after I come home from work and class, that I don’t get to just sit back and have my wife attend to my every beck and call because I’m tired. I’ve died to myself. I don’t ever get to “clock out.” I am a husband 24/7. If my wife needs me I have to be there for her. If she needs me to take out the trash, I need to take out the trash. If she needs to vent about her day to me, I need to listen. If she needs a foot rub, I need to give her the best foot rub of her life. If she needs me to wash the dishes, I’ll have to pray about it first. Let’s be honest, washing dishes is of the devil. I would go so far as to say that washing dishes is a product of the fall of man. But anyways, I have to do these things for my bride. I am no longer entitled to “me time.” There’s no longer just “me.” When Tabitha and I said “I do” we became one in Christ. There’s only us. This train of thought radically changed my way of thinking. I used to be fascinated by the idea of a man cave. A sanctuary that I could use to escape the dreariness of everyday life. A stronghold that would be reserved for me and me alone. No wife and kids allowed. But after further examination of scripture and having great mentors, I saw the flaw in this. Watch HGTV. You’ll be able to tell very quickly which husbands are sacrificing for their wives. They’ll go through house after house after house, all beautiful, and the entire decision will come down to one thing: the man cave. The house will have everything on the wish list. With the exception of the man cave. This is ridiculous. Why would a husband ever require a place where he could go and shirk away from his God given responsibilities? I don’t see any biblical reason for me to have one. Any extra space I get in the future will be for my wife and our future ministry.
I’m also called to be the head of my household. The job of spiritual leader is mine. But what does being the head of the house even mean? I can tell you this, it’s not domination of the household. And it’s not God saying that men are smarter than women (it’s usually the opposite). Inside the head resides the brain (for most people). The brain is responsible for sending signals to the rest of the body for its safety. For example, when your wife throws a hair dryer at your face, your brain then sends signals to your legs to get on out the way. That’s what the head is for. It’s not just there for itself. It’s there to initiate safety. It protects the rest of the body. It takes care of it. Spiritually, I am responsible for taking care of my wife. I am the one who is supposed to lead my family to honor Christ. I am responsible for discipling my wife. I am responsible for putting on the armor of God daily for my wife. I ensure that we are connected to the body of Christ. I am responsible for modeling Christ-likeness for my wife. My goal in life is not to make sure that my wife is happy so that we can have a happy life. Leading my wife spiritually is not always going to be a happy task. We’re two human beings who are tainted by selfish sin. The majority of our lives have been spent seeking after our own interests. Then, we decided to get married and live together and be in close proximity to each other most of the day and now we have to live for each other. That’s brutal! It isn’t easy! But what could we expect based upon what marriage reflects? Marriage is this window into which we see the picture of a God who loves us so much that He sends His only Son to die. This Son, Jesus, submits Himself for these people, the church, that are wrecked by sin and he willingly dies for them. He cleanses them. What an amazing love.
There’s something else to think about. My bride is not just my bride. She’s Christ’s bride. God is merely tasking me-no-he is blessing me with the task of taking care of His bride. He gives me the opportunity to love Tabitha. And I can’t thank Him enough. How will I present Christ’s bride to Him? With spot and wrinkle? Or holy and without blemish?
I don’t deserve all of the wonderful things that my wife does for me. Why? Because most days I fail as a husband. I drop the ball so, so many times. I don’t always love my wife the way I should. I don’t always serve her the way I should. Sometimes, I just simply fail. We as husbands need to take hold of this. We will not be perfect. We will not be able to fix everything. We will never be Christ. But we must never stop trying. We have the perfect example to follow. Our greatest reassurance is in the fact that we have an amazing God who will strengthen and empower us to do the job He has called us to.
Stand strong husbands. Die to yourself daily. Trust in the Lord. God bless from me and my beautiful bride.