We often talk about love in our society, but it seems that it has become a watered-down version of the word. The love between a husband and wife draws them closer when it is centered on God. That is the way it was designed to be.
For one to have such a marriage, it is essential that the husband and wife each have an ongoing, close relationship with the Lord, refusing to allow outside forces to pull them away from Him. Scripture tells men in Ephesians 5:25:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Christ loved the church more than Himself, more than His own comfort, more than His own life. He tells man what is expected and demanded in marriage: that he love his wife more than he loves his own life, his own safety, his own needs. He is required to sacrifice himself for her, even to the point of death.
With such love, there is no room for man to speak words of mockery about his wife to others, no joking about what he may perceive as her shortcomings, no harboring of resentment, no keeping a record of wrongs. He is to cherish her like a fine gift from God and protect her in every way possible.
Proverbs 18:22 is very clear:
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
Men often quote this verse out of context to prove that their wives must obey them. It is an important verse, but it must be understood that we are talking about a marriage centered on God. That means there is no room for selfish thinking. Christ had no thought of Himself as He gave His life for the church, and that is our standard.
In 1 Peter 3:7, we read:
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Gwen has never felt that the term “weaker partner” implied that she was a weaker person. She has always known that I loved her so much I would do anything for her. I cherished her in every way possible. When I served her, it made her want to serve me. If I did something to show my affection for her, she couldn’t wait to return it to me.
When we husbands love our wives as Christ loved the church, everything else falls into place, understanding that each of us individually must have the right relationship with God for it to be a truly God-centered marriage.
We have all heard the term “true love.” What could possibly be truer than the love between a man and a woman with God in the center and Jesus as Lord? We were designed for each other, made for each other, and I have always been so thankful for Gwen. I desired to be as much a blessing to her as she had been to me, but that would not be possible.
After God healed me and restored me to Gwen many years ago, she wrote the following entry in her personal journal, which I found many years later:
Yes, wonderful things are happening. Don has been physically healed. It’s amazing to see every aspect of his body return to normal. We knew it was possible with God, and I never stopped praying for it. But now that it has happened, we are awed at God’s mercy. I know Don felt that his usefulness to God was over, but God has proven He is not done with him yet. A miracle is unfolding before my eyes.
“For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him, but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 22:24.
Gwen was more concerned about my being used by God, which she knew to be a deep desire of my heart, than she was about anything concerning her personally. There was no indication from her note that she was glad for herself that I was doing better, nor was there ever an indication that she was thinking of anyone but me. As we looked at our problems, they were measured on God’s standard and evaluated in the light of Scripture.
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