How did Christ love the church? First, “[He] gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25b). That’s referring to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross so that sinners like you and me can be saved. So if a husband’s love for his wife is to be like Christ’s love for the church, we could say that his love should be cruciform—in the shape of a cross.
Now, most men don’t want to hear about crosses and sacrifice. We want to hear about how we’re supposed to be wearing a crown as the king of our castle.
Well, I have some news for all of us. Jesus wore a crown, but it was a crown of thorns on his way to the cross. And He’s wearing a crown today as King of heaven, but the cross came first. You don’t get the crown without the cross. To put it another way, you don’t get the glory of Easter without the pain of the cross.
So although most men want to talk about the glory of love, the first thing God wants to know about you as a husband is this: When your wife looks at you, does she see a cross? God wants you to be a look-alike of Jesus, a “little Jesus,” in your home by the sacrificial way you love your wife.
We men are great at rapping our love. We can sound very impressive to a woman, talking about how we will be there for her and protect her and even die for her if necessary.
But we’re not crazy. We know that the chances of this happening are very remote. I personally can’t think of one man I know who has been shot or stabbed or mauled defending his wife from a crazed intruder, and chances are you can’t either. That’s not going to happen to most of us, or to anyone we know. So we’re pretty safe declaring how we would make the ultimate sacrifice for our wife.
But for most of us, it’s another story when it comes to the everyday stuff of married life—the sacrificing of our desires, opinions, preferences, and plans for our wives. When God calls husbands to give themselves up for their wives, He is not simply talking about being willing to die. Sacrificing for our wives involves being willing to nail our desires and our agenda to the cross to love our wives and meet their needs.
This brings us to the area where we fail as husbands so often, which is selfishness. Men are often reluctant to give up their wants and their agendas, when necessary, for their wives. Yet a husband should let his wife see that she is of such infinite value in his eyes that he would lay aside anything for her well-being.
Excerpted from: For Married Men Only (Moody Publishers, Tony Evans, 2010)