“Love at first sight”
“Fell in love”
“Deeply in love”
These terms are used all the time in modern society, in the media, in music, in movies and TV shows, and it may allude to attraction, romance, desire, or lust, but not love. Under the guise of love, many many people are deceived every day about what real love is, thinking it is just something that is found or stumbled upon, just like they do in the fictional stories on TV. The same people then wonder what went wrong when it doesn’t work out like it did in the movie, and are looking for that so called “happily ever after”.
The reality is, true love, is synonymous with sacrifice. True love is hard work. Anything truly good, worthwhile and beautiful in life doesn’t come easy.
Planting a tree or a vine starts off with finding good ground, then planting the seed, the watering and caring for it for months and months, often years. Once it is grown enough to survive on its own, and starts producing fruit, the quality of the fruit will reflect the love and care that was put into that tree. To bring forth that good fruit, it took time, patience, and labour.
The greatest gift God gave us was life itself, and when we sinned and were destined for death, He sacrificed His only-begotten out of love so that we could be liberated from sin and death. That’s true love. The number of sacrifices God made could be a whole series of sermons by itself.
When a mother and father, out of their love for one another, decide to have a child, they have to buy a house big enough, a car, the mother struggles for 9 months then both don’t sleep normally for months afterwards. They spend lots of money, time and effort, pretty much until their son/daughter become fully independent (some 18+ years later), and even then it probably won’t stop there because their love will then extend to their children’s children too.
So when the Bible says “husbands, love your wives” (Eph 5:25), what is being asked here? What is the love that should exist between a man and a woman, and what does it look like? I can assure you it is far from the portrayal that society offers today. Although I am not married, in my humble opinion, here are some examples of how a husband ought to love his wife:
When coming to make any decision, considering the wife in the decision making process and taking her opinion first, then agreeing on a decision (sacrificing your ego, superiority, authority, and respecting your wife).
When your wife has had a really bad day and wants to share her frustration, to empathetically listen to her, regardless of what else you might have to do that may seem to be more pressing or urgent, and regardless of how trivial you may think her problem is, or how solvable it is (sacrificing time, prioritising the wife first, recognising she wants you to listen, not solve).
True story from a few days ago: husband left work early to buy Krispy Kreme donuts and deliver them to his pregnant wife who had cravings and didn’t want to wait until the end of the working day (sacrificing money, time, and convenience).
When she is feeling emotionally flat and is struggling to express her love for you, or acknowledge anything you do, to be patient with her, keep encouraging her with supportive language, and giving more than she is, until she bounces back to her normal self (sacrificing emotional energy, sacrificing your desire and need to be appreciated and loved).
When you are emotionally flat, to continue to provide and care for her, and fulfill all her needs, forcing a smile on your face because even though you don’t feel it, you know you love her and that she needs to be loved and cared for (sacrificing your comfort, inconveniencing yourself to do what is right, not what you feel).
When she is going through a difficult moment in life (such as the loss of a loved one) and becomes very bitter or harsh, to be understanding, to not take everything that is said to heart, and to be patient and supportive.
Love is mind and heart, it needs to be thought, believed, and also felt. The love society propagates is all heart, it’s all about feelings, and hence to ultimate love is the so called “making love” which is completely sensual and physical, but may have no roots at all (one night stands or prostitution
Real love starts off with a thought, and the thought may produce emotions, but doesn’t always, and while emotions are essential for the love to grow, the love can survive without them for a time. Like a tree exactly, in the beginning it requires a lot of attention, watering every day, lots sunlight, and then it will grow, but once it is big enough, it can rely on rain water to survive, and it only rains every so often, but even if it doesn’t rain for extended period of time, the tree will still survive.
When the Bible asks a husband to love his wife, this is a love that he should have developed from the first day he met her. It involves getting to know her, understand her, communicate and agree with her, have emotions for her, then a concious and predominantly thought based decision is made as to whether he can spend the rest of his life with her, given all that he has learned, felt and observed. The true love is the commitment that comes with the decision to continue. The true love is the part where the man willing prioritises this woman above just about everything else in his life, just as Christ prioritised us above everything else, even His own life.
To love your wife you need God, and this is the most essential component to true love. God is love, and without God there cannot be real love, because God taught us what love is, and God instituted the concept of marriage. God in His divine wisdom had chosen this wife for you (assuming you followed God’s guidance when choosing your wife), and He is the one who makes to two become one. They used the example of a triangle where the husband and wife are the bottom corners, and God is at the top. The closer they each get to God, the closer they will get to each other.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
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.””
Ephesians 5:25, 28-31 NKJV
Written by Tony Tadros