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Sometimes a husband may grumble about his “choice” of a wife. He’ll speak of her incompatibility, her lack of interest in mutual things, her indifference in spiritual matters, her deficiency of physical appeal, etc.

Interestingly, in Old Testament times marriages were commonly arranged. Although we do not necessarily promote a return to its practice, that does not mean that it was without any merit. One interesting thing that it and the levirate law (where a man was required to marry his brother’s widow) do is that they demonstrate that a man can love and care for a woman – any woman – even one they did not even choose themselves. The bottom line is that marriage is not so much about “choosing” the “right” wife, as it is about being the right husband.

Paul did not write:

Husbands love your ideal wives …
Husbands love your loving wives …
Husbands love your helpful wives …
Husbands love your Proverbs 31 wives …
Husbands love your non-deficient wives …
Husbands love your uncomplicated wives …
Husbands love your unbroken wives …
Husbands love your compatible wives …
Husbands love your submissive wives …
Husbands love your spiritual wives …
Husbands love your attractive wives …
Husbands love your supermodel wives …
Husbands love your sexy wives …

No, without qualification, he simply wrote:

Husbands love your wives …

C2Pilkington-4

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his book, Wife Loving, below)

————————————

pilkington_wife_loving_cover_POCKET_640x513.inddWife Loving The Husband’s Paramount Privilege

by — Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

This book is about Christ-mentored husbandry; a look at husbands’ important and honored role of loving their wives. So lofty and divine is its pursuit, Paul presents none other than Christ Himself as the mentor: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.”

(#0462) 978-1-62904-046-2 US Trade 6×9 PB, $9.95

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God’s crowning creative act was the making of woman. At the close of each day, it is formally recorded that God saw what He had made, and it was good (Genesis 1:31). But when Adam was made, it is explicitly recorded that God saw it was not good that the man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). As to man, the creative work lacked completeness, until, as all animals had their mates, there should be found for Adam also a help meet for him – his counterpart and companion. Not until this need was met did God see the work of the last creative day also to be good.

Arthur T PiersonArthur T. Pierson (1837-1911)
Cited by Arthur W. Pink in The Excellence of Marriage
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The Song of Solomon is an erotic love poem. In some places, the meaning of the poet can hardly be missed, and for prudish Christians, the clarity of the point is all the more embarrassing. But embarrassment is not an appropriate response for Christians; all of Scripture is inspired, and is profitable for instruction.

It is legitimate to read and learn from the erotica of the Song. This erotica is clearly and unambiguously sexual. Put another way, the Bible contains literary passages which we may read, in which another couple is engaged in passionate lovemaking.

Douglas WilsonDouglas Wilson
Reforming Marriage, pages 104-105

In some societies a man may marry several wives. Western society allows this in a different way, in what is sometimes called “serial polygamy” – a man may marry several wives so long as he legally divorces the current one before marrying the next.

Arguably, the “Christian” form of polygamy is a more primitive and callous arrangement for the man’s existing family than ordinary polygamy. In polygamous societies, the first wife and their children remain viable parts of a viable social entity… In serial polygamy the children are brought up in a broken home, the wife is discarded in a difficult social position.

Understanding Human Behavior
Human Relationships: Man & His Women, Vol. 4, p. 438

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Since the beginning He has been a God of compassion, to forgive people, and let them begin again. The adultery and murder of Uriah by King David was as bad as – if not worse (in man’s value system) – than divorce. Yet, God honored the marriage of David and Bathsheba after their repentance (II Samuel 11-12). God did not reckon David’s sin with Bathsheba as damning guilt, but freely forgave him.

He so fully forgave that He gave Bathsheba another son (Solomon) and bestowed a love upon him which gave him the name Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord” (II Samuel 12:24, 25). Furthermore, God put Bathsheba in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:6) and called David a man “after His own heart” (I Samuel 13:14).

This is what grace does. Only the condemning, self-righteous, grace-ignoring would beg to disagree with the compassion of the Lord. Thus I cannot understand a theology that, in the name of Christ, will forbid remarriage … a new start.

Ross Davis
Life At Its Best (1980)

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Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them (Colossians 3:19).

Divine revelation alerts husbands to their natural hindrance to loving their wives: bitterness. Bitterness is defined as “anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment” (Oxford); “a feeling of anger and unhappiness” (Cambridge).

Some husbands tell us that they can’t help the negative feelings that they have toward their wives. A husband may say that he can’t “help” having these feelings, but certainly one can “help” what is done about them. Negative “feelings” of bitterness or otherwise can’t be used as an excuse. Feelings are fickle. Feelings aren’t trustworthy. Feelings should never lead our way. Feelings are great servants, but dangerous masters. We must not allow ourselves to be dominated by our feelings.

In 1832 Adam Clarke writes concerning this passage,

Wherever bitterness is, there love is lacking. And where love is lacking in the married life, there is hell upon earth (Adam Clarke Commentary).

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown remind us that,

Many who are polite abroad, are rude and bitter at home (Commentary, 1871).

The divine, Pauline instruction, followed immediately after the directive to love our wives, is to “be not bitter against them.” A.T. Robertson tells us plainly that, “This is the sin of husbands,” and that it is in the “present middle imperative in prohibition: ‘Stop being bitter’” (Word Pictures of the New Testament).

Christ’s love was willingly self-sacrificial; yet ours is resentful? Does Christ resent the ecclesia for all that it puts Him through? Is He ever bitter and resentful toward us for all of His personal labors and loss sacrificed for us?

Negative feelings toward our wives should be for us an immediate indication of the hardness of our own hearts. We must ever look to the Savior for correction and encouragement of such sinful attitudes.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his upcoming book, Wife Loving.)

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Husbands are often heard complaining, “All I want from my wife is for her to be … loving … giving … gracious … co-operative, etc.” While these are wonderful ideals, and undoubtedly we should endeavor to lead our wives on a spiritual journey that would have us grow together in these areas, our responsibilities as husbands are not lessened by our wives’ lack in any or all of them. Loving our wives is not at all contingent on their responses.

Husbands, be loving your wives according as Christ also loves the ecclesia, and gives Himself up for its sake.

This is a clear, stand-alone truth. Christ’s love and giving up of Himself for us was in no way contingent on our own level of love, grace or co-operation: it was unmerited. This is the Paul’ point regarding our role with our wives. No one in the Old Testament ever could have known such a remarkable truth as this – because they never could have imagined the extent of selfless love outpoured at Calvary.

Will we ever “get” what we long for from our wives? Perhaps to some degree, but that is beside the point. Husbands have a higher calling than merely to “receive”: they are called to selfless “giving.” Some husbands are busy stressing to their wives the word “subject” (“submit”) in Ephesians 5:22, all the while avoiding the “gives” in :25. Husbands who consume themselves with their wives’ shortcomings are usually the same ones who fail to look in the mirror to see their own. To adapt our Savior’s words,

Why do you notice the splinter in your wife’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye? How dare you say to your wife, ‘Let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,’ and you never notice the plank in your own eye? What a hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see properly to take out the splinter in your wife’s eye (cf. Matthew 7:3-5).

Husbands’ standard excuse for not doing what God has called them to do is to follow Adam in shifting the blame to our wives. It is always somebody else’s fault. If our wives were just somehow different, we would love them more and give up ourselves for them. We as husbands must be done with our selfish victim mentality. God is behind all of our circumstances, including our marital ones, and all that we are going through is for our good.

The husband’s sacrificial love and giving to his wife are not merely petty matters; they are principles on which the divine structure of the universe is founded. The sooner we learn these grand truths, the further along we will be in our spiritual development. We will review the lessons of these divine principles over and over until Christ is formed in us. This life is the training and preparation for our celestial calling and responsibilities. Don’t waste its priceless lessons. Make the most of them. We will be thankful for every lesson learned at the appearing of Christ – and make no mistake about it: there will be a great surprise waiting for us, for many of those who have appeared to be great spiritual teachers and leaders here in this life will be dwarfed by those whom Father has privately taught the principles of divine love and self-sacrifice.

Yet now are remaining faith, expectation, love – these three. Yet the greatest of these is LOVE (I Corinthians 13:13).

One may excel greatly in faith and hope, but Paul clearly tells us that without love we are “nothing” (:2), and ALL of our other efforts, no matter how noble they may appear to others, benefit “nothing” (:3). Faith, hope and love: having only the first two out of the three leaves us destitute. Love is faith’s and expectation’s superior. Let’s learn well the lessons of Christ’s love. Let’s not come up empty at His appearing.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his upcoming book, Wife Loving.)

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Sometimes a husband may grumble about his “choice” of a wife. He’ll speak of her incompatibility, her lack of interest in mutual things, her indifference in spiritual matters, her deficiency of physical appeal, etc.

Interestingly, in Old Testament times marriages were commonly arranged. Although we do not necessarily promote a return to its practice, that does not mean that it was without any merit. One interesting thing that it and the levirate law (where a man was required to marry his brother’s widow) do is that they demonstrate that a man can love and care for a woman – any woman – even one they did not even choose themselves. The bottom line is that marriage is not so much about “choosing” the “right” wife, as it is about being the right husband.

Paul did not write:

Husbands love your ideal wives …

Husbands love your loving wives …

Husbands love your helpful wives …

Husbands love your Proverbs 31 wives …

Husbands love your non-deficient wives …

Husbands love your uncomplicated wives …

Husbands love your unbroken wives …

Husbands love your compatible wives …

Husbands love your submissive wives …

Husbands love your spiritual wives …

Husbands love your attractive wives …

Husbands love your supermodel wives …

Husbands love your sexy wives …

No, without qualification, he simply wrote:

Husbands love your wives …

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his upcoming book, Wife Loving)

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Strange as it is, some dare suggest that what Paul really meant in Ephesians 5:25 was no more than,

“Husbands love your wives as …” also saith the law.

“Husbands love your wives as …” also your associate (neighbor).

In other words, some would reduce the love of Christ in the husband to: “Don’t hit her, don’t starve her, don’t freeze her.” Really? Is that all there is to it?

If so, why did Paul bring Christ into the equation at all? If that’s all there was to it, why didn’t Paul just say that? Why didn’t he just say what he meant?

We don’t need master-teachers skilled in the art of endless debate somehow to explain away the simple language of this wonderful phrase of Scripture, “Husbands, love your wives …” Now listen carefully to what Paul writes next:

even as Christ also loved the ecclesia, and gave Himself for it.

These words are so simple that a young child can grasp them and their significance. It takes amazing effort to explain away their clarity.

Surely we can learn much from Eden’s garden as well as the Mosaic law in relationship to marriage, but Paul unveils tremendous new ground for the husband/wife relationship: Christ!

While it is suggested that the true meaning of these words are somehow limited to a context of a few verses (:25-30), instead, as we have stated in an earlier section, the rich meaning of this phrase is actually to be understood in the broader context, taking us back to the beginning of the chapter.

The phrase “and gave Himself for it” looks backwards to :2. Paul plainly tells us exactly what that “giving” of Christ’s love for us was: (1) an offering, and (2) a sacrifice. The Concordant Literal Version translates the Greek word rendered “offering” in the KJV as “approach present.” An approach present was a gift offered to win another’s favor. It was a humble, sacrificial act to enable the giver to draw near to the recipient. An approach present was not chocolates and flowers. It represented a most significant sacrifice on the part of the giver. So, according to Paul’s own context, the husband’s love is to be an “approach present,” an “offering” of himself to his wife.

A whole new, never-before-known love was introduced by God through His Son, and it is that kind of love that the Father now has designed to be lived through husbands: a self-sacrificing love about which the law simply knew nothing. Christ represents the pinnacle of love and sacrifice, and Paul dares to hold up Christ’s love for the ecclesia as a model for the husband. What a glorious privilege and divine honor we husbands have been graciously granted.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his book, Wife Loving)

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I will make him an help meet for him (Genesis 2:18).

Make for him will I a helper as his complement (Concordant).

Husbands are discouraged in their ministry by what they consider to be their “inadequate wife.” “After all,” they lament, “She doesn’t qualify as a helper.” Perhaps this is true. In some cases this situation results from the man having acted rashly and not taking the time to have noted this deficiency prior to his taking on the responsibilities of a covenant of marriage. Other men may contend that she has become unhelpful since the covenant was established; but are they not then suggesting that their wife somehow has become unhelpful while under their husbandly ministry of nurture and loving care?

The reality of the divine method is that even an apparently “unhelpful” wife is indeed of great assistance to her husband. As hard as it is in the middle of our greatest trials, we must never forget that our “affliction” is divinely “working for us” (II Corinthians 4:17), or, as the CV says, “is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory.” When faith grasps this, husbands will, with Paul, be able to “be glorying also in afflictions” (Romans 5:3).

Glorying in our afflictions is a lesson we must learn repeatedly, and there is no better place to learn it than in the home.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his upcoming book, Wife Loving)

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