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God has ordained the husband to be the head of the house, the leader in his family. How successful his marriage and family are rest on his leadership. In fact, God places the responsibility squarely on his shoulders!

Men, do you want to know how to be a good husband and leader in your family? Then look at what God’s Word says to husbands.

But first, understand this: Whatever God tells you to do, He is not saying that you must do it in your own strength, gritting your teeth! He will give you the strength when you rest in what His Son has done for you at the cross.

Notice how God’s instruction, “Husbands, love your wives,” in Ephesians 5, comes after Ephesians 1–4. Let me explain. Ephesians can be divided into three Ws. It begins with the wealth of the Christian—what you have in Christ. Then, you have the walk—the central part where it says, “Husbands, love your wives…Wives, submit...” Finally, you have warfare in Ephesians 6. Another way in which you can divide the book is like this: Sit–Walk–Stand.

Now, many Christians want to walk. They emphasize the behavior part of the Christian life and neglect the sitting. But the sitting or resting must come first.

When Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand, it meant that everything He had done and provided for us had been accomplished. So we begin with sitting, not walking. But how well we walk out our Christian life on earth, depends on how well we sit. The more we rest in Christ and understand that everything is accomplished by Him, and not us, the more power we will receive to walk well.

If you apply this to your marriage, it means that how well you treat your wife depends on how well you rest in Christ. God is not saying, “You, by your energy, love your wife.” He is saying, “Rest in My Son and He will cause you to love your wife effortlessly.”

To Love As Christ Loved

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

We are to love our wives the way Jesus loved the church. And how did Jesus love the church? He “gave Himself”. The Bible doesn’t say, “For God so loved the world, He gave a box of candies.” He didn’t give you a bunch of flowers either! On the cross, Jesus gave Himself.

Ladies, don’t marry a guy just because he is rich and gives you gifts. He can give you presents without giving you his presence! Money doesn’t guarantee you happiness. Go, instead, for someone who is able to give himself for you. Go for someone with self-sacrificial love.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”. That is self-sacrificial love. Guys, your wife will not find it hard to submit to you when she knows that you love her self-sacrificially. Take Jesus as our example. It’s not hard to submit to Him when we know how much He loves us and that He has our best interests at heart.

Let God Do The Changing

Some husbands may say, “Pastor Prince, if I just love my wife, she’ll never see her faults, she’ll never change!”

You can’t change your wife. Your part is to love her and let God do the changing. Ladies, likewise, your part is to submit to your husband and let God change him.

Many times, we tell our spouses, “I want you to change and then I will love you.” But God’s way is the opposite: “Men, love first and then I will transform her. Ladies, submit first and then I will change him.”

What Makes A Man Attractive

Guys, do you want to know what makes you attractive? In the book of Proverbs, it says that what is desired in a man is kindness. (Proverbs 19:22) The Living Bible says, “Kindness makes a man attractive”. The word “kindness” here is hesed in the Hebrew, which means “lovingkindness”. This word is usually used to refer to the love of God.

So ladies, if you are looking for a potential husband, make sure that the person has hesed because the love of God will keep him attractive. Guys, one day, your six-pack abs will sag! One day, your high forehead will become even higher! When all your good looks are gone, hesed will remain, and your wife will still find you very attractive!

Lay Down Your Own Desires

Hesed is also displayed when you lay down your own desires for the sake of your loved ones.

There are times when my wife Wendy wants to do something but I want to do something else. And I’m ashamed to say that in a few of those times, I went ahead and did what I wanted to do. But at the end of it, I felt so selfish and frustrated.

So I have learnt to allow the self-sacrificial love of Jesus to fill my heart when such situations arise. I remind myself that Jesus laid down His life with open arms on the cross for me. And if Wendy wants to do something else, I tell the Lord, “Lord Jesus, since You love me like that, I am going to love her like that too.”

Love is shown when two wills cross, and you are willing to lay down yours and fulfill hers. When I sacrifice my desires for Wendy, there is an excitement that is so much deeper, more wholesome and fulfilling than going after my selfish desires! Because when I start “laying down my life” for her, the next thing I know, she says, “I feel like I am falling in love with you all over again.”

It is fun to “lay down your life” in love for your loved ones. It makes you more sensitive to the Spirit too. When you open your Bible, the words “jump out” at you. When you pray, your prayer is a flow. When you honor your wife and love her self-sacrificially, you will find that all of heaven opens. That’s why 1 Peter 3:7 says that when a husband honors his wife, his prayers will not be hindered!

Focus On Christ’s Love For You

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:25 again: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”. Here’s a key on how to love your wife. Notice it says, “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”. The focus is on Christ — the way Christ loves us.

There are times when Wendy doesn’t see my point of view and we have a disagreement. After the disagreement, we hear a song—the Sound of Silence! So I give her the cold treatment and drive off somewhere. I tell myself, “It’s time for her to learn and grow up! Like a wild horse, she must be tamed!”

So I’m driving down the road with such thoughts. I try to forgive her and love her, but the more I try, the worse it becomes! What do I do then, when I don’t feel like loving my wife?

The secret is to turn to Jesus. My part is not to try to love my wife because I’ll just get angrier. I’ll just have more bad thoughts toward her, like how she should not have done that and how she should have known better. So I must stop and focus on Jesus’ love for me.

When I see how much He loves me, the Lord begins to show me how time and time again, I myself have done wrong when I should have known better, yet He still loves me. Not once has He said to me, “I resign from being your Savior!” He always says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

When you focus on Jesus and His grace toward you despite your mistakes, you begin to see your self-righteousness—acting like you are so high up there and holy, and she is so wrong. And you begin to despise what you see in yourself and say, “Lord, if You love me despite all my nonsense, how can I treat my wife like this?”

Guys, focus on Jesus, not your wife. Meditate on His love for you. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We forgive because He first forgave us. Love your wife and say, “I am sorry,” even if you are not in the wrong. It’s your glory to overlook a transgression. (Proverbs 19:11) It takes a real man to do that. And when your wife sees you humble, she feels loved. She won’t take advantage of you. She will end up loving you because your lovingkindness toward her makes you attractive.

Love Your Wife With Your Words

When we choose to forgive, we are loving our wives. We also love our wives when we use words to nourish them, just like how Christ uses His words to cleanse and wash us, the church.

Ephesians 5:25–26 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word

How does Jesus purify us when we feel condemned, guilty or depressed? He speaks to us, through a pastor, sermon CD or the Bible. He uses His words to make us feel clean—“that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle”. (Ephesians 5:27) He doesn’t use His words to make us feel dirty or guilty. He says things like, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Husbands, likewise, love your wives with your words. Tell her how good she looks in that dress. Praise her for the meal she cooked.

But the problem is that we guys don’t like to communicate with our wives. Women like to speak up, but guys just keep it all bottled up!

Some of you may think that just because I am a pastor who preaches four services every Sunday, I communicate a lot with Wendy. It’s not true. When I go home, I become lik