When it comes to love, we may have many examples around us to follow. Just in my own life, I can look to the marriage of my grandparents (72 and 61 years) and the marriage of my own parents (42 years) as examples of love and sacrifice and perseverance. I need those examples because I have found there is always room to improve the love I have for my wife. And there is a reason for their longevity. At the center of those relationships is the dedication and commitment to emulate the love of Jesus. If we can follow his example, our marriages are much more fruitful and rewarding.
In Ephesians 5:22-33, we read how husbands and wives should love one another. What’s most important is that our marriages are compared to Christ and the church. Here we see several attributes that Jesus exhibited that we should follow as well.
- Sacrificial Love (In verse 25, we are told that Christ “gave himself” for the church. In fact, he purchased it with his own blood. There’s no greater sacrifice than that. How can you sacrifice for your spouse?)
- Purifying Love (Verses 26-27 show us how Christ seeks a bride that is holy and without blemish. We should seek to purify our spouse in anticipation of their reunion with Jesus.)
- Caring Love (A caring, nurturing love is shown to us in verses 28-29. We should help grow and encourage our mate by taking care of not just their physical needs but their spiritual needs as well.)
- Enduring Love (When Christ created the church, that bond can never be broken. His love for us is eternal and perfect. We too should have an everlasting love as we become “one flesh” in our marriages…Verses 31-32.)
- Proactive Love (All throughout the life of Jesus we see him loving others long before they could ever deserve it. Likewise, our spouse should receive our love and affection, our care and concern whether they deserve it or not. We love others because Christ first loved us… 1 John 4:19).
For those of us who are married, we have an opportunity each and every day to live out the love of Christ in our marriage. He has entrusted us with our spouse and given us the great responsibility to love them the way he showed love to the world. Is it difficult sometimes? Sure it is. But great is the reward for those who show Christ’s love to the most important person in their life.