NINE INGREDIENTS OF DIVINE LOVE IN PRACTICE BY A CHRISTIAN HUSBAND
There is no doubt that what is expected of a Christian husband is not an easy task at al. it is only the divine presence of the Holy Spirit described in its fullness from 1 Corinthians 12 that can lead on to these nine ingredients of love in 1 Corinthians 13. It should be remembered that Galatians 5:22 describes LOVE as the first fruit of the spirit. Christ Himself said it is the most important commandment. (Matthew 22: 36, 37).
(i) PATIENCE can be described as the passive love. 1 Corinthians 13: 4 & 7 describes this ingredient as being long-suffering, bears, believes, hopes and endures all things. There are going to be occasions especially early in marriage when the patience of a partner is tried to the limit. He would have complained about one thing or the other which the wife is not used to and during the time of adjustment he naturally grows annoyed. It is under such occasions the husband is expected to remember: ‘I love you.’ He continues to believe things are going to be better and thereby endures the situation.
(ii) KINDNESS is love in action.
There are some husbands who only try to show off in public by opening the door of the car for their ‘bride.’ Such is only good when other kindness and concern is shown when only two of you are present. This show of kindness involves a constant appreciation of the wife’s extra labour of cooking, cleaning the house, washing napkins and clothes and lots of other household duties possibly in addition to her daily duty at work; when such appreciation is followed by a sincere helping hand and encouragement from the husband the wife is happy. But please note that it is necessary to be consistent in showing kindness to your wife.
(iii) GENEROSITY – Love in competition.
Love within marriage should continue to be fanned by gifts of different kinds. Many husbands stop giving their wives gifts after the wedding day! Gifts need not be expensive; it may even be ‘a piece of meat’ on the table! Especially when as a result of unexpected visitors your meat ration has been cut off from four pieces to one and your wife has none! This ingredient of generosity should spread to the use of time in helping to get things done in the house.
(iv) HUMILITY: Love in hiding
Within Nigerian set-up pride tends to rule the heart of the husband – he remembers he is the head of the family and thereby assumes a bloated degree of importance. Verse 4: ‘Love vaunteth not itself, it is not puffed up.’ Nothing should be too mean for the husband to do for his wife.
(v) COURTESY – Love in society
Verse 5: “Love does not behave itself unseemly...” It means being polite both at home and especially outside. A husband must never disagree publicly with his wife; he can do this by constantly remembering that she is part of himself. Whatever he would feel about, if it is done by someone else must be avoided.
(vi) SELFLESSNESS – Love in disposition
Verse 5: ‘seeketh not her own...thinketh no evil.’ It is always necessary for the husband to think more of the good of his wife. He shows concern about her family responsibilities and her welfare. This ingredient is important in the aspect of sexual relationship. It is easy for the husband to ‘use’ the wife to satisfy his sexual appetite – Both husband and wife need to enjoy this aspect and there will be occasions when the wife is rather too tired to respond – the husband needs to express love that is not selfish to her.
(vii) GOOD TEMPER : Love in disposition
Verse 5 ‘not easily provoked, thinks no evil...’There is a useful attitude that has helped in situations which would have brought about hot temper; that is the attitude of ‘positive analysis.’ When your wife has done something that annoys you to be provoked, first think of the positive reasons why she did it! Start from yourself – “Have I caused it? Was it done for the good of the family? I believe she did it for our good and until she proves otherwise I am not going to be angry because I love her.”
(viii) RIGHTEOUSNESS: ‘White love’
Verse 6: When a husband sincerely hates sin, he would aim at keeping his home away from falling into sin. He himself will positively guard against it. He is always thinking in turns of how the family will be closer to God. Ephesians 5: 25-28 expresses a love that sanctifies and cleanses the wife so that she can be presented to God as holy and without blemish. It is one of the most important duties of the husband to ensure that the family altar is not neglected. He is to ensure constant love for God by the whole family and it is only through this that internal family love continues to grow. The more righteous a couple is, the greater their love one to another.
(ix) SINCERITY: ‘Love never fails’
It is not necessary to expand this much further but simply to add that when all that is done in love is done with Christian sincerity such love will never fail. It makes you both feel you are still on honeymoon after 50 years of marriage. Yes, love brings submission and love in response. I am yet to find a couple who will follow the analysis of the scriptures without riding through their marriage in JOY and peace.
May our love to our wives be such that makes them obey us so that we shall both enjoy the peace and joy of marriage as God has designed it for us. I will love, you will obey is the balanced and unbiased contract between husband and wife respectively that can ensure perfect peace, joy and harmony of their Christian home.
M.O. S (REV.) 20th October, 1979.