The command to Love for the husband is from a leadership position. For the wife it is from a supportive position.
Why aren’t wives specifically instructed to love their husbands in the same way husbands are instructed love their wives? Wives are however instructed to submit to their husbands?
- The Bible is concerned with truth, and what is primary and important. It is concerned with building a solid foundation and structure in a fractured world with wayward humans. So it addresses the positive essentials, the fundamentals, and the negative dangers.
- The truth is, submission to God is a demonstration of love: Jesus said “if you love me obey my commandments.” So, the focus for the wife is on the critical aspect of love necessary for a strong union between her and the man God tied together with her. That critical labor of love is submission. “In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him–to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]. –1 Peter 3:1-2 AMPC. So submission to your husband in love to God is equal to loving your husband.
- Why was Peter led to say “IN LIKE MANNER, YOU WIVES…” Like what? Answer: a. Like he has just described in the previous paragraphs (Read previous chapter): like the Christians submission to the gospel (contrasted with the world’s rejection of it.) b. Like servants subjection to their masters out of submission to God’s providence in their lives. c. Like Christ’s submission to suffering to save his lost sheep.
- The Spirit gives Paul the very same instructions for the married: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” –Ephesians 5:21-26, 28-29 KJV
- The husband’s love, care, protection, nourishment, honor, cherishing, of His his wife, demonstrates submission to and love for God. But, the focus is on care and sacrifice, which is the critical aspect of love necessary for a strong union with the woman God has tied him to. Love in all leadership is demonstrated by CARE, NOURISHMENT, PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. –John 21:15-17 KJV
Notice that love to Jesus must be given to others: his sheep who need care and nourishment. This was to be Peter’s PRIMARY FOCUS from that day forward. His leadership would be a position defined by love and care for those the Lord desires to care for.