Love in the movies is all about the grand gestures, right? Like the brand-new SUV with a big red bow in the driveway. Or the spontaneous romantic cruise to Fiji. The glittering diamond ring that cost more than your first mortgage. Or the office filled wall-to-wall with bouquets of flowers. Those elaborate declarations of love are fun to watch, but they probably don’t match the reality of my marriage or yours.
At my house, love looks more like sharing a pot of hot coffee in the morning. It’s freshly folded laundry and a filled-up gas tank. It’s the quick kiss before dashing out the door. Love is not making a “thing” about the small stuff and giving a listening ear for the big stuff. It’s Friday night dates to Costco and backing each other up when our kids push the limits. It’s flirty little texts just because. Love is words like Thank you. You look good today. How can I help? It’s a steady stream of care and affection that flows through our life together.
Yet for many of us as wives, that steady stream of love can slow or even stop. Our warmth and intimacy, thoughtfulness and generosity grow cold. Instead of giving love to our husbands with joy and freedom, we wrap it up tight and keep it to ourselves. The question for today is, Why?
Instead of giving love to our husbands with joy and freedom, we wrap it up tight and keep it to ourselves. The question for today is, Why?
For many of us, it’s fear.
We’re afraid our love won’t be returned.
We fear we’ll be taken for granted.
We’re afraid our efforts will be criticized or found wanting.
We fear we might feed our husband’s pride or selfishness.
We worry the marriage will be all give and no take.
We secretly fear that the relationship is broken beyond repair, and our love won’t make a difference.**
When fear takes hold, love shuts down. We turn inward and put up walls to protect our hearts. As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to draw close. To be vulnerable. To honor the good in our husbands or forgive his failings. To carry each other’s burdens. To laugh and celebrate life together. Fear steals our joy in the now and crushes our hopes for tomorrow.
When fear takes hold, love shuts down.
Fear is also impossible to battle on our own. To overcome our fear, we need God to write the truth about love on our hearts and minds. Here are four truths that can set us free to love our husbands today:
1) Love is not earned
In marriage, it’s easy for love to become transactional instead of a gift.
I’ll make dinner if you do the dishes.
You can take a Pilates class on Friday if I can golf on Saturday.
If you want $50 for that, I get to spend $50 on this.
If we celebrate this holiday with your family, we’re spending the next one with mine.
We’ll have sex if you deal with the kids’ bedtime routine first.
I’ll forgive you this time, but don’t do it again.
Love becomes a commodity to trade instead of a gift freely given. Today, let’s remember how we’re loved as daughters of God:
- “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
- “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
God loved us before we knew His name. He sent His Son to save us before we knew we needed saving. His love overcame our doubts and our stubborn hearts so we could know Him, trust Him, and become His own. Even now, when we mess up or stumble over the same old sins, His love goes on and on. By the power of His Spirit, we can give that same generous, unconditional love to our husbands.
2) Love is sourced by God
Sometimes we think that love is a possession we hold in limited supply. We carry a mindset that if we give and serve, care and value our husbands, that supply will bleed out until we’re empty inside. Yet as daughters of God, our love is sourced by the love we’ve been given through Jesus. That love is far different from human affection:
- “…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
- “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)
- “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
That means we can draw on Jesus’ love instead of relying on our emotions or willpower. When we “grow weary in doing good,” His love can build us up again (Galatians 6:9). We can praise God for His infinite love for us and give out of what we’ve received. By growing closer to God through worship, prayer, and His Word, we can let His love transform our hearts and minds so we love like Him.
3) God loves through us
How often have we forgotten how God sees our husbands? The Word tells us that our spouse was created in His image. That he was bought with the price of Jesus’ own life. That he is known, purposed, and inherently valued by the Father. God is eager to reveal His kindness and goodness to our husbands, and our love is a significant way that is accomplished.
- “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)
- “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18)
- “…As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
- “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
How often have we forgotten how God sees our husbands?
The love we show our husbands allows them to experience God’s love in tangible ways. For the husband struggling with doubt or unbelief, our humble and faithful love affirms the reality of our faith and God’s loving character. Let’s be answers to our husbands’ prayers (and be passionate in prayer for them too!). Let’s be the ones who build them up when others tear them down. When they fail, let’s be a safe place to find compassion and a second chance to get it right. You and I can build their faith that God’s love is present and active in their lives.
4) Loving brings blessings our way
There is a cost to love. It takes patience. Generosity. Time. Selflessness. Humility. Hard work. Yet as we give our love, God holds blessings and rewards in store for us.
- “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
- “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
- “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people…” (Hebrews 6:10)
- “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149:4)
As we lean in to love our husbands more and more, we experience the favor of God in a whole new way.
My friend, we do not love because our husbands are worthy, but because Jesus is worthy. May we love our husbands as worship to God for how He loves you and me. When our strength and courage are failing, let’s ask Him to give us what we need to overcome our fears. We are fully, deeply loved and empowered to love by Jesus.
A Prayer for Today
It’s hard to give a love I don’t feel today. Fill me with your compassion and affection for my husband. Give me courage to pursue a closer relationship. Renew a humble spirit so I can be helpful, honoring, and grateful in our marriage. Expand my heart and mind to comprehend your limitless love for both of us. May I love for your name’s sake.
**Loving your husband does not mean submitting to cruelty or abuse. If you are unsafe in your home, please seek help and support. Find insight and resources for safety here.