What Does it Mean to “Love Your Wife as Christ Loves the Church?”

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.” – Ephesians 5:25-27, CSB⁠

This was a passage I heard a lot as we prepared for marriage. It’s pretty much the first passage they read during premarital counseling and just about every pastor will share it during a wedding.⁠

Yeah yeah. Great verse.

It wasn’t until I was *actually* married that I fully understood what this means.

To me as a husband, this means three things:

  1. Love my wife sacrificially.
  2. Love my wife unconditionally.⁠
  3. Make my marriage holy.

Love my wife sacrificially

Sacrificial love is loving our wives even when it feels inconvenient. Practically, we can practice sacrificial love by doing the dishes, making dinner, or throwing in an extra load of laundry. My dad says sacrificial love is the “unsexy stuff” in marriage.⁠

Love my wife unconditionally

Unconditional love is loving our wives no. matter. what. It allows us to overlook all of our spouse’s flaws and imperfections (just as Christ sees us). Unconditional love is kissing your wife when she has morning breath, telling her she’s beautiful even when she’s wearing the same sweatpants for three days in a row, or saying I love you even during an argument.⁠

Make my marriage holy

There’s a book by Gary Thomas called “Sacred Marriage.” The subtext of the title reads, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

As a husband, it’s my responsibility to lead our marriage closer to Christ. To make us more like Christ. To make us holy. We do this through the application of His word in our lives… prayer as a couple, reading the Bible together, holding each other accountable.

There’s no way we can fully grasp the love that Christ has for His bride, the Church. The Bible says it’s a “profound mystery” (Eph. 5:32). But when we love our wives sacrificially, unconditionally, and work to make our marriage holy, we get a glimpse into that love.

Not only that… but men, we’re called to this level of love. Is it easy? Not always. Is it worth it? 100%. ⁠

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