Sunday, January 1, 2012

Loving Your Man as God Loves You

by Cindi McMenamin

I was once a wife who was quick to point out my husband’s faults. Quick to let him know when he was falling short of my expectations. Quick to let him know when he wasn’t loving me as God does.

But, when I turned it around and started trying to love my husband as God loves me, that’s when things began to change in our marriage. I began focusing less on his faults and more on my own…and my own need for God’s grace in my life.

Can you imagine what marriages would look like today if both partners practiced unconditional, sacrificial and persevering love? There would be no strife, no stress, no bitterness, no built-up baggage. There would be no devastation or divorce. There would be two people, giving up their rights to themselves so they can serve one another. There would be a perfect picture in our love toward each other, of God’s love toward us.

Take a look at God’s never failing, unending, persevering love for you and see if you can’t try modeling this to your husband:

• He has promised He will never leave you.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Can you say this to your husband, and truly mean it as God means it toward you?

• He is always thinking only the best about you.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139:17-18)
Can you say that your mind is always filled with only good thoughts about your husband?

• He is gentle toward you when you’re broken.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
Are you gentle toward your husband even when he is angry or unlovable – which is how he often responds when he’s hurt?

• He promises nothing will ever come between the two of you.

“(Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God...” (Romans 8:39)
Are there any conditions or exceptions in your mind when it comes to loving your husband? Is there something in the back of your mind that he could do that would end it for the two of you? God holds none of those reservations about you. He has promised nothing – that includes nothing you can do – will ever come between you and God. Can you say the same to your husband?

• He delights in you, quiets you with His love, and sings over you.

“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Can you delight in your husband and rejoice over him, simply because of who he is – one who is loved by his heavenly father and by you? Think about the joy and comfort you have, knowing God feels that way about you. Now what would it add to your husband’s life if he knew you truly delighted in him?

• He loved you so much He was willing to die so He wouldn’t have to live without you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Have you cemented your love for your husband so deeply that you are convinced you would not want to live without him? In many ways, that’s how God felt toward you. He found a way so that the two of you would never have to be separated.

• He loved you in spite of yourself and still does.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) .
Would you show sacrificial love to your husband even if he didn’t deserve it? Even if he had turned his back on you? Scripture tells us: “This is the kind of love we are talking about – not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

“My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other.” (First John 4:10-11, The Message)

Now, from what you’ve seen about God’s persevering love for you, can you love your husband:

Even when he’s annoying you?
Even when he’s inconsiderate?
Even when he’s clearly ‘unlovable’?
Even when he’s clearly wrong and unrepentant?

Because we are not like God who never grows weary or wounded, we must know how to renew love for our husbands. We simply can’t wait for the feelings to be there. I’m so glad God doesn’t depend on His feelings for us. He has determined to love us, regardless. We must love our husbands that way, too, because the world will take it out of us. Pain will take it out of us. The everyday stuff of life will take it out of us. But, God alone can replenish it in us.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, we are told that the God who never grows tired or weary “gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” and “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” How do you renew that love you once had for your husband? How do you get back that delight in him when he – or something in this life – has taken it out of you? By waiting on the Lord for His strength to love your husband through you and by focusing on what first drew the two of you together.

Next time you’re tempted to start listing what your husband is doing wrong, I encourage you to start listing what you love about him. It’s what God would do if He were in your shoes.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone, Women on the Edge, and When A Woman Inspires Her Husband (from which this article is an excerpt). She and her husband, Hugh, have also co-authored the book When Couples Walk Together. For resources and free articles of encouragement to strengthen your soul or your marriage, see her website: