October 8, 2008 - Wednesday of the 20th Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: Table of Duties: Husbands

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 7:1-19; Matthew 10:1-23

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19)

This verse is addressed to husbands; their wives can shut their ears. This verse is not speaking to them. Their verse comes immediately before this one: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Husband and wife, ordered with respect to each other, are a reflection of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:23).

Husband and wife are “one flesh,” a single entity. In this one flesh, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the Church. “Head” does not mean boss but source, as in head of a river or stream. He is the source of the marriage’s love, just as Christ is the source of the Church’s love. Ordered under her husband, a wife is uniquely blessed by his love and spreads that love to her children.

This does not mean that the wife does not also love her husband. Of course, she does. But just as male and female are not interchangeable, so a husband’s love for His wife and a wife’s love for her husband are not the same. In love, he lays down his life for her. He gives himself away to her, and she is, literally “to die for.” The wife is as the husband’s own body. He nourishes and cherishes her, and would never do anything to bring her hurt or harm.

All of this makes sense only as we are baptized into Christ and live in His love. The world would scream for equality and interchangeability, but equality is not love. When we are at the center of marriage, we look to our own interests--we look out for #1. But with Christ in the center, we look to one another, and how to give to each other. A husband’s gift to his wife is his unconditional, self-sacrificing love.

Guys, when you look for a bride, make sure she is “to die for,” because that’s what you are called to do. And in doing so, you will reflect the love of Christ who laid down His life to save you.

Most gracious God, we give thanks for the joy and blessings that You grant to husbands and wives. Assist them always by Your grace that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep their marriage vows, grow in love toward You and for each other, and come at last to the eternal joys that You have promised; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.