On Friday, I read Ephesians 5:25-33 to us:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
In this passage, husbands are being called to a high (impossible?) standard: to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Although I might never have the opportunity to die for you, I’m called to sacrifice for you daily.
What are some ways I can do this? When you’re tired and would benefit from relaxing a bit, I can watch the kids. When you’re sick, I can take care of you. When we come home from grocery shopping, I can bring our food in for you. When you want to watch Pride and Prejudice but I want to watch LOTR, I can say to the former, “Yes. A thousand times yes!” When we’re both in bed and we realize that we left the back door unlocked, I can get up to lock it. When you need someone to talk to, I can put aside whatever I’m doing to listen. When I’m exhausted but haven’t done my act of love for the day, well, dagnabbit, I can stay up until I do it. I can give you a massage even when I don’t feel like it. I can remain faithful to you and pure. I can work hard, day after day, to provide for you. I can put your needs above my own. I can regard you as more important than myself. I can do all this in order to serve you, not to gain points with you or in expectation that you’ll do something for me. I can do these things and much more because I love you. And I can do them as long as we live.
And if I do these things, my love might just dimly reflect the unsurpassingly great love that Christ showed for us.