Jesus never told us to like our enemies, because that is impossible. No one will like being mistreated, but if our enemies are in need of help, humanity demands that we help them. The man who happens upon his enemy half dead in the street owes it to the man to help him. He doesn’t have to like him; he needs to love him.
When we are dating, we put our best foot forward and behave the best we can to please the other person. The result of this interaction is that we like being around each other. We enjoy each other’s company, and when we are apart, we long to get back together. During this time, we like to hear each other’s ideas and thoughts. We like learning about each other; we like giving and sharing with each other. She can do very little wrong in our eyes; we just like her so much. We use the word love, but it is more accurately “like.” In fact, we like each other so much that we decide that we want to spend the rest of our lives together.
So we get married, and for whatever reason, our best behavior reverts to normal behavior. Our words cease to be as nice and sweet as they once were, and we hurt each other. The words, ideas, and feelings we once liked become sources of pain and discomfort. Her ideas and thoughts are now nagging and noise that you wish would stop. Of course, we begin to blame each other for the problem and convince ourselves that we are “falling out of love.”
We probably never understood love as Christ lived it and commanded it. What is more likely true is that we have been “falling out of like.” Maybe now would be a good time to learn the love of God as exemplified by Christ on the cross: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). When we do we can live like Christ did toward his enemies (Rom. 5:6–8).
Scripture tells husbands to love their wives, even if those wives do not follow them or are disagreeable or even if they have “reasons” for not following and feel they are justified because of a husband’s failings. God still loved us. Jesus still loved us while we were at our worst, and Christ died for us. No man following God is free to cast aside God’s Word because he is hurt.
Chances are really good that what you are experiencing is that you don’t like your wife. But ask yourself this: why did you like her in the first place? Like is reciprocal; while dating, we both invest in the like bank. In marriage, life happens, and several things have happened: we’ve changed, we hurt each other, and we disagree with each other.
We have yelled at, manipulated, and lied to each other. We have failed to be what each of us thought he or she was getting. We have aged, and we have told each other in word and deed that we are no longer worth the effort. Not amazingly, we don’t like this kind of relationship, and it bears no resemblance to when we were dating. Begin a reinvestment plan in your wife.
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