Vol. 4, No. 3
~ Page 17 ~
Do you remember the first wedding you ever attended? It was probably one that your parents made you go to when you were so young you did not even understand what was really happening to the people involved. Do you remember the first time you gave serious consideration to the vows in a marriage ceremony? One of the first things that impressed me was the encouragement for the husband to cherish "manly affection" for his new bride. That phrase is a challenge to any husband through the course of the years of marriage. With the various problems facing our society, it is difficult for a husband to know how to demonstrate his "manly affection" for his wife.
The text of Ephesians 5:23-31 teaches every husband about the love he should foster and maintain for his wife. Our study will center on six things every husband's love should include in cherishing a "manly affection" for his wife.
(1) Love of administration. Verse 23 teaches the husband is to be the head of the wife. He is to lead his family so that every member can reach the fullest potential. He is to oversee the education of the family members, he is to lead each member to develop his spiritual potential, he is to keep close watch on the financial situation, and he is to provide for the emotional well-being for his wife and children. He may delegate responsibilities to others, but he is always aware of what is going on and of the fact that he is responsible for his household.
(2) Love of attention. Verse 31 teaches that a man is to leave his mother and father. A new relationship has been formed that should receive a higher priority than that of child to parent. This does not excuse us from honoring our parents, but it does put our spouse at the top of the physical relationship list in this life. Some husbands have more time for sports, friends, cars, recreation, and "goofing off" than they do for the only person they picked and promised to love above all others for the rest of their life.
(3) Love of accommodation. Verse 31 continues to teach that the husband should be joined unto his wife. In Genesis 2:24, the text states husbands should "cleave" to their wives. The demands of a job and the pressure of the society around us can leave little time for husbands to spend a lot of quality time with their spouses. It is no wonder that so many marriages fall apart and end in divorce. Make your marriage the hub of your life. Maintain it like the hub on your vehicle. Don't let it make strange sounds, don't let it rub the wrong way and don't let it go without proper maintenance to keep working smoothly.
(4) Love of affection. Verses 28 and 29 teach about the affection the husband should have for his wife. Nourish your wife. Provide the things she needs to grow physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Cherish her! This word refers to a tender, gentle and kind caring for another. It refers to a mother bird sitting on her nest and keeping her eggs warm and turned as long as needed to hatch them (C. Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, II:184). Obeying this one passage would eliminate physical and verbal abuse of wives. Not obeying it will have severe eternal consequences for violators.
(5) Love of accretion. Verse 31 reveals that the "two shall be one flesh." There should be a growing together in marriage. The love of the husband should increase and accumulate in his life for his spouse. He should work to become one with his mate in every aspect of life possible. The goals, dreams, identities and reputations of each should blend into one common path that is in the best interest of the marriage and the home.
(6) Love of admiration. Verses 28 and 29 emphasize both the positive and negative aspects of this quality. "Love your wife as you do your own body." "No man ever yet hated his own flesh." To admire someone is to "regard with wonder, delight, and pleased approval" (Webster's New World Dictionary, 18). All of us change as the years roll by. That means there are new details in our lives that we can notice, and view with wonder, and stamp with our approval. It is a sad moment in our marriages when spouses ignore in each other the good things that others admire and encourage. Husbands don't let someone else "admire" your wife away from you.
Principles of New Testament Christianity
paperback, 208 pages
Within the Halls of Pilate
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