Love Your Spouse Like Christ Loves the Church
I stared at the coffee pot with utter disdain.
“But I don’t want to!”
You see, God had just told me to make my husband coffee before he got up for work. But we had gotten into a fight the night before and my heart still ached from the wounds of careless words.
Serving him was the LAST thing I wanted to do.
“But God,” I tried to reason, “why should I do something nice for him after all the mean things he said to me? He doesn’t deserve my kindness.”
“Neither did you.”
I knew He was right. I didn’t deserve God’s kindness. I didn’t deserve to be saved. To be forgiven. To be redeemed. Or to live this life He has graciously given me.
The truth is God loved me even when I didn’t deserve it. (Romans 5:8) And He asks me to do the same thing for my husband.
Because God’s desire is for the love in my marriage to imitate His love.
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How does love in marriage imitate God’s love?
Love in marriage imitates God’s love when two people sacrificially love each other. When they love each other unconditionally. When they put the other person’s needs above their own.
And when they love each other well, the world sees a glimpse of the way God has loved us.
Which is why it can be so difficult.
Why is it difficult for you to love your spouse the way Christ loves you?
The intimacy in marriage was designed to reflect the beautiful intimacy between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As well as the intimacy God desires to have with us.
Since marriage was designed to be a magnificent image of the love between the members of the Trinity and God’s love for humanity, the devil hates it.
He wants nothing more than to tarnish that image. And he would love to destroy you in the process as well.
After all, the devil hates God. And because you were made in God’s image and God loves you immensely, the devil hates you, too.
He is actively seeking to destroy you.
He knows full well that a great way to do that is to break up your marriage. And if he breaks up your marriage, he knows he will have an easier time destroying your spouse and children, too.
Think of it this way.
If you hold a pack of 10 pencils in your hand and try to break them all at once, it is nearly impossible. But if you pull out one pencil at a time. . . suddenly it is much easier to break all 10 pencils.
Knowing this, is it any wonder marriage is under attack?
But as Christians, we can stop the vicious cycle. We can choose to stand firm against the devil and his schemes. We can choose to fight for our marriages.
And the way we fight for our marriages is on our knees.
We start by surrendering to the King of Kings. And learning how to love our spouses like Christ loved the Church.
How did Christ love the church?
Jesus loved the church by willingly going to the cross for her. By giving up everything for her. Putting her needs above His own. Loving her unconditionally. Forgiving her. And seeking her good above all.
And He calls us to do the same.
I know this seems impossible.
After all, Christ was perfect. So, how can we as imperfect, sinful people ever hope to love our spouses like Christ loves us?
While we will never be able to love them perfectly this side of Heaven, God can show us how to love our spouse like Jesus loves us.
We just need to learn how to give them a H.U.G.
And we do that by giving up our:
HABIT of Letting our Feelings Rule.
Often, we fall into the habit of letting our feelings rule. We feel angry so we lash out at our spouse. We feel unloved by them so we act distant and cold.
We fall into the trap of thinking we have to FEEL love in order to love someone.
But the truth of the matter is that LOVE is a CHOICE.The truth of the matter is that LOVE is a CHOICE! Click To Tweet
Jesus was sweating drops of blood before He went to the cross. One disciple betrayed Him. One denied Him. And most of the others ran away from Him.
I highly doubt He really FELT like loving humanity at that point. And yet He chose to love us anyway.
In the same way, even when our spouse is annoying us, we can still choose to be kind. When our spouse lets us down, we can still choose to forgive them. When our spouse is cranky and tired, we can still choose to show them some grace.
Yes, it takes a lot of effort.
But God is with us. And He will help us if we ask Him to.
Another way we can love our spouse well is by dropping the:
In our crazy-busy culture, we want things quick and easy. But marriage is not a Hallmark movie.
It is hard. There are difficulties. Disagreements. And things don’t get resolved within a couple of hours.
Instead, it takes years and years of ongoing effort to build a marriage that lasts.
A great way to tackle our unrealistic expectations is to ask ourselves, “Will this really matter in light of eternity?”
When we get to Heaven, will we care that we had to pick up our spouses’ shoes 533 times? Will we care that they always forgot to shut the toilet seat? Will we care about the beard hairs all over the bathroom sink?
I highly doubt it.
When we let go of unrealistic expectations, we find we are more grateful for our spouse.
And then it is easier to:
GIVE them the love and respect they deserve as a child of God.
As a Christian wife, you can learn how to love your husband according to the Bible by practicing respect. (“ . . . and the wife must respect her husband.” -Ephesians 5:33.)
Respect means to have a feeling of deep admiration for someone. To have regard for their feelings, wishes, or rights. It means to admire someone deeply. It builds feelings of trust, safety, and well-being in relationships.
But it doesn’t come naturally.
However, just like love is a choice.
So is respect.
When we choose to respect someone, we choose to treat and think about them in uplifting ways.
So how do you love your partner like Jesus loves us?
Start by showing them love and respect with these six action steps.
1) Affirm them. When was the last time you told your spouse you were proud of them? Or that you believed in them? Try to compliment your spouse at least once a day.
2) Listen to them. Don’t just listen to respond. Listen to understand where your spouse is coming from. And then try to rephrase what they said. “So, I heard you say _______. Is that correct?”
3) Be thankful for them. Every day think about one reason you are thankful for your spouse. And then tell them why you are grateful for them.
4) Serve them. Even if it is just making them coffee in the morning. (Which, by the way, I did end up doing that day.) For the next week, think of something you can do every day to serve your spouse and show them how much you love them.
5) Be kind to them. Even something simple like greeting your spouse when they get home can show them how much you care and can help set the mood for the evening. Each day think of one kind thing you can do for your spouse.
6) Be polite to them. Think about this scenario. You are in a fight with your spouse and words are flying like arrows. Suddenly the phone rings.
How do you answer it?
Just like we can choose to answer the phone politely, we can also choose to be polite to our spouse even when tensions are high.
How to Love Our Spouse Like Jesus
By taking the time to give our spouse a H.U.G. we can give up our HABIT of letting our feelings rule. Let go of UNREALISTIC expectations. And GIVE our spouses the love and respect they deserve as children of God.
And when we love our spouse like Jesus loved the church, we help others see that there is hope for their own marriages. We help them see marriage as it was designed to be.
A beautiful picture of God’s love.
This has been a guest post, by Collene Borchardt. Collene is a speaker, blogger, and guest writer who helps women experience God amidst suffering. A chronic illness warrior, wife, and mother of three adventurous children and three crazy dogs, Collene will inspire you to see the good, lean into hope, and live for more in your walk with Jesus. Read more from her at https://colleneborchardt.com. And she would love to be friends on either Facebook https://www.facebook.com/colleneborchardtwrites or Instagram https://instagram.com/colleneborchardt