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.”
(Ephesians 5:28-31 ESV)
Previously we read that Jesus and believers are one. Paul used the metaphor of a human body to explain this idea with Jesus being the head and us as members of His body [Ephesians 5:23]. Marriage is meant to be a symbol of this relationship; a man and woman become one flesh once they are married [Genesis 2:24].
Husbands should, therefore, love their wives in the same way that Jesus loves us – as their own bodies A husband should love His wife because the two of them are one in the same. When a man treats his wife well he is treating himself well. When he mistreats his wife he is mistreating himself. No one would mistreat his own flesh. Instead we nourish it and cherish it.
The word “nourish” means “to feed” and implies meeting physical needs. No sane person would starve their own body. Likewise, since the wife and husband are one body, any husband who does not provide basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing for his wife is not only neglecting her, but is also neglecting himself.
The word “cherish” has its roots in the verb “to warm”. When our hands our cold we put them in our pockets – we hold them close to ourselves to give them warmth. The word picture here is of a husband concerning himself with the emotional needs of his wife. When she is hurting, he is hurting. Husbands are to keep their wives warm, emotionally speaking.
This is exactly how Christ treats those who belong to Him (the church). We are members of His body and when we are in need, He provides for us. When we are hurting, He is hurting. He cares for us because we are one with Him [1 Corinthians 6:15]. We are eternally inseparable from Him.
This is why God wants marriage to be permanent and disapproves of divorce. A married couple are a picture of the permanent union between Jesus and believers. We can never be separated from Him. When things go bad, He is there for us. He will not quit on us. Similarly, husbands and wives should never quit on each other.
When a husband nourishes and cherishes his wife he is testifying to the world of the love Jesus has for those who are a part of Him. On the other hand, when a husband does not nourish and cherish his wife he is proclaiming a false witness to the world that Jesus does not take care of His people.
As we can see, marriage is a very important part of God’s design for life. While it does provide happiness and security for the husband and wife, it is so much more than that. It is the ultimate witness to God’s love for us. This is why any distortion of marriage such as same-sex marriage and polygamy are an abomination. They do not, and cannot, accurately portray Jesus’ love for believers.
Just as Christ, who is one body with His church, cares for His church, so the husband, who is one body with his wife, should care for his wife.
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