February 7-14, 2022, has been dubbed “National Marriage Week.” It kicks off with National Marriage Day, and it wraps up with Valentine’s Day. A recent survey projects Americans will spend $23.9 billion on the holiday. Men will spend almost twice as much as women – $235 vs. $119. The crazy thing is that about $9.5 billion of that will be spent on unwanted gifts. As a society, I think we’ve successfully commercialized love.
But we all know love is not about a day, whether it is Valentine’s Day or even your wedding day. Marriage is about day-in, day-out.
The responsibility of husbands in marriage is almost inconceivable. The standard to uphold is Christ Himself – to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. Paul gives a great deal of instruction in Ephesians 5 for husbands and wives, but let’s focus on the man’s role as husband.
- “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (v. 25)
It’s a wholly unselfish love. Christ loved the church to a literal death on the cross.
- That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (v. 26)
It is a love that accepts her and leads her faithfully to grow in Christ.
- “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.” (v. 28-30)
It’s a love that tends to her needs.
- “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (v. 31)
It’s a love that forsakes all others for her.
- “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself.” (v. 33)
We know from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 the definition of love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Marriage is a great gift and holds great responsibility to “model the love of Christ for the church and the response of the church to Christ for the world to see.” (Tony Evans Bible Commentary) It’s a tall order and we inevitably fall short. How many of us wish we had had someone further along with a successful marriage who could help us navigate some of those early days? How many of us still desire to have a seasoned man to turn to for wisdom when we reach a new phase or hit a new challenge in our marriage?
If you are a younger guy or a newlywed, seek out an older man with a marriage you can see is thriving.
If you are a man who has been married a while, look to invest in a younger man.
You don’t have to have all the answers. Just listen. Invite him to lunch to ask how he is doing, and encourage him with what you’ve learned.
When it comes to having or being a marriage mentor, don’t discount seeing and being a living example. I read a testimony on the marriage of George H. W. and Barbara Bush. The couple was married for 73 years, apparently one of the longest marriages in presidential history. In the article, their son Jeb is quoted reminiscing about his parents’ example in marriage, “Our family has had a front-row seat for the most amazing love story.” What a fantastic testimony to have your children marked by your faithful example!
No matter your age or how long you’ve been married, it’s always wise to invest in your marriage. As we head into Valentine’s Day, how about giving a gift that can improve your marriage not just for a day but for a lifetime?
Check out FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember Marriage Retreat in Norfolk, VA, on February 25-27, 2022, and use the group name NOBLEWARRIORS to receive a discount.
And just for fun, check out this wise advice from a mentor husband on what NOT to do this Valentine’s Day!
Weekend To Remember® – Marriage retreat by FamilyLife
FamilyLife® – Marriage articles and resources
Welcome To FireProofMyMarriage.com – Watch the Fireproof movie, and complete The Love Dare together
The Love Dare: New Revised Edition – By Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick
Sacred Marriage (Paperback) – Store | Focus on the Family – By Gary Thomas