Virtues: The Delight in Loving My Husband
This post originally ran on August 15, 2009. Please enjoy this series from my early blogging months.
Among my current reading list is Feminine Appeal, Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney.
Her book is written on the virtues found in Titus 2:3-5: Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
I’ve decided to take one chapter a week and discuss each specific virtue.
The Delight in Loving My Husband
The New Testament uses five different words within the Greek language to describe love. In Titus 2, the word love comes from the Greek word phileo, which means tender, affectionate, passionate love. In 2 Corinthians 5:25, husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church (and He loved the church so much that He died for her), and the word for that love is the Greek word agape, which is a self-sacrificing, unconditional love like the love God has for us. A Biblical wife is never (directly) commanded to love her husband with the self-sacrificing unconditional love. Instead, we are told to love our husbands tenderly, affectionately, and passionately.
The thing that has always interested me in God’s commands for husbands and wives to love and respect each other is that God doesn’t allow for wiggle room. “I want to love my husband, but I have a hard time loving him when he won’t put the toilet seat back down!” “If my husband would just look at me once instead of the football game on t.v., then it would be easy to love him.”
We find it easy to love our children that way. We don’t place contingencies upon the love we have for little Billy or Susie. “If she would just get better grades in school, I know I could love her.” “If he would remember to pick his socks up off of the floor, I would be so much easier to love him!”
In the same sentence that God tells us to love our children, He also tells us that we’re to passionately, with affection and tenderness, love our husbands. Period. Not when he loves us back, not when he does romantic things, and not when he remembers to pick his socks up off the floor. We are simply to love him. We aren’t to love him so that our lives are easier, or so that we get better Valentine’s day gifts, or so that there is less strife in the home. We’re to love him so that God’s word doesn’t get reviled. So that, in loving our own husband, we can be a witness to God’s love for us and for everyone.
Our Sunday School class last week posed the question – remember when you first met your spouse? Remember that giddy-want-to-be-with-him-all-the-time-and-want-to-be-on-the-phone-with-them-all-the-time feeling? What happened to it? Where did it go?
I can tell you right now that there is absolutely no one on this planet I’d rather be with than my husband, Gregg. When we’re apart, I feel incomplete. When we’re together, my soul sings and I am fulfilled. We talk until we’re both exhausted, then talk some more. When we’re together, we’re touching all the time. When we’re apart, the emails and phone calls and letters and cards come constantly. I LOVE my husband and I love being with him and that giddy-want-to-be-with-him-all-the-time feeling has only intensified over the last almost eight years.
Among the many things we both enjoy, Gregg and I both like reading Biblical marriage books, and sharing what we have learned is one of the reasons I started this blog. We have read so many of them, but one that changed our lives was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If you have not read this book, I strongly encourage you to do so — and read it with your spouse so that you both benefit from the inspired genius that is in that book. We read it aloud together.
I LOVE loving my husband.
It delights me. It encourages me. It motivates me. It brings fulfillment to my life. In a recent email to me he wrote, ” It seems we never had the thousands of little problems other couples around us have. It seems that we have to face a few really big problems and overcome them.” And he’s right. We’ve faced what seemed to be insurmountable problems, but we took each other by the hand and faced those problems together, in love, with God, and overcame them.
The beautiful thing about being faithful to God’s word is that God will be faithful to you. As you cherish your husband and abide in your husband and enjoy loving your husband, God, by His amazing grace, will simply fill your heart with more love and affection, and increase your capacity to love with each passing year of your marriage.
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