Love Your Wife
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. Ephesians 5:25-28
In my drug addiction, I engaged in tremendously selfish behavior, pursuing only me and my appetite at a terrible cost to those around me. Getting sober meant abandoning specific drug-related behaviors but getting sober didn’t necessarily make me generally unselfish. As it turned out, drugs weren’t my primary problem. They were only a symptom. My underlying life problem is that I just do whatever I want. Drugs were just the most obvious manifestation.
So, in recovery, I’ve had to learn to ask myself, How would this affect others? In my addiction, the person I hurt most was my wife. She’s also the one who is most affected by my selfishness. Now, I’ve got to learn to make decisions based, not simply on what I want, but on what is also best for her. This may seem obvious to you, but it’s been a radically new way of thinking for me, and as it turns out, it’s what Paul instructed we must do as good husbands.
In today’s passage, he said when we get married, we must live differently than we’ve ever lived before. Once it was just us, but now we must live for the good or our wives. Just as God loved us and sacrificed himself for us, we must put our wive’s needs ahead of our own preferences and live in such a way that shows that we’re concerned about her welfare above our own. We must love our wives at least as much as we love ourselves.
This doesn’t mean that we become doormats, yielding to her will in all things. God doesn’t do whatever we want. He does though, always do what’s best for us. That’s what Paul is asking us to consider in our daily decision making. How would this affect my wife? Would she appreciate what I’m doing and saying right now? How would she feel about this behavior, this relationship, this conversation, or what I’m looking at online right now? Is this for her good, or am I just doing whatever I want without considering how it affects her?
Honestly, I’m still in the process of learning this. I’m still selfish and living for the good of someone else just isn’t natural. Daily, I must choose to live this way. I love my wife and so, I must continually consider her needs, abandoning my self-centeredness. In following my way, I nearly destroyed our marriage. In learning to put her needs above my self-destructive appetites, we’ve thankfully been able to put our marriage back together.