"Husbands, love your wives ..." :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

"Husbands, love your wives ..."

Bud Talbert
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The Christian man’s obligation to his wife is defined in Ephesians 5:25 in the command to love her. This is more than just being affectionate, though it certainly includes that virtue. This expression describes a committed affection, one in this case not shared with any other human being. First Peter 3:7 describes that committed affection in these words: “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman …” Co-habit with them according to knowledge means that a husband lives with his wife day to day in a way that reflects a growing knowledge of her. Peter also commands us by the Spirit to honor our wives, regarding them with particular and exclusive appreciation for their God-given place in our lives.

While I have sought to follow this admonition in our four-decade marriage, recent events brought a deeper understanding of my obligation. Less than nine months ago my wife was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Surgery was prescribed, but it failed to eliminate the cancer. Perhaps we have all heard of chemotherapy. This too was prescribed, but four different applications of chemotherapy also failed.

Throughout these treatments I longed to “love” my wife. I wanted to show that I was lovingly committed to her. After 43 years I was able to live with her in an understanding way, and I sought to honor her as the dedicated wife, mother, and most of all the dedicated servant of the Lord she is. We were informed seven months into this journey that medical knowledge and treatment could now offer her only palliative (i.e., comforting) care in the expected eventuality of her departure to glory. When our church learned that this was what we were facing, they demonstrated their love by granting me a compassionate leave of absence for two months.

How did I use this time? Basically, I waited on my wife hand and foot. It helped immensely that we have loving children who were also committed to caring for her. I cleaned the house, prepared food for her, read Scripture to her, and prayed with her. I dedicated the time the church gave me to meeting all the needs she had. I was and still am the “gopher” and doer of all she needed.

In the process of demonstrating my love for my wife this way day after day and week after week, I began to ask myself, “Why didn’t I demonstrate my love for her by serving her in this way right after we were married? Why had I not been more thoughtful of her needs before she was diagnosed with cancer? Why had I not been careful to wait on her even a little bit daily over these 43 years?” Doing it now made me aware how of relatively little I had done in the past.

So, please allow me to admonish you, my fellow husbands: love your wife by giving your time and attention to her now, even in the small things of life, in her present state of health, before having to do it in anticipation of her departure. This is the way Jesus Christ loves us. No need is too small; no concern is too insignificant for us to do what we can—while we can--to love our wives.


Note: Our dear sister in Christ, Debbie Talbert, passed into the presence of her Savior just after midnight on January 15, 2023. She was with family and passed at home as she had originally wanted. Her memorial service was held at Meadowlands Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, January 21.