I realize that Valentine’s Day has passed several weeks ago and for many men that means we have another year before we need to focus on being romantic or showing a special effort of “loving” our wives. I want to tell you that if that is your attitude, you are really struggling in your relationship with your mate. Maybe you are asking why she isn’t as affectionate as you would like for her to be or maybe she doesn’t show you the respect you think you deserve.
As I help couples almost every day, I am reminded of the passage of scripture in Ephesians 5:21-33. I know I quote part of that scripture several times every week. If I let it, I’m afraid that my familiarity of that passage will cause it to lose its effectiveness in my own life. So I began asking God to show me some new things about a couple of the words that are included in the passage.
The first word that I began studying is “nourish.” The Greek word means “to bring to maturity.” Now men, we need to realize that girls mature faster than boys. I do not believe that it is our responsibility to make sure our wives mature. So I asked God what that means for at least me as I try to understand this verse better. My understanding of this word in the context of this passage is that we as husbands are to help our wives reach their full potential as an individual. When a woman gets married she is not supposed to lose her identity, but rather her identity should be enhanced and fulfilled in her relationship with her husband. I know that during the wedding ceremony, the couple is identified as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. This does not mean that Jane loses being Jane. She is now connected to John in a covenant relationship that will enhance her for the rest of her life.
The second word that I studied is “cherish.” This word is not used anywhere else in scripture other than in I Thess. 2:7 where is talks about being gentle as a nursing mother. It means to foster with tender care. I would like for you to imagine for a minute of when your wife would nurse your children. How content and safe did your child feel during those feeding times? There is no safer place to be than in the loving arms of a mother for that infant. Now think about that in relationship to your wife concerning you. Is your wife completely safe in your arms? Do you provide warmth and security in your relationship?
I am afraid that many of us do not create such an environment. We are too busy worried about ourselves and our desires to be concerned with the need to create the warm, secure, enhancing environment that our wives so desperately need. Every time we yell, criticize, and demand something, we are guilty of tearing holes in the security blanket of our marriage.
I am so thankful that Jesus was not as concerned for His own well being as He loved the church while He died for her. I wonder sometimes how I will be judged in my reflection of His love for my wife through the way I show her love. I hope today as you read these words that you are challenged to create the security in your love relationship with your wife that is described in Eph. 5.