“But Nourishes and Cherishes It”

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” [Eph 5.28-30].

In this verse Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives on the principle that the two are now one and no one hates his own flesh.  Marriage redeemed is, of course, the shadow of which Christ and the church is the substance.  And Christ is said to nourish and cherish the church as an encouragement to husbands to do the same with respect to their wives.  “Nourish and cherish” her!

Now, I have good intentions towards my wife, to nourish her, but my attempts do often come across as a force feed rather than a considerate nourishment.  And she, God love her, is not afraid to tell me so.  Yesterday, I asked her in fun that age old question, “Do you love me?” to which she responded, “Yes.”  (Whew!)  And then I asked her the next logical question, “Why?”  She responded with several reasons, one of which was that I was God’s man for her, that I have a sanctifying effect upon her — but that that process was often difficult.  Now, sanctification is difficult — gouging out eyes, cutting off hands — this is a bloody mess.  But, I thought, perhaps she does not understand the goal of sanctification, even as I am not always stayed on the fuel for providing nourishment.  Two quick musings on these things —

On her understanding the goal of sanctification [my provision of nourishing food] — it is to nourish her.  It is to join with God’s omnipotent purpose in salvation — that she be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, which is that she be conformed to her highest beauty in the eyes of God.  So ladies, when your husband tries to correct your theology, or explain the Scriptures to you, or encourages you to think more deeply, feel more affectionately, serve more earnestly, etc., don’t be frustrated or of ill-will.  He seeks your health; he despises the sight of your protruding ribs and boney knees [metaphorically speaking].  He wants for you what God wants for you.

Now, ladies, what you need to know more than anything else is the same thing that we, men, must recognize in this clause — true nourishing is indivisible from cherishing.  Ladies, you want the nourishment to be basted in adoration.  Men, we ought to adore our wives — this is the fountain of all proper attempts at nourishment.  So we need to ask, “How do these two go together, nourish and cherish?”

Answer — This is how they go together, “nourishing” and “cherishing”, we attend with all love to the healthiness [nourish] of that which we most prize [cherish].  And Christ does prize His church more than all, save the Godhead, but even these two “cherish-ings” are not at odds but do go together.  For His insatiable love for the Father and His glory did coincide with His insatiable love for us, that is, His passion for the reparation of the Father’s honor [life, death, resurrection, ascension] did go hand in hand with our salvation, or again, His cherishing of God’s glory and our eternal good are indivisible and both indissolubly advanced in Christ alone.  So, then, even as He would without cessation cherish the glory of God, so He without cessation cherishes our good, and, therefore, with an equal passion attends to our nourishment.

So, men, husbands, major in cherishing your wife as a display of your passion for the glory of God.  Then, your attempts at her nourishment will be God-entranced rather than set to the tune of “If much would be made of me, my wife has to be the next Sarah Edwards;” they will be saturated in “Husbands, love your wives,” instead of “she must be like this other guys godly wife;” they will be the springs which flow from the fountain of a personal, practical, particular love and adoration grounded in the self-sacrificial joy of Jesus Christ.  And, as God would have it, it is this cherishing, this love that is fruitful to constrain the hearts of our wives to the very thing that we, with God, aim at in seeking to nourish her — specifically, her love for and conformity to Jesus Christ!

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One Response

  1. […] More from Icerocket blogs: “But Nourishes and Cherishes It” […]

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