A Husband’s Love for His Bride

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.      Ephesians 5:23a

Our culture has some warped ideas of what love looks like. It could be nothing more than lust—intense physical desire. It may be self-centered—“I feel proud to call such a beautiful, talented, vivacious woman my wife.” Sometimes it’s an intense attraction that takes us by surprise and renders us unable to think of anyone else or to eat or sleep—“I’ve fallen in love.” It could even be loneliness—“I don’t like living alone; I need a companion, a housekeeper.”

Paul’s command for husbands to love their wives is not an easy task. The hard part is loving their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That’s a tall order! Few husbands are called upon to die physically for their wives, but all of them are called to die to themselves for her sake.

How do husbands love their wives? They are called to lead their wives (Ephesians 5:23). How did Jesus lead? He did not lord it over anyone. He said He came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:42-45). Husbands are servant-leaders. They are called to willingly and joyfully serve their wives.

Picture yourself receiving a boss’s yearly review. It’s an occasion for recognizing what has been done well and an opportunity for the boss to point out what can be improved, but it isn’t a punishment to be feared. In a similar way, husbands will stand before God and give an account of how well they loved their wives.

The Hebrew word for “bride,” kallah, comes from kalal which means “to make complete, to make perfect, to put a crown upon.” I picture that crown more like the leafy celebratory chaplet placed on the heads of Olympic winners than the heavy bejeweled cumbersome crowns of monarchs.

Husbands, is your love for your bride Christ-like? A sacrificial love that completes her and puts a crown on her head? Will your review result in a commendation of “Well done, loving and faithful servant leader”?


Are you sad because you have no husband—you’re single, widowed, or divorced? Read Isaiah 54:5-6. You have a husband! He completes and puts a crown on your head. Have you experienced this?

What other instructions does Paul give to husbands in Ephesians 5:28-33?

Who is the head of the husband according to 1 Corinthians 11:3?

What instructions does Paul give to wives in Ephesians 5:22-24 and 33?

Nancy J. Baker


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