The following opinion piece by pastor Don Smith of the Cornerstone Grace Brethren Church in Mansfield, OH, appeared in today’s Mansfield News-Journal.
Men, love your wives as Christ loves His church
Valentine’s Day is near, and our thoughts turn to love. But what is true love? And how can a husband give such love to his wife?
Love is not simply an emotion, though it certainly involves emotions. And love is definitely not to be equated with Hollywood’s depiction of it, which seldom rises above the level of self-centered lust. Rather love is primarily expressed by deeds done on behalf of the highest good of the one loved.
Regarding love, C.S. Lewis remarks: “The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
He continues by saying that “people . . . are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feelings in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.”
So, besides buying my wife roses or candy or taking her out to dinner for Valentine’s Day, how can I truly love her all year long as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25)?
The following ways come to mind:
-I can try to understand her and respect her by listening to her and valuing her viewpoints and insights.
-As much as possible I can seek to provide for and protect her.
-I can have eyes only for her and always be faithful to her.
-I can praise her publicly.
-I can take the initiative in looking for ways to help her out and give of myself for her good and happiness.
-I can cherish her worth as a person created in the image of God.
-I can allow her the freedom to use her gifts and encourage her to become all that God has created her to be.
-I can put my arms around her and kiss her in the kitchen, not just in the bedroom.
-I can pray for her daily.
The beauty of the church is not the church itself, but it is the beauty which Christ, the Bridegroom, gives her or bestows upon her. Christ does not so much find, but makes, his Bride lovely.
And in a similar manner, the loveliness of a wife is largely due to the love shown her by her husband, and her receptivity to it. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, and chances are you will help make her become more lovely each day.
Happy Valentine’s Day — every day.
These are the opinions of the Rev. Don Smith of Cornerstone Grace Brethren Church, Mansfield. Originally published Saturday, February 12, 2005