Loving Your Husband Well
As I sit here contemplating what it looks like to “love your husband” all I can really think about are all the times and ways I have not shown mine the kind of love the Word of God encourages a wife to give her husband. So, yeah…there’s that.
Like the times he walks in the door and I’m busy with the kids or with something around the house and he gets a quick, “Oh, hey…glad your home…can you take the trash out?”
Or the times he’s gone out of his way to bless and serve me in some way and it barely gets even a nod of appreciation.
Or what about the days that are challenging for him, and he does something hard? There are days he could use a boost…a little encouragement to keep going…a little cheering on, but his cheerleader is nowhere to be found. I’m too busy, caught up in my own world, to meet him where he is.
So, what does a real, true, deep down, knock-him-off-his-feet kind of love look like, and what’s getting in the way of giving that?
How can we show our husbands the kind of love they were designed to need?
We often say, “All my needs are met in Christ, but my husband/wife could certainly help!” That’s part of the beauty in God’s design and purpose for marriage.
My husband…your husband…was designed, by God, to need a specific kind of love and you were put in his life to give it.
In Titus 2 it says, “then they can train the younger women to love their husbands…” This is a specific instruction to wives, and the word used here for “love” is philandros. Paul uses a word that comes from the root of “phileo” to describe the love of a wife to her husband.
Phileo love is a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love. It emphasizes enjoyment and respect in the relationship. It literally means: “to approve of, to like, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend, to show signs of love, to kiss.”
Phileo is not a dutiful love; it is to be characterized by joy and delight!
We all know the saying “Oh, I know my wife loves me, I just don’t think she likes me right now.” However, according to the definition of Phileo, these should be one in the same!
So, what keeps us from doing this? What stops us from giving our husbands this kind of love?
- We are exhausted and spread thin. We get busy and caught up with life, work, children, projects, etc…we are distracted and out of the habit. Everything but our husbands get the best of us. Anyone else, or is it just me?
- We decide it’s our job to “keep them humble.” We take it upon ourselves to keep them grounded. It’s hard to build someone up when you’re trying to make sure they don’t think too much of themselves.
- Sometimes we withhold this kind of love because we want to control and manipulate our husbands. “He’s not doing anything I want him to do – so why would I give him what he wants? If I do, what leverage/control do I have left?” We believe more in the power of behavior modification than the power of the Holy Spirit. “When he does something I want, then I will love him well.”
- Then there are times when how we love our husbands has more to do with our own identity and insecurity, and less to do with the man we married. If we don’t see our own worth and value it will make it harder to give worth and value to others.
- The journey we’ve walked can also make it hard to give this love freely. Hurts, wounds, and sin issues add up over time and cloud our ability to see clearly. So often, we become experts in each others’ weaknesses instead of experts in each others’ strengths. How quickly could we come up with a list of things that “annoy” us about our spouse vs. things we love and are thankful for?
- Human nature tells us that our needs are the real ones and our perspective is the right one. Sometimes we have a hard time recognizing a need that our spouse has, simply because we don’t share that same need.
These are just a few of the road blocks we might run into over time, but no road block is permanent.
Just start removing them.
If you’re busy, distracted, and caught up in life – slow down. When your husband walks in the door, greet him with some Phileo love! If you’ve made it your mission to keep his feet on the ground, turn it around…you be his biggest fan and support.If you find yourself only focusing on his areas of weakness…stop and change the focus of your thinking. Remind yourself of the good that is within him and dwell on that.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But, you don’t know my husband.”
Jesus, himself, is our example of phileo love. He was kind and welcoming; His nature and character never changed based on how people around him were acting.
Jesus never grew bitter or hard hearted. He didn’t shut down, or give a look that could kill, or get all sassy and naggy…He simply continued to love with a tender affection. He genuinely liked people and He loved with joy and delight.
His heart remained soft – even when undeservedly dying on cross.
Sure, it would be easier to give this kind of love if our husbands were the picture of perfection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. News flash – that is no ones reality! (It’s certainly not ours! Moss family motto – “not perfect but being perfected.”)
While we cannot control how our husbands are walking, we can control ourselves.
We are instructed to have this kind of love for our husbands – regardless of their actions or response.
It’s not always about liking what he does but liking who he is.
Love your husband well, friends. Love him with a love that lets him know he’s your hero and friend. Love him with a phileo love that lets him know you even like him…you like him a lot.