On the role of the husband

This is taken from Dev Menon’s sermon at Clarence & Joanne’s wedding this Spring.

Clarence, you are called to love Joanne – that is to lead her by serving her – as Christ showed us as He washed His followers’ feet. You will continuously be tempted to overpower her, either by your strength or intellect or emotional resolve and make her feel like she doesn’t deserve your love, so she has to earn it. She may even give in to that, and being demure and patient, feed in to those temptations – don’t let her. Don’t ever let her feel she needs to earn your love. You are to love her no matter what, never threaten her that you will let her go. You are to make her completely secure in the decision she is now making in front of all of us. And you will need to learn how to do that one day at a time – with God’s guidance, and the help of every Christian brother and sister right here.

There is much of value here! But I want to focus in on the following:

“Don’t ever let her feel she needs to earn your love. You are to love her no matter what, never threaten her that you will let her go. You are to make her completely secure …”

Husbands, have you ever failed in this department?

Have you ever allowed your wife to feel anything less than completely loved and secure in union with you? Have you allowed her to feel distant from you for the sake of being right in an argument? Have you ever let her go “unforgiven” for a bit after she has “wronged” you? (Just to squeeze a few more minutes of self-righteous satisfaction out of the situation.) I’ve certainly been guilty of such selfish and childish manoeuvrings.

These words might well cause us to burn with guilt (and it is good to be challenged and reminded of our responsibilities as husbands) but wait…

Before you turn in on yourself in self-condemnation, is that really the answer to becoming a better husband? Well, judging by the number of times I’ve done that without ever seeing any fruit, I’d say no.

Read these lines again and contemplate them:

“Don’t ever let her feel she needs to earn your love. You are to love her no matter what, never threaten her that you will let her go. You are to make her completely secure …”

You have a choice of two reactions here. You either look to yourself, or you look to Another.

What if we don’t take this primarily as a statement about ourselves — our own failure? What if we take these words first as a reminder about the character of THE one true Bridegroom?

Do NOT despair when you read these words.

Rather rejoice that there is One who will never let you feel that you need to earn his love. There is One who loves you no matter what. There is One who will never threaten to let you go. There is One who makes you completely secure.

Does Christ not know the thoughts of our hearts and love us still? Has he not already been to the cross? Are we not absolutely safe in his boundless love?

So before you turn in on yourself, know that this exhortation is an echo of the unshakable love THE Bridegroom has for us.

We, the church, are no shivering, fearful, insecure bride. We are resplendent, confident, clothed with the righteousness of the perfect Husband, given the status of the perfect Son. We are much loved.

Now go, be a husband. But be a bride first.

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