It is an honor to be called to love whom God gave to us as His most precious human gift. It is a natural response that we should cherish her. “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. . . . nourishes and cherishes [her].” Josh McDowell unpacked this command for us helpfully:
True, unconditional love is evident when the happiness, health, and spiritual growth of another person are as important to you as your own. . . . True love means to nourish and cherish another just as we naturally do for ourselves.
To nourish means to nurture toward growth and maturity. For example, to nurture a plant or flower in your garden, you provide all the sun, water, and plant food it needs to grow tall and become fruitful. In a similar way, nurturing that special someone in your life means to provide for his or her growth and maturity by meeting needs, just as you make sure your own needs are met.
To cherish means to protect from harm. Picture a mother bird spreading her wings over her babies to shield them from bad weather or danger. Cherishing your special friend means protecting him or her from all harm, just as you take precautions to protect yourself from dangers of any kind. [Josh McDowell, Unshakable Truth]
Peter adds two more love qualities for me to pray about, as I seek daily to love my wife as Christ did the church. He says to “. . . live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman.” 1 Peter 3:7 This could be done best if I am a daily student of my wife, always seeking to know her deepest needs, fears, joys, and sadness. This is the quality of empathy recommended in, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Peter goes on, “. . . and grant her honor as a fellow-heir in the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
” This circles around again to the command in Ephesians we spoke of earlier in the week to love our wives as Christ did the church, “
. . . who gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her.”
I need to seek paths which will help her realize her greatest potential
in life and God’s Kingdom, not just my own. We are equal members of the Home Team. Paul said, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Romans 12:3 This is honoring her.
Is this a helpful checklist, men, for loving our wives properly? As we start each day, let us ask God to help us do what we cannot do on our own:
1. give ourselves up for her
2. sanctify her
3. wash her with the water of Your Word
4. defer to her, prefer her needs
5. nourish her
6. cherish her
7. understand her
8. honor her