Therefore, behold, I will allure her,and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her…And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me inrighteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I willbetroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.(Hos 3:14,19-20)
I’m not even going to try to compete with the beautiful, poetic post that he wrote to commemorate this day, but I just wanted to acknowledge and reflect upon my “own personal Jesus,” as Johnny Cash sang. I can’t imagine that there is a man out there who is a better Christ imitator than my husband*, as he gives himself up daily for his bride (though I know he would disagree).
He has truly taken to heart the command for husbands to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” and in doing so, he has taught me a selflessness that I never even knew was possible (Eph. 5:26). He washes dishes without complaining (most of the time), rubs my back when it aches even though his aches too, puts work on the back burner on days when things are especially difficult with Jude, tolerates my experiments with gluten and dairy-free cooking, and leads by example with cleaning efforts when I have lacked the time or motivation. In loving me in this selfless way, he daily increases my affection and appreciation for him, as well as my desire to serve and honor him in the same selfless way.
But in giving himself up for me, Josh doesn’t only cause me to love him more and more. No, he causes me to love Christ, my Savior, more and more as well, because I know that Josh’s love for me is only a shadow of Christ’s love for me. And what’s more, I know that it is only Josh’s experience of Christ’s love that enables him to love me in that Christ-imitating way.
My husband shows love for me by doing the dishes, but how much more has Christ done for me? My husband would die for me, but Christ did die for me, and he bore all the wrath of God for my sins. I praise my husband now, but how much more will I praise Christ throughout all eternity?
I thank God every day for this Christ-imitator that he has given me, and I pray that it would be his will to allow us to live for many, many more years “in worshipful imitation of the eternal union of Christ and the Church” as a testimony to each other and to the people around us of Christ’s sacrificial love for his Bride, and of the Church’s loving submission to her Lord.
*Note: I’m sure that many women have wonderful Christ-imitating husbands. In saying that mine is the best, I’m not putting down anybody else’s husband, I’m only trying to emphasize how amazing my husband is. It’s kind of like when I was in a play in Elementary school and afterward my mom told me that I was the prettiest one out there, but my best friend heard her and started crying because her mom had said that she was the prettiest one. (Yes, Amy, I’m talking about you!) Of course all mothers think that their children are the prettiest/most handsome ones around, and likewise, I pray that there are many men out there who are thought by their wives to be the best Christ-imitators around.