A Voice in the
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her...so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself...[and] nourishes and cherishes it...a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.(~Eph5:25-31)
"..let a man have his own wife..let the husband render to his wife the affection due her..the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does..." (~1Cor7:2-5)
"...love your wives and do not be bitter toward them." (Col3:19)
Since God created man first, let's begin with the husband.
"Husbands, likewise, dwell with [your wife] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered." (1Pet3:7)
Down through the millennia the war has raged. Adam started it with, "The woman [allured me, and I did it.]"(Gen3:12) And so then, among other things, God cursed womanhood with "[the man] shall rule over you."(vs16) And if we understand "your desire shall be for your husband" ..to include.. "desire" to usurp and circumvent the man's authority; we have the beginnings and basis for essentially all the ills in marriages. The war of the sexes.
How have men behaved? In ancient/primitive cultures women were relegated to little more than "property" to be bought and sold. Often abused. In more civilized cultures, women, still, are considered "inferior" to men. Women have responded with deception and intrigue to get their own way.
And now, in the last century, they have said, "Enough is enough!! We don't need the man!" Sit-coms depict the Al Bundy's, etc. who are just not very adept; or are surly, bumbling idiots. Commercials reject things designed "by a maaan!" introduce things "by women, for women" because "only a woman can truly understand a woman's needs." As the rebellion reaches new depths.
Self-righteous "christians" will quote "..the head of woman is man.."(1Cor11:3) and go on their rampage against feminism and equal rights; forgetting Paul's [other] words, "..there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."(Gal3:28) To God, men and women are equally important.
Husbands, love your wives. How? As Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? He gave Himself. He died. He gave all that He had. So, do you see that a 50/50 relationship does not work? Husband, give 100% to your wife. If you give only 50%, that means you are keeping 50% for yourself.
The way you nourish yourself...give the same care and attention to your wife. Do you have spiritual needs? Understand that she has them, too. Do you want certain things for your comfort. She does, too. Do you enjoy seeing her look pretty? Don't be a slob, yourself. Do you like certain types of recreation? Realize that she has things she'd dearly love to have you share in with her. Do you have deep-seated fears that nobody else knows, but you wish you could trust somebody with them? Yes. She's got them, too.
Some of these things you used to talk with your mother or father about. But now you have a wife. Talk with her. While you were growing up, you "obey[ed] your parents."(Eph6:1) But now, as an adult who is married, you "leave father and mother and cleave to your wife."(Gen2:24) The word "leave" means to "forsake, depart from, abandon, desert." (Not to be confused with "honor", which continues Eph6:2) "Cleave/joined" means to "cling to, stay with, keep close."
You used to be part of your parents' household. But now you have your own family...with your "own" wife. Thus, if your mother comes and tries to tell your wife how to be, stand up for your wife, and in an honorable way, tell your mother to "get lost." If your parents threaten abandonment as a result of your "rebuffs" ...you're supposed to leave them anyway. So let them be however they choose to be. But, stick up for your wife. She is your other half now. Remember "two become one flesh." Your wife is now "part of" you. Next to God, she is your number one priority!
Husband (singular) love your "own" wife (singular). No longer are you free to see what "choices" there may be. You made yours. Any past friends (options) are now history. And "give yourself" fully to your wife. You now "belong to" her. Don't deprive her of her needs & desires.
Another interesting comment Paul makes. "Don't be bitter" against her. What reasons might there be for bitterness? Adam was obviously bitter. "The woman...made me do it." Adam was "seduced."
Are there any feelings that you might have been "seduced" in whatever manner, and then you got married? And now you feel you are "stuck with" her? Well, it's a two-way street isn't it! Whatever her allure might have been, you "wanted it" at the time didn't you. If your motives were initially impure, you brought it on yourself. James says, "each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his [OWN] desires and enticed."(Jas1:14) But Paul writes, "do not be bitter." Realize what happened, repent of your own heart motives, and now realize where you are, and make a life of it. After all, if something attracted you to her in the first place, she must not be all that bad! Right?
Finally, "honor" your wife. After being married a while, the light flashes on one day, and you realize the true picture as the "honeymoon wears off." You are imbued with "understanding." You realize your own failings. You understand your wife's. Where you thought you were attracted to this "tower of strength" as she seemed at first unapproachable, and then awesomely wonderful; now you realize that, like you, she is human. She has many of the same frailties you have. The same fears; only hers are greater because she is a creature of "emotion" and you are more analytical and able to see things more clearly. (Supposedly) Where at one time she seemed so "confident," now you see a person who needs your strength.
You see, God made us this way. He made the woman to be a "help" to the man. (Gen2:18) Mutually complementary. She isn't supposed to be like you. She wasn't designed that way. So don't moan with Prof. Higgins, "why can't a woman be more like a man!" She never will be.
Peter writes of the wife as the "weaker vessel." Space won't permit any details here. But remember it. You can think of many ways in which this is true. Because of this, "honor" her with more care. The "weaker parts are necessary." You need her..and as such give her MORE honor.(1Cor12:22-23)
Remember that she is a "fellow-heir" with you, of God's promises. God has given her into your hands. You are spiritually responsible for her because she is under your headship.(Nu30,1Cor11:3) So, as you deal with your own Christian life, you now also must consider hers, and how to strengthen and nurture her walk with the Lord.
If you do this, your (spiritual walk with God) will not be hindered. Your Christian life will be fruitful.