Husbands love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” Colossians 3:19
The marital relationship is made of a husband and a wife united before God, in a holy covenant. Each spouse has a different responsibility in the marriage but the aim is to honor God and to reflect His love to a broken world in the way we treat one another.
In this way, God commands husbands to love their wives. Loving one’s wife does not simply mean rehearsing the words, providing for her financially, not engaging in extra-marital affairs, helping with the chores, reading to the kids. It goes beyond the “good man” model.
Loving one’s wife, as the Bible describes it means caring for her deeply and carefully, ensuring that she is loved to the best of a husband’s ability, seeing that he handles her needs as he would his own, ensuring that he does it all with kindness and gentleness, treasuring her as a gift from the Lord, yet stewarding her and molding her to become more like Christ.
Ask any God-fearing husband and he will tell you that this is no easy thing to do. Yet, it is God’s call to each regenerated husband. Scripture calls husband to a sacrificial love, one that leads to reconciliation and unity; in the way that Christ has loved His bride, the church. I love that the verse continues to qualify the love that husbands ought to show as gentle.
“Do not be harsh with them” means that prior to responding to one’s wife, or reacting in a certain way to a comment, that each husband should take the time to remember grace and humility; the same qualities that Christ embodied in His life, all the way to the cross. Gentle, patient, sacrificial love isn’t easy but it is the kind of love that brings a bride before the Lord clothed in righteousness; it is also the kind of love that leaves an imprint on a lost world.
As a wife living in submission is honoring to God, so is a husband who loves his wife and stewards her as a precious gift.