I love my husband. I do. It’s not that hard to love him, either. He’s a great guy. But that doesn’t mean he’s always easy to love. When he does something I don’t agree with, or when he gives me the silent treatment, well, at those times it’s not so easy to love him. I mean, I still do. That’s what unconditional love means. When he’s annoying or argumentative, I love him, but I sure don’t love the moment.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I love them, but I don’t know if I like them very much!”
It’s laughable, sure, and I can think of a time or two, in the heat of an argument, when I did not like my husband very much at that moment. Thankfully, those instances are so rare that I can hardly recall the last time he wasn’t easy to love, but it did get me to thinking about something I heard at church. If we’re supposed to love like Jesus then we have to try and like them too. Easier said than always done.
But then there’s this. I was praying for my husband this morning, and it always seems like when I’m in prayer for him, that’s when God tells me something good. There I was thanking the Lord for my relationship with my spouse and telling God how much I loved my spouse, when He impressed to me something I had not really thought of quite like this before.
He said, “I need you to love him for me.”
I got His meaning right away, but allow me to explain if you’re not following our private conversation. He meant that it’s my job to love my husband for Jesus. It’s my calling to love him like the Lord would do. In this life it can be hard to always intimately feel the love of the Lord. We can’t see it like we do love experienced here on earth between one another. I mean, God doesn’t leave me a love note to remind me He cares or send me a text message when He knows I’m having a bad day. He does leave me love notes, in His own wonderful way, like a lovely sunset on my way home, or that feeling of joy that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit, but still. At times it’s hard for us humans to always see His particular love letters around us, and in those times He counts on His children to deliver the message. Are you getting it?
In other words, God counted on me to show His love to my spouse. My husband’s Heavenly Father loves him in a way I never could, but it is my job as a wife to emulate that love as closely as I can. God blesses my husband in so many ways, but one of the ways is through me. I love my husband deeply, and that is my gift, but also the Lord’s gift to him. When I love my husband, I am following part of God’s will for my life! Have you ever thought of it that way?
It’s easy to love a stranger, the homeless man on the corner on your way home, your pastor, or even that child from Africa on those commercials on TV. You know God calls you to love those people, but we forget that God calls us to love our spouse also. We don’t just love them because we’re married and that’s how it is when you’re married! We don’t just love them because of a piece of paper, for the sake of our kids, or the nostalgic idea of some words we uttered before our friends and family at the altar. We love our spouses because that is what God calls us to do. It’s what He had in mind for us all along. It’s a huge part of the ministry calling He has on our lives! And here’s an important part. In those tough times when your spouse may feel distant from the Lord because of earthly circumstances, it’s you who can carry them the heart of Jesus. In this way, we are the ultimate hands and feet of Christ. He’s calling us to wash the feet of our spouse, even when it’s an especially dirty job.
We are called to love our spouse when it’s not always easy. Why?
Because Christ first loved us.
He loved us in a perfect love. He loved us in sin, when we were especially unlovable. He loved us when we doubted Him, denied Him, betrayed Him, and even when we crucified Him. We are Judas, and He loves us still. That, my friends, is how we are called to love our spouse.
When my husband sees me, he should see Jesus. When I love him, he should feel the heart of God. The Lord has filled me with His spirit, and when I love in that spirit, I am truly loving like He has commanded me to do. Marriage is more than just the union between a couple; it is the representation of the covenant promise between Jesus and the church, His bride, us. When I love my husband I show him a preview of love divine, a foreshadowing of eternity, a piece of what greatness awaits us in Heaven. Gosh, when you put it that way it makes you feel kinda bad for hastily muttered words under your breath, am I right?
God said, “I need you to love him for me.”
I love my husband, y’all. So, so much! But to imagine, to realize, to understand that my love is a representation of Christ. Wow, that makes me love him even more.