Husbands, Imitate Christ’s Love!

ON THE final night of his life on earth, Jesus told his faithful apostles: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) Indeed, true Christians are to love one another.

Singling out husbands from among Christ’s followers, the apostle Paul wrote: “Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) How can a Christian husband apply this Scriptural admonition in his marriage, particularly when his wife is a dedicated servant of Jehovah?

Christ Cherished the Congregation

“Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies,” states the Bible. “He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation.” (Eph. 5:28, 29) Jesus felt affection for his disciples and held them dear. He cherished them. Even though they were imperfect, he was gentle and kind to them. Jesus focused on the good qualities of his disciples.​—Eph. 5:27.

Just as Christ expressed love for the congregation, a husband must show love for his mate in both word and deed. A wife who is the recipient of regular expressions of her husband’s love feels cherished and happy. On the other hand, a woman having all the comforts of a fine home can be desperately unhappy if she is being neglected or ignored by her marriage partner.

How does a husband show that he cherishes his wife? In public, he introduces her to others in a dignified manner and openly praises her for her support. If his wife has played a key role in success the family has experienced, he does not hesitate to make that known to others. Privately, she senses his affection. A touch of the hand, a smile, a hug, and a compliment may be small things, but they make lasting impressions on the heart of a woman.

“Not Ashamed to Call Them ‘Brothers’”

Christ Jesus was “not ashamed to call [his anointed followers] ‘brothers.’” (Heb. 2:11, 12, 17) If you are a Christian husband, remember that your wife is also your Christian sister. Her dedication to Jehovah takes precedence over her marriage vow, regardless of whether she was baptized before or after marrying you. When calling on your wife to make a comment, the brother presiding at a congregation meeting appropriately refers to her as “Sister.” She is your sister too, not only at the Kingdom Hall but also at home. It is just as important to be kind and polite to her at home as it is to be that way at the Kingdom Hall.

If you have additional privileges of service in the congregation, you may at times find it  difficult to balance congregation and family responsibilities. Good cooperation among the elders and ministerial servants and effective delegating of responsibilities can help you to free up time for the sister who needs you the most​—your wife. Remember, a number of brothers could undoubtedly perform the congregation tasks assigned to you, but you are the only brother united to your wife in wedlock.

Moreover, you are the head of your wife. The Bible states: “The head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man.” (1 Cor. 11:3) How should you exercise this headship? In a loving way, not by repeatedly quoting the aforementioned verse and demanding respect. The key to exercising headship properly is to imitate Jesus Christ in the way you treat your wife.​—1 Pet. 2:21.

“You Are My Friends”

Jesus called his disciples his friends. He told them: “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, because all the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14, 15) Jesus and his disciples had good communication. They also did things together. “Jesus and his disciples” were invited to the marriage feast at Cana. (John 2:2) They had favorite places, such as the garden of Gethsemane. The Bible says that “Jesus had many times met there with his disciples.”​—John 18:2.

A wife certainly needs to feel that she is her husband’s closest companion. How vital it is that you husbands and wives enjoy life together! Serve God together. Take delight in studying the Bible together. Spend time together​—walking, talking, eating together. Be more than a married couple; be dear friends.

He “Loved Them to the End”

Jesus ‘loved his disciples to the end.’ (John 13:1) Some husbands fail to imitate Christ in this respect. They may even abandon ‘the wife of their youth,’ perhaps for someone younger.​—Mal. 2:14, 15.

Others, such as Willi, imitate Christ. Because of declining health, Willi’s wife needed constant care for many years. How did Willi feel about this? He said: “I have always considered my wife a gift from God and have appreciated her as such. Besides, 60 years ago I promised to care for her in both good times and bad. I will never forget that promise.”

Christian husbands, imitate Christ’s love. Cherish your God-fearing wife​—your sister and friend.

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Is your wife your closest companion?

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‘Continue loving your wife’