"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish 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" (Ephesians 5:25-30).
The above verses comprise the definitive passage regarding a husband's love for his wife. I share it here to set the tone for what follows. While my rhetoric will be intentionally pointed at times, my hope is to speak the truth in love and encourage my Christian brothers to better love and protect their wives and marriages.
Some of my Christian brothers who will read this article are failing to love their wives as they should. I know this is true because I've watched them. I know this is true because some have confessed as much to me. I know this is true because I've talked to wounded Christian wives over the years. And I know this is true because I have, in times past, failed to properly love my wife, too.
Do You Want to See Your Wife Grow?
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? If so, then pray for her. For it is only God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who can give her such a heart for evangelism. You can no more make your wife an evangelist than you can make yourself an evangelist.
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? If so, then give her opportunities to learn how to share her faith; but do so in such a way that she feels safe to grow at a pace that is consistent with who she is in Christ. She shouldn't be afraid to learn from you -- afraid that if she learns something new that you are going to immediately expect her to apply what she has learned at a level consistent with who you are instead of who she is.
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? If so, then be her biggest cheerleader. But do it in such a way that doesn't leave her cringing, as she wonders if you are going to say, "That was great, honey. Now you're ready to try this!"
Don't patronize her. Rather, show her genuine support wrapped in authentic praise, reminding her that the size or scope of the evangelistic effort is not as important as the love for God and the love for people that went into the effort.
Are you a street preacher? Then let your wife see that the one tract she handed out today is every bit as important as the 40 minutes you spent preaching to 50 or 100 people.
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? If so, then make a point of regularly thanking your wife for the way she supports your evangelism efforts (if she does). Make sure she understands that the two of you are an evangelism team -- whether or not she is with you on the streets. Share your stories with her; but do so in such a way that makes her feel a part of the effort, and not on the outside looking in.
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? Then don't make the mistake of allowing evangelism to become the "other woman." Spend time with your wife and have conversations about topics other than evangelism. Talk to her about her. Listen to her. Be willing, with joy in your heart, to not hit the streets in order to minister to your wife. Love Christ more than you love your wife, but love your wife more than you love evangelism.
Do you want to see your wife grow in her passion for reaching the lost with the gospel? Then if you have made the mistakes I once made, repent. Seek the Lord's forgiveness and then go seek the forgiveness of your wife. Let her see real humility and show her the same kind of sacrificial love Christ showed for His Church when He laid down His life for her.
Street Preacher, love your wife!