Before defining the roles in a marriage in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he told us how to walk.
Ephesians 5: 1-2 Message Bible: Watch what God does, then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that!
Men sometimes think of the word “love” as a feminine word or a weakness. Remember “The Fonz” on Happy Days? Between I Love you and I was wrong, he couldn’t get those words out. Now think about the times you are out with the guys and your wife calls. Before you hang up she says, “Love you” and you say something like, yeah, you too, back at ya! Why do we do this? Because we feel like if we express our love openly we will somehow decrease our masculinity? We’re going to lose some “Man Cred” with the guys? Comment and tell me your thoughts..
This Agape, unconditional love that Paul references here is not only an adjective, it does not only describe the look of love. In fact, it is also a verb. Agape love takes an act of the will at times. To love without condition in a marriage can be a considerable challenge. In marriage we see the good, the bad and the ugly in our mates and we are still commanded to love unconditionally.
There may be times that we do not “like” each other, but there is never a time we do not “love” each other.
I would argue that it takes a stronger man to love unconditionally and not allow his emotions to fly off the handle when something happens and he feels wronged. Don’t allow that neck to stiffen and your chest to puff out like you are somehow going to defend your honor against your wife. That is not how this works! That is the moment you exercise what the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is patient and kind. Love is not easily angered, proud or self-seeking. It does not keep track of the wrongs done and throw it in their face later. It believes the best, that your mate did not intend to hurt and anger you and communicates with her about it later.
We are not even going to talk about children learning proper behavior from their parents right now. That is a book all it’s own. Most parents are modeling dysfunction to their children and 18 years later wondering, what happened? A little advice? Watch what Jesus does, then you model that behavior to your kids!
We do not love in order to get, that is lust. Love desires to bless and give of ourselves. Lust desires to get and benefit at the cost of someone else. Which one are you demonstrating right now? It takes only one decision to change the way you are acting and do the honorable thing. The challenge is keeping our selfish nature under control. If we watch and learn from God and how Jesus walked the earth we will have a better perspective on how we are to treat our families.
Take on this challenge and you are taking a step towards greatness. What is greater than being the leader, priest, husband and father that your family needs? The one who guides, protects and instructs his family. Nothing I can think of. No money in the world can buy what your family needs! They need you to walk as Jesus walked, love as He loved and lead as He lead.
Is unconditional love the hardest part of marriage? Leave me some comments with your thoughts.