12. At the center is love, and not just any love, but the love like Christ had to sacrifice all for those He loved. Christ became fully man. A man invests himself fully in his wife, holding nothing back. This isn’t 50/50 it is “all in”
13. How often my first thought is “I want them to” or “I need them to” whether at home, work or even church. When my focus is on receiving I cannot be focused on giving or loving.
There is a very significant call to husbands in these verses. I think, too often, people get stuck on the wives submit to your husbands line. But the expectation and call that is placed on husbands is hugely significant, and goes hand in hand with this statement to wives. Verses 25 and 26 state, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…” This isn’t a theoretical I would be willing to die for my wife sentiment. (I would catch a grenade for you, fall on a blade for you – sorry, broke into song there for a minute.) This is a decision to love so much that you step down from every right and honor that might be due to you for the purpose of loving and serving and building up another to make her holy, clean, without stain or wrinkle. It is not, what would you do, but what have you done and what are you willing to do every day. As a husband, how much of your time and life is focused on yourself. If we choose to marry we are judged by the holiness of our household.
Do men know how to love like that? Only through Christ and only through examples of God-fearing men in the church. This is not something promoted by society, culture or schools. But it is what is right and true.
I love my wife and I find that my love for her grows deeper the more I learn of the bible. I can see so many ways that God is working in her life and it is easier and more natural for me to give thanks for the blessings I see flowing through her even more so than in my own life.
And Paul doesn’t stop with husbands and wives. He included instructions for children and parents, particularly fathers: Don’t exasperate your children. What an interesting verb: Irritate intensely; infuriate. How do fathers irritate and infuriate their children? how do they fail them? When they fail to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Children want to do what is right, but how do they learn and know – only when the parents provide opportunities for them to learn.
The same principles apply in those we work with. Never forget, we all report to the same boss, the same Lord and master and He does not play favorites because of any earthly positions.