Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might present her to Himself all glorious, without spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish.
No husband can duplicate the substitutionary atonement of Jesus, but the Bible clearly commands husbands to imitate it. Husbands are required to love their wives efficaciously. This means that you are required to see progress.
No man ever hated his own flesh, but feeds it and keeps it warm, so every man must love his own wife as his own body. Of course, you can do this as a slave, catering to every appetite or lust, or you can do this as a wise steward, training and leading your body like an athlete, like a loving coach aiming for the prize of glory.
But men are naturally like their father, Adam, and we make excuses, try to shift blame. It was the woman you gave to me. Maybe you call it being easy-going or not meddling in your wife’s business, but if that means leaving your wife in her sin and letting your family coast into the dark, then you are on the hook. And you cannot hide in the bushes; God comes looking for you. You are the covenant head. You are the captain of the ship. You are responsible. Where are you?
No husband has the luxury of opting out of this. Every marriage is talking about the gospel of Jesus all day long, every day. It is either telling the true story of sacrificial love, efficacious love – a love that makes the bride more lovely – graciously, patiently working out the spots and working in the holiness of God, or else it is a false gospel of apathy, laziness, wrath, and excuse-making.
The love of Christ is not limp. The love of Christ is fierce and bold. The love of Christ is not a doormat. The love of Christ is not manipulative or moody. The love of Christ is steady. It sacrifices personal comfort in order to lead others to safety. In this world, that goal is no less than Heaven. Men, God has set a number of years of marriage for you to guide your wife safely home. Do not be distracted. Do not despair. Christ is ahead of you, clearing the way.