“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”
“Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself.” (Ephesians 5:25,28,33)
Again,—”Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them(Colossians 3:19).” ” Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Love and honour are due from the husband to the wife. He is to regard her as what she is— his dearest and nearest relation. For her he has (so God wills it) left those bound to him by the closest ties of blood, even father and mother, sister and brother. She, by God’s ordering, has become nearer to him than all these. She is one with him, even as Christ is one with His Church. Adam, our first father, announced a great and mysterious truth, applicable to all wedded life, to every pair to the end of time united by God, to all marriage in the Lord. “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:23,24).”
In the right and holy relation of man to woman in marriage, God laid the foundations of society. As lovers of our country, we should be most jealous of any relaxation of the marriage laws. Better tighten than loosen these. Better make more restrictions than do away with one which God’s word imposes.
For a man, then, to love his wife, it is to love himself! He who loves not his wife, is not worthy even of the name of a man, much less of a Christian, “for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.”
And not only is the man to love his wife, but he is to show her all honour, “giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel,” as being one of a more delicate and fragile structure than himself. The man is to be his wife’s protector and defender. He is to put honour on her in the presence of others, to show her all respect. He is studiously to cover any defects she may possess, and, instead of blazoning abroad her faults, to throw a veil over them.
He is to avoid all quarrels, and contentions, for fear they should find it impossible to pray together, “and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that their prayers be not hindered.” For, besides private prayer and family prayer, there should always be the united daily prayer of a man and his wife ; a prayer that they may have grace faithfully to observe and keep the vow between them made, and also for a blessing on their offspring, if God has bestowed on them the blessed gift of children. The contentions of man and wife, railing and wrangling, so embitter their spirits as to render them exceedingly unfit for prayer. They cast a damp upon their prayer, and clog its wings.
Hard and angry words put love to flight, and without the presence of love, prayer might as well remain un-offered up. How can that husband and wife send up united prayer, who dwell not in perfect peace one with another? Oh see that your prayers be not hindered.
It is prayer together that sweetens all. Prayer that sanctifies and blesses all we do.
There is no sacrifice, moreover, a man ought not to be willing to make for the good of his wife. For Christ gave Himself. For the salvation of His spouse, —Christ laid down His life. He longed for its purity and freedom from all stain. He desired to see on it no spot, no wrinkle, no blemish. The husband should long heartily for his wife’s growth in grace, that she may become perfected in holiness. How indifferent, are some husbands on this point. They are content to leave her, Sunday after Sunday, to mind the children, instead of arranging some plan whereby to set her occasionally free to refresh her soul in God. This is selfishness; and do not many need that admonition “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them ?” Be not bitter against them. Do not magnify your wife’s faults, do not easily take offence, do not cherish any unkind feelings towards her, do not harden yourself against her. If she has offended you, be ready to meet her more than half way. Run to meet her, as the father in the parable ran to meet his undutiful son.
Ye husbands and wives are pledged by your marriage vows to help and comfort one another in every possible way: whether Fortune smiles or frowns, you are equally to stand by one another. Till death, you are to love and to cherish one another. Nothing but death is to separate you two.
Together read a portion of that Book of Books which giveth understanding unto the simple and points out to us the way wherein to walk. It were indeed good to study together the chart of life, to consider together the best way of crossing the wilderness and reaching the heavenly Canaan. How blessed is the yoke of such a pair, joined together by one hope, by common vows, common discipline, common service. They are like brother and sister in Christ, fellow-servants of God, joined together in body and mind. Truly, they twain are one flesh. They pray together. Psalms and hymns sound between them. Christ sees and hears these things and rejoices, and sends to them His peace.”
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, and show them all reverence. Husbands, love your wives and pay them all honour.
On the anniversary of your wedding day, read together, pray together.
Repent of your past failures in the full keeping of your marriage vows. Your marriage was registered in heaven. God married you. He brought your wife or your husband to you, even as He brought Eve to Adam. He, in His all-wise Providence, found you your partner. Seek ye then to please Him, both in body and in soul.