In his book Manhood Restored, Eric Mason writes a great chapter on what a restored family, led by a Jesus-loving man, looks like. He utilizes the biblical text of Ephesians 5 (among others) to describe the calling of a man in his home.
Ephesians 5 commands the Christian husband to “love your wife as Christ loves the church.” Mason says:
In that society, the command might have been something like, “Husbands, rule your wives.” Instead, Paul commanded not just an affection for the wife, but the willingness to sacrifice self for her comprehensive spiritual benefit. This doesn’t mean that a husband should build life around his wife’s preferences, but it does mean that he should consciously live his life considering her spiritual development. Practically, this means the husband should be making decisions and setting priorities through asking and answering questions like the following:
- Is she the main supporter of the family, financially, emotionally, or even physically?
- Is she leading the family while you lay passive on the couch?
- Does she struggle with submitting to you because you die to her but not to yourself?
- Are you further developing yourself spiritually, financially, and emotionally, to cover her comprehensively? Or are you in a place of stagnancy while your wife is dying on the vine struggling to make sense of your passivity and narcissism?
These are real-life questions. Love must have these practical components and considerations. Unfortunately, most of us treat the love of our wives in an extremely abstract manner. “Of course I love my wife” we say, but that love rarely makes it past the point of words and theory.
For those of you men reading this, I hope these words challenge you. If you’re not married and are planning to get married someday, work at becoming this kind of man before you seek out a wife. If you are married, the love of your wife cannot be abstract or theoretical. If it is not manifested in concrete action, you’re blowing smoke. Your faithfulness to your wife is not simply comprised of what you “don’t do,” it also includes what you do.
I’m currently reading Manhood Restored with about 20 other men at LifePoint. My prayer is that our local church would be made up of men who are men in more than name only.