“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22)
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25)
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33)
If you love cooking, you will agree with me that in order to prepare a delicious meal, you need to have: first, the proper recipe, and second, the essential ingredients listed in that recipe. Likewise, if you want to have a happy and holy marriage, you need to have: first, the right recipe. A recipe is a set of instructions for making and preparing a dish. In the case of marriage, your recipe is nothing but the Word of God. The Bible will instruct you what to do and what to have in order to experience a pleasant and pious marriage. God in His Word will tell you the necessary ingredients for a glad and godly marriage.
Now what are those essential ingredients for a happy and holy marriage? For the sake of time, I will only give you two (one for the husband and one for the wife) ingredients which I believe are extremely vital, so much so that without these two elements, your marriage will collapse.
Two Important Ingredients for a Happy and Holy Marriage: Love & Respect
The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Note that the word “love” in this verse is present active imperative. This means that you, husband, must keep loving your wife. Don’t stop showing her your affection. You are divinely commanded to continue loving your wife. And in the above verse Paul tells us the manner by which we must love our own wives: “as Christ loved the church.”
By the way, this love between Christ and us is so amazing, because this love is between the infinite Son of God and finite sinful creatures. It is not surprising to see a love between God the Father and God the Son (between two infinite, immortal, holy, perfect divine beings). Also, it is not astonishing to witness a love between a husband and a wife—between two mortal, imperfect human beings. But to behold a love between God and human beings—between the infinite God and finite creatures—between a holy God and corrupt people—is so breathtaking.
Let me illustrate my point. If my wife comes to me right now and tells me that she loves me, I will not be surprised at all. Why? Because I know she loves me. Every day I hear the words “I love you.” But, if she tells me that she loves spiders, my mind will be blown away because I know she dislikes spiders very much. For my wife spiders are ugly/unattractive creatures. Could you imagine then if one day my wife says to me, “I will take spiders into our bedroom. I will take care of them. I will feed them. The truth is I will give my life for them.” If I hear these words, I will be extremely shocked.
Now when you hear the words of out text—“Christ loved the church,” are you not amazed? Does it not cause you to wonder that God the Son would love sinners such as we are? Dear child of God, we are worse than spiders. Isaac Watts, considered to be the Father of English Hymnody, uses the term worm to describe himself in relation to his Saviour:
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[originally, For such a worm as I?]
Here the hymn writer is so stunned that Jesus would actually die for a worm as he is. This hymn tells a love story between the altogether lovely Savior and unlovable and unlovely Isaac Watts. Charles Spurgeon calls this love that exists between beautiful Jesus and ugly sinners “the miracle of miracles.” Speaking to his fellow believers, Paul writes, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). This divine love is indeed inconceivable! Let this love overwhelm us and cause us to praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ for what He has done for us at Calvary. Again, husbands, we are divinely commanded to love our own wives with this kind of love with which Christ loved us. Now what kind of love is this?
(To be continued)