Most people get married today because they love each other and desire to spend their lives together. But as time goes by, the husband and wife see the flaws in each other. Each does things that take away from the feelings of love that they initially had. Things may even progress to feelings of animosity or even divorce. Husbands and wives are often selfish, inconsiderate, lazy, rude, critical and just plain sinful; this is a prescription for problems.
Let us look at God’s prescription for marriage. Ephesians 5:25-33 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Husbands are commanded to love their wives.
The love that you as a husband are commanded to have for your wife is not the romantic love. You are to have agape love that is selfless and seeks the good of your wife. This love is characterized by you being patient and kind, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, where you keep no record of wrongs or delight in evil but rejoice with the truth, where you always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). You are to love you wife as your own body; you are to nourish and cherish your wife. You are to love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Your wife needs this kind of love. As a husband, if you would love your wife this way, your chances for serious marital problems or divorce will be extremely small. What normal wife will resist this kind of love?
Interestingly enough, in Ephesians 5 the wives are not commanded to love their husbands. Instead, they are told to respect their husbands. That is what a husband really needs from his wife. Still, the older women are told to admonish the young women to love their husbands. Titus 2:3-4 “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
God’s prescription for marriage is agape love. My encouragement to you is to love and respect your spouse as God prescribes.