I'm about to insist that it does. Here's how it works; every time you find yourself feeling mistreated by your wife, ask yourself how Christ loves you when you do the same thing to him. Then love your wife like that.
Maybe some examples will help:
- How does Christ love you when you don't trust him, but doubt his ability or faithfulness to do what he's said he will do?
- How does Christ love you when you don't submit to his better judgment, but keep tugging in the opposite direction of where he's leading you?
- How does Christ love you when you're to tired, to busy, or not in the mood to sneak away and enjoy sweet intimate fellowship with him?
- How does Christ love you when he's assigned you tasks in his kingdom, but your laziness keeps you from making more than a minimal effort?
- How does Christ love you when you make poor stewardship decisions with the resources he has put at your disposal?
These are the types of questions I ask myself whenever I get upset with my wife. I find that it does three things:
- It makes me focus on my own sin in stead of my wife's.
- It humbles me. Do I esteem myself higher than Christ, since I hold her sin toward me against her, while Christ so willingly forgives me?
- It gives me an example to imitate, of to how to love her in a way that brings about reconciliation.
On that last point, husbands, let me point out one aspect of Christ's love for his church: He doesn't love us because we first loved him. We love him because he first loved us. That is what makes his love so irresistible. Gentlemen, I am not interested in hearing a word about how impossible your wife is. You have the power to make her love you, by loving her first as Christ has loved you.
Here is our model. Here's how Christ has loved us.
- By doing good to us when we deserved punishment.
- By gently calling us back to him when we were pulling in the opposite direction.
- By persistently wooing us when our first love had grown cold, and other things started catching our interest.
- By proving his faithfulness again and again in response to our mistrust.
- By continuing to provide for all of our needs even when we don't deserve it and don't bother thanking him.
I dare you to find a woman who will respond unfavorably to a man who consistently, over time, loves her like this.