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Bible

THE HUSBAND?S LOVE

?Love?. is not proud?(1 Corinthians 13:4-6) is one of the great precepts preached by St. Paul concerning husband-wife relationship in the Christian Home. This applies to the husband?s emotional attitude as well as to that of the wife. But for the meantime, we shall look at that which pertains to the husband.

A proud husband is full of self-esteem. That is to say, he regards himself so much that he always looks down upon the wife and considers her as an inferior person from a poor home or clan. Usually, a proud husband is the no-nonsense type.  For instance, he would go out and come back home late, rather suspiciously; but he is not a person to brook any whys-and-wheres questions from the wife. To any such questions, either he would be annoyed and fall into fierce tantrums, banging on the tables or threatening the wife with beatings or he may arrogantly throw an irate glance at her, and like a dumb person, silently dash down to bed; damn the wife?s serious concerns!

Do you know there are homes where some husbands are so proud; they will not talk in a friendly way to their wives? Those husbands squeeze their faces or always frighteningly scowl at their wives, and won?t talk, but merely shout orders.

That is really bad! Husbands should always open up to their wives. However busy they are, they should find time to chat with their wives, joke with them, laugh together and sometimes play happily together like brother and sister, such games as ludo, snakes and ladders, cards, etc.

Really, social scientists are of the view that nowadays, owing to the influence of television, husbands and wives scarcely have time to play together. Instead, they love to sit by the television watching films. But TV entertainment should not in anyway be made to take the place of husband-wife fun or friendly games; for these have the more positive psychological effects of bringing them together or ever uniting their hearts much more firmly. Definitely, such indoor games have the capabilities of freezing or completely dissolving any pride in either of the couple.

Next is ??love?is not rude?. The word rude comes from the Latin ?rudis? which means ?rough?. In other words, St. Paul?s statement, ?love is not rude? means love is not rough or ungentle. That, in turn, means husbands should not treat their wives rudely or roughly, but speak to them or behave to them in a gentle way.

By the way, this word ?rude? is different from what is obtained in St. Paul?s remark in Second Corinthian?s 11:6 ??though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge?. That doesn?t mean St. Paul was rude, so we should imitate him. No, never! The phrase ?rude in speech? in this context means: frank in the art of speaking.

Now to the seventh of the Pauline precept: ?love?.is not self-seeking?. Have you heard of a husband who always seeks the best of everything for himself the best of meals, ?the best of clothing, food, etc. ?whilst disregarding the best of what the wife is to get?

The husband takes rich, nourishing diet: rice water with milk and sugar; with margarine, jam, fried eggs and salad to boot, whilst the wife is consigned to the hard banku ke shito ke kenam meals (a type of kenkey plus ground pepper and hard fried fish).

Look at a self-seeking man who doesn?t mind buying much beer for his friends, or who doesn?t care giving plenty of money away as funeral donations, all to court cheap popularity and fame for himself, whilst his wife and children languish in poverty and hunger! A husband in real love thinks about his wife first, for the best of things in life.

Come to St. Paul?s next assertion: ?love is not easily angered?. A husband who has genuine love for his wife is never easily provoked into anger. On the contrary, he ignores any provocative action or statement of the wife, and forgives her. In fact, it is suggested that if a husband always easily reacts angrily to a wife?s kind statement, it means his love for the wife is either at a low ebb or has fallen to zero degree.

And such husbands lay themselves open to suspicion ?suspicion that they have got some other women somewhere, that they are playing a double game, which makes them disregard the ?old? wives and adore the ?new? women. But this should not happen in Christian Home. Of course, disagreements are bound to occur in Christian marriages; but when they degenerate into angry exchanges, then the devil, with his destructive devices, has jumped into the couple?s relationship, intending to snap it asunder.

?Love?..keeps no record? is our next consideration. Do you know there are some husbands who strangely keep secret dairies about their wives so-called misbehavior? At any explosive moment such offended husbands begin to read out all such wrongs to their mothers or father-in-law, for the purpose of seeking justification for whatever action they intend taking. Other men keep dairies in their hearts, and would not easily forget even the minor mistakes these wives commit. This is most unfortunate. After all, which person does not commit mistakes in this world? No one is an angel. So if the wife offends, it is for the husband to forgive.

Our discussions on husband?s love towards the wife shall be continued later.

THE WIFE?S LOVE

Having dealt with some aspects of the husband?s love towards the wife in the Christian home (according to St. Paul?s talks on love), I shall now deem it expedient to turn to the wife?s love and discuss it in terms of the same Paulian scriptures.

First of all, it is to be borne in mind that St. Paul?s admonition, ?Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, so should man love their wives as their own bodies? (Ephesians 5:25-28) does not imply that it is the husband who alone should love or show love, thus ruling out the manifestation of the wife?s love towards the husband. No!

Love in marriage is a two-way affair, and this is re-echoed in St. Paul?s assertion: ?for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other? (1 Thessalonians 4:9) which contextually implies ?mutual love?, what in Greek is known as ?philadelphia?.

Thus the kind of love also expected from a wife should operate on four planes ?spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. The spiritual love of the wife towards the husband can be expressed variously: through intercession or praying for the husband?s well-being; for success in his business, good health, promotion in his job, and protection; or through her joining the husband in worshipping the Lord in private devotions at home and in church.

In some Christian homes, there unfortunately exists that sort of spiritual or religious disagreement in which the wife is seen to be a member of a different denomination, say Methodist or Presbyterian or Lutheran or Pentecost, whilst the husband is a Catholic or vice versa. When for instance, a Pentecostal wife refuses to join her Catholic husband in the Catholic Church, both of them find it difficult to come together to pray or worship at home, because of certain doctrinal differences.

There is a spiritual disunity here. If care is not taken, this disunity may often work itself up into sharp dissensions over some Bible doctrines, in which for example, the Pentecost wife may frivolously or impiously deride the Catholic husband?s use of the rosary, or may ignorantly denounce the husband?s use of a statue on the prayer altar as amounting to idol worshipping; and this may explode in serious quarrels that might land the marriage into troubles.

The solution to this often lies in the wife?s consent to attend the husband?s church; and that compromise is in fact the highest expression of her spiritual love for the husband. But where, both have agreed to let each other go to his or her church then there must be such mutual tolerance as may sometimes impel them to pray together.

In fact, spiritual unity between husband and wife is a point stressed more cogently by Prophet Amos who rhetorically asks: ?Can two walk together, except they have agreed to do so?? (Amos 3:3). The key word here is ?agreed?, which means a spiritual fusion. Love in this respect, means: readiness to agree with one?s partner. So if the wife really loves her husband, she quickly agrees to the husband?s loving suggestion to attend the same church or to pray together.

Where there is such agreement, spiritual love is richly intensified or heightened to lofty heights, and this may express itself also in the wife?s act of inviting the husband to pray together or fast or sing or learn the Scriptures together. It is to be noted that singing religious songs is either a form of praying or praising God, and it conduces to a great spiritual growth, if the couple often sing together. Fasting can also be done by the wife alone (or plus the husband) if she needs something very urgent from the lord on behalf of her husband. And such an initiative, of course, show great love.

Next is ?mental? love from the wife which expresses itself in the act of studying the Word of God with the husband. Oftentimes, the wife plays second fiddle in this exercise, but where the husband is deficient in Bible Knowledge and the wife is more proficient, then it is incumbent on her to lead in Bible studies and discussions in a brother-sister mood. This should be devoid of derision or unnecessary rebuke when either wife or husband goes wrong.

Studying the Word of God may take the form of reading a passage of the Bible and discussing its context or meaning, and general relevance to various aspects of life. Notes can be taken where necessary. Thus armed with very good knowledge of the Bible, the couple can teach the children some Scriptures or give them simple Bible quizzes. At least the weekends can be allotted for husband-wife Bible studies and Bible teachings.

In all these Bible studies and teachings, the wife is expected to play a pivotal role. She may have to prepare the Bible studies table and chairs, assists in the teaching of the Bible to the children, etc. Her interest or enthusiasm in Bible studies and religious discussions in the Christian home is always very essential.

By Apostle Kwamena Ahinful

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