What does Ephesians 5:25 really mean?

Ephesians 5:25 is a Bible verse we hear often, and the writers at One Million Dads use it a lot in various teachings. Still, what exactly does “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” mean? I think the best way to answer the question is to first examine the meaning of ‘love.’

You may already know this, but ‘love’ is defined in many ways. According to Merriam-Webster, love can be the strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Love can also be an attraction based on sexual desire. Meanwhile, love is the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.

Now that we have that established, let us consider how Christ loved the church. There are numerous examples, but we know that Jesus came to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11, Luke 19:10). In doing so, Jesus had the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. When the disciples showed a lack of faith, Jesus was there to lead them and teach them. In those situations, Jesus showed unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. The same can be said for when Jesus went to the cross to die for all of mankind’s sins. Before He died, though, Jesus directed the Apostle John to be a son to Mary (John 19:25-27). In that instance, Jesus was showing strong affection for someone (Mary) because of kinship or personal ties.

Husbands, Jesus was not married, and there is nothing in Scripture to show that he had an attraction based on sexual desire. However, you most likely had or have an attraction that brought you and your wife together. Is the attraction alive and well? Or, has that kind of ‘love’ faded? I’ll keep it PG here, but it’s not too late to rekindle the flame. Just know that is not all there is to marriage.

Remember, you made vows of some sort to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, etc. When your wife is sick, take care of her. If you are poor, make sacrifices and provide for her as best you can. After all, you share a personal tie (marriage). Jesus loved those that He had personal ties with, and Jesus loved mankind so much that He came to teach and preach and die so that we might not only live for Him but learn from Him. That said, Jesus is the Word, and the Word tells husbands to love their wives, even as Christ also loved the church.

So, what are you waiting for? Go home and love your wife.

Chris Woodward

Assistant Editor, One Million Dads
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