“To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (HCSB)
When we think of a devotional for Valentine’s Day, perhaps, the first thought that comes to mind is to define what love is. We can find many passages on this topic in scripture. For example, in 1 Corinthians 13, we find a list of what love is: patient, kind, not boastful, endures all things … etc. However, “love” that is not founded in a relationship with Christ is only a conditional feeling, not true love. Christ demonstrates true love for us in the way He has loved the church and given Himself for it.
Ephesians chapter five demonstrates various aspects of how the husband and wife should love and treat each other. The foundation of that love comes from the way Christ has loved the church. It is because of who Christ is in our lives that we desire to honor and obey Him and seek to live out Ephesians 5:33 in our marriage. Here are some commitments that we have made in our 30 years of marriage.
- We have both individually committed to make Christ our Lord every day.
- We seek His kingdom first.
- We seek to submit to Him.
This is key for us. As we submit to the Lord, we can then be right with God, which then allows us to be right with each other. Connecting with God every day helps us to know how to love each other.
Anabella shares, “I respect the role he has in our home. I seek his leadership. I ask for his input. I share my thoughts and feelings, and he listens with so much care.”
The horizontal relationship must be right if we want the vertical relationship to be grounded on solid ground.
As for Pete, “I commit to love her as Christ loved the church. He gave himself completely for the church and died for it. I seek to live out this love selflessly. It is hard to be selfless. Because I (Pete) can be so selfish. Through the years God has taught me to love my wife by thinking of her first. I am second.”
Anabella shares practical principles learned of how to love her husband. “When I am having all the “fun” at home (as Pete says: cooking & cleaning and playing with our grandson) or traveling all over the state, I am showing Pete how important he is to me.”
Finally, we make sure we are in the Word and pray together. We commit to maintaining a marriage that honors the Lord. Following God’s commands, not our personal preferences or awesome ideas, makes it very easy to respect and love each other. Christ wants a church that is pure. We strive to honor Christ by keeping a pure marriage.
You see, Christ sets the standard, not us. Christ teaches how to love one another, not us. Christ receives honor, not us.
Pete & Anabella Ramirez