Colossians 3:19: Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
The word for love here in verse 19 refers to the kind of sacrificial, self-giving, I-will-lay-down-my-life kind of love. A love that was best modeled and displayed by Jesus Himself. Just a few verses earlier in Colossians 3, we see Paul talking about clothing ourselves in the way of Christ (verses 12-14). Now we see one application of that given specifically to husbands.
So you see a positive command…love your wife. And then a negative one…don’t be harsh with your wife. The idea there is to make bitter, because of leadership that is domineering and harsh. Remember, men, you are to clothe yourselves with Christ.
Husbands, this means, you don’t raise your voice. Whoever yells the loudest is not the one who wins, and if that is what it takes to win, then you’re being harsh toward your wife. If you’re a guy who raises his voice, and in that moment where you sense that you put her in her place. It feeds your pride. You might even think to yourself, ‘that kind of felt good.’ Listen, that desire for power and control, detached from love, is wicked. It isn’t loving, and it isn’t like Jesus.
Husbands, drop the critical spirit. Avoid the temptation to take the backhanded, subtle, digs or shots at her. Those will not impact or change her heart. Your wife is wired to be built up and affirmed. Words matter to her. Tone matters to her. Timing matters to her. Don’t walk around the house, or walk in the door, or when she walks in the door, and the first things you say to her remind her of where she has fallen short or not measured up to your expectations. Choose your words wisely, and make sure they are clothed in kindness, gentleness, compassion, humility, and patience.
Husbands, ask your wives for their opinion and discernment. My wife discerns things better than I do (duh!). Guess what? You might’ve missed something. Ask your wife to help you check your blindspots. It can save you from an accident and unwise decision that could’ve been avoided.
Husbands, to love your wife sacrificially means considering her interests as much as you consider your own (Philippians 2:3-4). It is approaching leadership in the home with a selfless attitude and not a selfish one.
Yes, Godly husbands, you are called to leadership in your home. You are called to be active and not passive. To initiate, and not simply react. To engage, and not avoid. To pursue, and not grow weary.
So men, lead. But as you lead, do it in the way of Christ, who washed feet and who came not to be served, but to serve. Pursue humility by the grace of God, not only alongside your wife, but alongside other men (2 Timothy 2:22). And this path of servant leadership won’t come easy. It is against our sin nature. It will bust up our pride, but you know what? I think that pride busting is a good and Godly thing for the sake of our growth in Christ and for the sake of our households.
Husbands, this call to love our wives like Jesus should drive us to prayer. To be in that kind of leadership role, we can’t do it alone. We’re not that awesome. We need the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And we need each other. We can’t do this alone in isolation. We’re in this together.
So men, may we love and lead well reflecting Christ to our household and bringing our God glory.