One of the great things about expository preaching is that it forces the preacher to address issues which may not necessarily be popular among segments of the congregation. Every Christian knows what it’s like to sit through a sermon and feel the tinge of conviction when the text reveals flaws in his character. It makes us uncomfortable. It’s safe to say that this is how it must be for many husbands when a passage like Eph. 5:25-29 is expounded upon. And rightly so.
As husbands, we are charged with loving our wives the way Christ loves the church. This command to imitate Christ is certainly not easy. I’ve only been married for less than a month and I already struggle with this. It’s not just the outward things I neglect. Moreover, I’m not imitating Christ by fulfilling a checklist of things or otherwise ameliorating the aforementioned neglect. The problem is within our hearts. To love your wife as Christ loves the church extends to spiritual matters as well. When your prayer life reflects this, all of the outward behaviors will follow suit.
In John 17, Jesus prays for the church in His High Priestly Prayer. Among other doctrines, His prayer reveals His role as mediator for God’s elect. He intercedes for His people and shows His love for them. In the same way, Christian husbands must intercede for their wives in prayer. We have a responsibility to lift them up daily in prayer. It’s true that we will never love our wives to the degree that Christ does, but He is our necessary example. Our prayers really do reveal our affections and what is important to us. What does it mean to love your wife as Christ loves the church? It starts there.