Relevant Magazine came out with an article last week about what it means to submit to one another in marriage, and this sentence sums it up well-
More than anything, it’s about learning to trust, to respect, and ultimately, to love one another, as Christ has loved us.
We know that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love one another. What better place to practice our obedience to it than in marriage? Marriage was created for us to experience community and the gospel in an intimate way, and with an eternal perspective. Our husbands aren’t simply our husbands, but also, our brothers in Christ. Therefore, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) means that we are to love and respect them because of what Christ has done for us.
Looking at my husband as a brother in Christ has helped me be more gracious, more understanding, and more patient. I can see him more clearly for who he is – a man who is just as broken as I am and who needs to hear and experience the gospel on a daily basis. When I see him with those eyes, I want to be more like Christ to him, I want to serve him and love him as Christ has done for me. It’s the gospel that motivates me, strengthens me, and gives me hope as I learn to love my husband well.
In the five and a half years that we’ve been married, we have struggled and fought to figure out how to make the other feel loved. Even though we’ll never be perfect at it, we’ve built a good foundation on how to better communicate our love for one another. Here are a couple of ways we’ve learned to do so.
Learn each other’s love languages. This may be one of the most enlightening lessons in your marriage (and in all other relationships as well!). There are 5 love languages – words of affirmation, touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. We feel most loved when people love us the way we love them. My love languages are words of affirmation and touch, so I feel most loved when I receive cards or a snuggle from my husband. On the other hand, my husband is an acts of service kind of guy, so he feels loved when I do dishes or when I get the laundry done. Figure out what it is that makes your spouse feel most loved and do those things! If you can’t figure it out, have a conversation with him and ask him what makes him feel loved and appreciated.
Act with love even when you don’t feel like it. The feelings of affection come and go, and for an emotional person like me, it’s hard to act with love when I’m not feeling it. When we’ve had a fight or when we’re both tired, it takes energy and discipline to love each other as Christ has loved us. But obedience always brings blessing to the other person, and Christ is made much of in your heart when you do – both make it worth it to love each other even when you don’t feel like it.
Pursue and get to know each other better as time passes. We inevitably become different people as we grow older – dreams could change, love languages might change, circumstances will change. Life happens and often doesn’t go as you had planned, so with each new season, get to know each other again and sprinkle in some romance.
Above all, choose to love one another well as Christ loves you.
How do you love your husband well? What one thing could you do today to express your love to him?