The husband or the wife? The short answer is both. However, we tend to point the finger at the other person. We may even use the Bible to solidify our position. Women will say a husband must first present himself as a respectable leader before she can submit to his authority. Men will say a wife has to actually be loving, caring and supportive before he can cherish her. Which leaves us at a gridlock doesn’t it?
The woman who loves first – Proverbs 31
If you read Proverbs chapter 31 verses 10-31 it describes what some women today expect of their husbands, not of themselves. Many women in our modern times desire to be seen as delicate flowers. They expect to do light work, because bearing children is work enough. While their husbands should do the heavier work. Men typically are physically stronger and so indeed should carry the heavier load. However, the Bible should influence the lives of all who read it. Some wives prefer the title of “Proverbs 31 woman” over the actual role.
Many modern wives expect their husbands to be a certain way. They expect men to love and cherish them before they give to him the wife he desires. However, the Bible actually instructs us to be a certain way regardless of the other person. We are Christian first, before we are husbands and wives.
A wife should add value to her husband’s life
Just as a wife finds it easier to meet her husband’s sexual needs if she finds him attractive. It is also easier for a husband to cherish his wife if he finds her valuable. Proverbs 31 describes the ideal wife, then says that she should be praised and cherished for all that she has done. It is difficult to treat someone as valuable if they don’t add value to your life. Many women are seeking men who will add value to their lives. But they are not thinking about how they will add value in return.
The wife of noble character is not seeking to be served, rather she is seeking to serve. Just by presenting a positive attitude toward service, she invites the loving care of her husband. But the entitled wife heaps pressure on her husband which makes him resent her. The wife who is here to take from her husband cannot add value to his life. The wife that doesn’t add value is a difficult woman to cherish.
The man who loves first – Jesus Christ
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians chapter 5 verse 25.
Most people will argue that the man is to act right first. He should be just like Christ before he can get his wife to respect and yield to him. However, all men are at different stages of our spiritual development. It is indeed true that men have a greater responsibility as the head. But does this mean we should act right first? If the man acting right will produce the loving and submissive wife couldn’t the same be said of the reverse?
The Bible instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Christ did indeed love us before we ever loved him. However, this shouldn’t be used as the reason a wife isn’t loving toward her husband. Since the time of Jacob and Rachel, all the way up to our current culture. Men have been the ones typically pursuing women. Men present the flowers, the gifts, and the poems. it is men who pay for the dates, and the trips all in pursuit of his woman. This is a practice that ought to continue after the ceremony. But after the ceremony, things are a bit different. Because now what belongs to him also belongs to her and vice versa.
So, should the man act right first? Yes, because we as men play the role of Christ. Our wives play the role of the church which isn’t ever perfect but does demonstrate love for Christ. For the church to become “the Church” we first have to yield to Christ. We are not the Church by simply being made in the image of God.
My fellow husbands we ought to love our wives even when she isn’t acting right. I know it’s easier said than done. Because you wrestle with your emotions and temptations every time, she rejects you, or is disrespectful. Oh, how you wish she could see things from your perspective. But that rarely happens doesn’t it? As godly as your wife may be, God may be using her to teach you patience.
Do it for the Lord
We are Christians first, before we are husbands and wives. So, if you are finding it hard to love your spouse who holds the title. Try loving them as your neighbour? The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbour as you love yourself. Whatever you would want for yourself want it for them as well regardless of how they make you feel.
YOU should act right first. Not because you are the Christ-like husband or the Proverbs 31 wife. But because you belong to Christ. Act right first so that you can put a smile on God’s face. On judgment day you can’t say I was not loving because my spouse wasn’t loving toward me first. Jesus won’t accept that excuse. Everything we do as representatives of Christ we do onto Christ. So being vindictive toward your spouse is like being vindictive toward Jesus.
There is no better way to alienate Jesus from your relationship than to repay evil for evil. I know you feel taken advantage of; I know you feel taken for granted. Yes, you deserve more respect and yes, your spouse is a pain in the neck. But you should act right first.
Darren Salmon is a young man from Kingston, Jamaica where he read for his Bachelor of Science degree in BioTechnology at the University of West Indies. He became a follower of Jesus when he was 10 and has since developed a ministry of Christian Poetry for which he has gained a godly reputation. Darren is husband to the lovely Mrs. Kimberley Salmon (previously Morgan), another talented young writer with Christian Today. Darren is a joint 1st place recipient of the Tronson award for international young writers with Christian Today for the year 2019. To read Darren’s previous articles visit his weebly site at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/darren-salmon.html