One of the sad realities of this world is that many people throughout your life will claim to “love” you, but very few will actually put action to it – including your spouse. Quick to speak, slow to act love isn’t love at all.
Learning about Love
But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. ~ Ephesians 4:20-24 NASB
A number of years ago, before I got serious about God, I wrote a poem, Words, Part 1, which explored my relationships with people who claimed to love me, but whose actions toward me were destructive and hateful. For many years I didn’t understand love because of the way it was represented through my friend and family relationships.
Even before I understood that God was calling me to Him, before I consciously took a step on this journey, I knew how important the correlation between words and action was. My confusion came from believing the world-view of love: if people say it, it must be true. I didn’t have knowledge of the God-view of love: expression through selfless action for the benefit of others.
The Word of God says that one cannot love unless one has accepted His love. Since God is the first to love, He is the source of love. We love each other because He loved us first. (1 John 4:19) God is love. One has to live in God and be inhabited by God in order to accept and channel love. (1 John 4:15-17)
I didn’t understand love because I had no understanding of God. As I have grown to know God, my understanding of love has increased. My increased understanding of love has led me to a better expectation of my husband’s character and behavior towards me. God has also developed my discernment, which greatly improves my ability to see the difference between what is truly Christ-like and what is only a mask of Christ-likeness.
Truth and revelation will change you
I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:2-3 NLT
One of the truths that has been developing in my life over the last few years is that a woman cannot really show a man love. She can only return the love he first gives to her.
It is out of order for a woman to express her love to a man who has not expressed his love for her to her. It is out of order for a woman to try to prove herself and her devotion to a man. It is out of order for a woman to seek to attract a man’s attention. It is out of order for a woman to pursue a man. I get that now. That’s a hard pill to swallow for some men and women. Accepting such behavior from women is part of the game some men play to “collect” women and play them against one another. A man is not going to tell a woman that she is out of order for giving him excessive attention – at least I have not come across such an honest and direct man.
I was that woman who needed to be told such. I was that woman who thought something and said it. I was that woman who felt something and expressed it. I was that woman who made herself available according to his schedule. I was that woman who kept offering to share herself, her time, her talents, her resources, her knowledge, her support, her life. I was that woman who over-exposed herself – who hung herself out to dry. Not any longer. Now I see how out of order I was. Now I see that it doesn’t matter at all if I love a man, if he has no love for me. It doesn’t matter what I do, if he doesn’t want to do anything for me. It doesn’t matter what I say, if he has no words for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m in his presence, if he prefers to be elsewhere. It doesn’t matter what I want to give or have to give if he doesn’t want anything from me.
What I want really doesn’t matter, if he doesn’t want me.
Dear Jesus, that is a hard pill to swallow. That is a devastating truth to be confronted with. But the Holy Spirit’s comfort makes the pain bearable and transforming. Now that I realize that my prior behavior was out of order and I have taken steps to correct myself, I can look at men more objectively. I communicate in a different way. Actually, I’m no longer interested in initiating conversation at all. I’m no longer interested in putting any effort into any type of interaction. Why? Because now I know and accept that it is not my effort that will determine the initiation, development, course or destination of a relationship. My response will contribute to the outcome, but my effort has no real value initially.
The male was created to be a “doer”. The female was created to “support” the male in what he does. Look at it this way, if a woman starts “doing” things that is within the male role and function, and the male is not interested in assuming the female role and function of supporting the woman as a “doer” (i.e. there is no agreement between the two) nothing in the relationship is going to operate well because the relationship is out of order.
Love needs a giver and a receiver
But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:11-12 NLT
A woman is made to receive. She gives from what she has been blessed or burdened with. A man is made to initiate the process of giving. Whatever a man gives to his woman is what he will get back from her. If he is loving, caring and attentive, she will be loving caring and attentive in return. If he is dismissive, evasive, and distant, she will become dismissive, evasive and distant. The woman does not set the tone of a relationship – the man does. The husband creates the environment in which his wife and their marriage will flourish or die.
That concept was difficult for me to wrap my mind around because, in my family, I’ve only been exposed to men who either abuse their women or ignore them. I’ve learned that men who don’t care for their wives won’t care for their household. So, essentially, I grew up surrounded by women who became “doers” because the men in their lives weren’t doing anything constructive. Today, we call such women, strong and independent. I have long maintained that I’ve never known a woman who wants to be strong and independent – certainly not the woman who has to be. I speak as a woman who has been characterized as such. There are some who may describe me as outspoken and aggressive. In my time, I saw a few people cringe when they noticed me heading their way. My early experiences taught me the “doer” behavior and mentality: if I don’t do it, it won’t get done; if I don’t initiate, it will never get started; if I don’t say something, no one will know anything.
I thank God for His gentle Holy Spirit. At first the quiet gentleness is easy for a loud bullish woman to ignore. But once there is knowledge of God and an understanding of love, everything that works against God’s design, plan and purpose for you will be rooted out of you. You will undergo a transformation that bears no resemblance to your former self. The Holy Spirit has been teaching me to zip my lip and to measure my words. I’ve been learning the painfully awkward lesson of sitting and waiting! Of all things, God wants this “doer” of a woman to sit and do nothing…. I obey while patiently asking daily, “Father, am I there yet???” (Okay, maybe we’re still working on the “patient” part….)
Throughout scripture, God the Father and Jesus the Son are depicted as the Bridegroom, first mated with Israel (land and people), then mated with the church (the body of Christ). In this depiction Israel and the church are made holy by God’s presence – the Holy Spirit – among them or in them. We are told to pursue the fruit of the Spirit in order to manifest the glory of God in our lives. Well, if we go further and align the husband’s role with Bridegroom a.k.a. God/Jesus and align the wife’s role with the Bride of Christ/Holy Spirit we will see very well the call and response, the action and the reaction throughout the Great Story that provide behavioral instructions for our conduct within our marriage relationships.
God is active in His love. Jesus sacrificed His life for His bride. There is no ambiguity in the way the Father and Son communicate and represent love. For this reason, I now know and appreciate that I will recognize my husband by his actions toward me and for me.
Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. ~ Isaiah 62:1-5
Love requires presence, connection and action
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it to make it belong to God. Christ used the word to make the church clean by washing it with water. He died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself. No one ever hates his own body, but feeds and takes care of it. ~ Ephesians 5:25-29 NCV
Husband, do you love me? It’s a question one supposes a wife should not have to ask. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of living in the world is picking up worldly habits. Worldly men have distanced themselves from Love – they have lost their intimate knowledge of God. How can a man with no knowledge of God, who is Love, truly love his wife? How can a man, who straddles the world and the Kingdom of Heaven, love his woman fully when he doesn’t love God fully? It’s not possible.
If you believe the Word of God, then you know that love is a manifestation of God. We can only love through His Spirit, which means (1) there has to be a connection, and (2) the connection must be maintained. If a man has God’s Spirit operating within him, he is going to be active in his expression of love for his wife. He is going to pursue his wife daily. He is going to speak words of life to her constantly. He will never cease praying for her to be made into the image of Light – a deposit from him, through him and for him. A reflection of who he is in Christ. The love of a husband changes his wife so deeply that her former self dissolves into the greatness of their shared identity. She takes a new name as her husband’s wife. His claim on her is her covering. Her acceptance of him is his blessing and his joy.
Husband, do you love me?
Then let me hear your voice.
Husband, do you love me?
Then cleanse and wash me.
Husband, do you love me?
Then shepherd me.
Husband, do you love me?
Then cover me.
Husband, do you love me?
Then feed me.
Husband, do you love me?
Then disciple me.
Husband, do you love me?
Then present me to God.
Husband, do you love me? A simple question, but the affirmative response requires a great deal of committed action. (John 21:15-22)
54 thoughts on “Husband… do you love me?”
[…] EXCERPTED FROM Kingdom Of God Worship source http://mygodandme.info/blog/2011/12/01/husband-do-you-love-me/ […]
WOW!!! What do you think??? Does not a man need the same thing. The greatest strength of a man is for his women to stroke his EGO. If you are doing some of this and still not recieving, then what is going wrong???
Ephesians 5:25-29 Tells us how to become a Woman’s Man, but it takes work. I really want to say that even if you doing some of these and they still don’t respond, then its something wrong with them; but Gods word is true and gives us the power to carry it out. As hard as it is to admit, there is still something lacking in you that you are not doing, if they are not responding.
What I want really doesn’t matter, if he doesn’t want me. Doesn’t this work both ways.
Trying to Love: I think you’re missing the nuance of a very important point: the man has the RESPONSIBILITY and OBLIGATION to ACT on his LOVE. It is then his wife’s responsibility and obligation to RESPOND to him as her husband. [Or in courting relationships: the man iniatiates and the woman accepts his suit and responds to his overtures.]
I spent several years stroking a few men’s ego with my attention. What was wrong with me is that they were not for me. Nor was I for them. Marriage is not about ego. It is about spirit. If a man and a woman are both focused on the man’s ego (how good he feels about himself) then who is focusing on God? Who is giving God the honor, love, praise and obedience that He requires of His righteous people?
Of course I believe that men need love. However, I believe they receive it in a different way. It’s comparable to the different ways men and women communicate. Because men are the iniatiators of a relationship, they are only going to invest in the woman they want to invest in. So any woman throwing herself at a man who is not interested in her, is simply wasting her time. He may past time with her, but he won’t share his life with her.
Also, you are mis-applying Ephesians 5:25-29. It is not the woman who works to make herself presentable to God in/through her marriage. It is the work and committment of the husband who is instructed to cleanse her (speak to her) God’s Word. The man is basically being instructed to disciple (teach) his wife God’s ways and then present her to God as his life’s offering.
Eph 5:33 tells women that we MUST RESPECT our husbands. There is NO instruction to women to LOVE their husbands. Love comes from the man (i.e. God instructs man to LOVE his wife as Christ loves the church) and love is returned to the husband through his wife’s respect. A respectful wife behaves in a reverent manner towards her husband – that reverence, committment and faithfulness represents love to a man.
Stay tuned, I’m working on a companion piece titled, WIFE… DO YOU RESPECT ME? It will hopefully provide fuller answers to your comments and questions.
Hi, Trying to Love, I keep thinking about your comments.
First, I would like to point out that you used the plural in regards to “a man’s strength coming from his WOMEN stroking his ego.” Second, you implied that I must be doing something wrong since I have not received a response from multiple MEN. This post explores how wrong and out of order I was, because I was taking on the role of “initiator” – trying to get things started with a couple of men I was interested in.
I would like to be clear that I am writing about the monogamous relationship between a man and a woman as Biblically illustrated through God’s commands to and actions towards His people – His Bride.
In regards to your last comment, it is the pursuit and care of a man for his woman/wife, that will turn her heart towards him. If a man’s heart is not already with a woman, nothing she does or says will make him love her. When a woman loves a man, it is well known. A woman doesn’t have a problem with laying down her life for her husband and her children. It’s not about EGO with us – it’s about LIFE. The root of relationship problems can be when the man/husband is focused on his EGO (himself only) and not his LIFE (his wife and children).
I reread your Ephesians comment and see that I misunderstood what you were saying. Ephesians 5:25-29 is indeed instructions to husbands on what type of man to be in order to glorify God. However, I reiterate that it is the woman’s role to RESPOND not to DO or ACT.
Also, I think many men are out of order for the same reasons I was out of order. Many men have been raised in female dominated households for one reason or another – no father present at all, or father working all the time, or father thinking it’s the mother’s responsibility to raise the children. So there are many men who have grown up with examples of very active women in their lives. These men seek wives like their mothers or grandmothers or sisters. Just because it’s the norm in your family or in society does not make it right in the Kingdom of God. I am very determined to align myself with God’s ways. That’s what this post is about.
Thank you so much for posting and sharing your thoughts (you’re the first man to do so on this post). It helps broaden my perspective.
I partially agree with you. Men and women were created different to fill different roles. Those lines have been blurred, and it’s difficult to adjust ourselves to what God wants instead of doing what’s comfortable. For a single woman I think you are right on. Changing now, and waiting for the husband that God wants for you is challenging, but worth it. However, I think that it changes a bit after you take your vows.
Men respond to respect, and women respond to love as Ephesians 5:33 shows us. However, neither command is followed by when they earn it, when they deserve it, or after they show you respect/love first. It is an act of obedience that flows from the love we have for God. If a husband fails to show love, the woman fails to show respect, the husband feeling disrespected then acts in unloving ways…on and on it goes. If we were always waiting for our husbands to act first our marriages would crumble. And while our husbands will be accountable to God, as the head of the home, we will still be held accountable for not showing love and respect to our husbands. 1Peter 3:1 shows us that even husbands who are unbeliever can be won over by our actions. And in this fallen world, where even a christian husbands heart may be drawn away from his wife if he doesn’t guard it diligently, it can be brought back.
God demonstrated his love for us while we were still sinners, and he wants us to show that same sacrificial love. I know from experience. When I wanted nothing more than to leave, I stayed. When all I wanted was to be hurtful and cruel, I showed him love and respect. I don’t believe that God wanted me to submit to a divorce, but to overcome evil with good. Looking back I can’t believe that I made it thru. I can’t believe that we made it thru. The only explanation is that I clung to God and acted in obedience to Him, and showing love when my husband could only hate.
[…] Husband… do you love me? […]
Thank you so much for your direct, detailed and very personal response. I’ve had a couple of false starts this week in my attempt to reply. Part of me wanted to get defensive. Another part wanted to insist that a man acting first will almost always receive a response from the woman – much more so than vice versa. But overall, I’m convicted. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote.
I don’t necessarily think of myself as a person who fears anything, but last night as I thought about your comments, I admitted that my one paralyzing fear is loving a man who doesn’t respond to my love and pledging myself for life to such an individual. I, unfortunately, can imagine what type of hell that would be for me daily.
My hope is, if I can correct myself now and stop seeking after a non-responsive man, then I would be open and ready for a man who presents himself with the love of Christ for his bride. Someone who is as active in his expression of love for me as he is with his response to my love for him. That’s my hope. Ultimately, I’m subject to God’s plan.
You’ve shared an amazing testimony on marriage and I truly appreciate it.
May you continue to be strengthened in your walk and your marriage. Thanks to God for the work He has done in you and your life.
God bless and love,
Thank you for your honesty. I’m so sorry that you felt defensive. I’m sure that the tone I was hearing in my head while writing wasn’t what you were hearing as you were reading. I know that it’s hard not to feel defensive after putting so much of yourself into something. It truly was not my intention to make you feel attacked in any way. Please forgive me.
The marriage relationship is something that I’m very passionate about. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to go thru, even more difficult than losing our daughter. I just want God to shine thru, and for others to benefit from my experience. I’m so grateful that our God is hope in the most seemingly hopeless situations.
I pray that God is preparing a wonderful and loving man for you.
Lisa, my momentary reaction of defensiveness is not a reflection on you or your words. It’s a revelation of the pride in me that I have to continually stamp out. There’s nothing to forgive. You spoke true words from a place of honesty, exposing your heart. My honest response is a reflection of your true intent. I am not, nor was I, offended. I think the best description is that I was trying to hide something – but decided to reveal it instead.
I’m very. very sad to hear that you’ve lost a child. I am heaertened to know that your committment to your marriage is continually strengthening it. I pray you are able to enjoy the good fruit of your labor always.
Blessings of peace and joy to you and your family, Lisa.
[…] Husband, do you love me? […]
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