Last week on 8th March was International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates and recognizes women’s cultural, social, economic and political achievements, while building their rights and participation in the said spheres. I was amazed at the number of events that took place in the country and around the world in honor of women. Women have certainly come a long way and have made great strides in all areas of life in order to earn a seat at the table.
As we celebrated the day, I wrote an article on submission from a wife’s perspective. It’s only proper then to write on something that women long for. Love.
Marriage has been seen as a form of achievement in life. It commands respect, it portrays an aura of responsibility. A number of men, as it may have been noted, marry in conformity to societal norms required of them at a particular time/age in their lives.
Hence, it’s prudent to ask, when a man marries, does he truly consider the responsibilities that come with marriage? Does he fathom what love truly means?
Reflect on Ephesians 5:25-30 (NIV) for a moment, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.’
The standard of love in Ephesians is extremely high. First, this love is unconditional and sacrificial, two parameters almost impossible to achieve. Picture this. Christ died for His people, His bride. However, which man is ready to lay his life down for his wife?
Secondly, a husband should love his wife as he does himself, as he does his own body. If this were the case, it then makes abuse, mistreatment or abandonment impossible to justify. Would you do such things to your own body? Certainly not. Most of us love our bodies and take time to nurture them. We use time, money, right amounts of food, exercise, you name it, for our bodies well-being. Therefore, as the husband, caring for the needs of your wife should be in the same manner as you care for yourself.
It is a cause of concern and emphasis within women circles that men demand and focus largely on submission of wives. What about the husband’s role and responsibility? What about his love?
A husband’s love gives unreservedly and seeks, and brings out, the best in his wife. That love has to be sincere. It cannot be unconditional if he has side chics, because this love will become divided. It cannot be unselfish if his eyes are eagerly looking around instead of solely on the wife.
An aside. A couple of years back, a male friend of mine told me that his wife had taken note of his roaming eyes. To help him keep from sinning, she began prompting him to take note of the beautiful women on the streets. He claimed that this reduced that urge to look around. Whether this is how wives can or should operate is subject for discussion.
A husband should love his wife in the way she desires to be loved. It is beneficial for him to love her differently from his mother, sisters or friends of his who are women. It is valuable for him to know her love language. According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages; Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gifts and Acts of service.
A husband should take time to find out how his wife longs to be loved. My husband assumed that I loved flowers because women love flowers generally. He devoted himself to getting me flowers often. He thought that was one way of demonstrating his love for me. I prefer him spending quality time with me. Though I do enjoy when he gets me flowers.
Sacrificial love places the needs of your wife high in the scheme of things. Ask yourself, as a husband, whether there are things that you do for yourself that you can give up for the sake of demonstrating love to your wife. Could you, say, take a rain check when your friends want a late hangout? Could you give up on late hours at work, watching a match, among other things, and look into meeting the needs of your wife?
You see, many women feel like they give up a lot for the sake of their husbands’ growth and success in life at the expense of their future hopes and ambitions. They desire an equal piece from the same pie. They long for husbands to support their dreams by way of finances, time and presence.
Love also means providing for your wife. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, ‘if a man fails to provide for his household, he is worse than a pagan.’ There are men, nowadays, who are okay being kept by their wives while not working themselves. That is not right. Provide leadership in the strategic planning for the household, in particular, financially. One of our mentors told us that women love a man who has a plan or offers a plan for the future. Nevertheless, always listen to her views as you make decisions concerning your household and family.
The command to love is only by possible by God’s grace. The husband will only be able to love in such a manner if He loves God and looks up to Him for guidance and godly wisdom.
Whereas women are learning how to submit and fulfill their wifely responsibilities, through various platforms, I worry that men are not trying as hard to learn how to love their wives. I would like to challenge the older men to walk with younger men in this regard, teaching them how to love as Christ loves His bride. It does not matter what failures one has experienced along the way. Probably those should make for great lessons for the next generation.
Lastly, always keep praying for your wife. And keep loving her, treating her as the best gift from God to you. To the unmarried man, I pray that you will take time to learn how to love.