Fleshly, worldly love is always seeking to get, not to give. A person may feel a desire to love based on physical appearance, intelligence, talents or wealth. But these feelings are very temporary; they do not last. And when the feelings or attraction go away, one thinks that they are “no longer in love” and may end the marriage. Or if a husband has strong feelings for a woman other than his wife, he may think he is “in love” with her and may even want to leave his wife. This is NOT the kind of “love” God commands for marriage.

The love a Christian husband has for his wife might involve some initial attraction. That is normal and right. But that is not love; that is simply attraction. The husband who loves a wife for her appearance or for what she can give him is loving with a worldly, fleshly love. 

Agape love (selfless and committed) looks to give. A godly husband puts his own desires, preferences, likes and dislikes behind the needs of his wife. He must be willing to live sacrificially in order to serve and bless his wife, and truly love her.

In Ephesians 5:28, 29, husbands are told to love their wives as their own bodies. A man cares for, protects, feeds and shelters his body. A wife is “one flesh” with her husband (vs.30-33) and should be treated with the same concern, care and respect as a husband would give his own body.


When a man chooses to marry, he is making a covenant commitment to his wife before God. This is a “heavenly contract” that is not to be broken. A man is committing to love and care for his wife, just as Christ does the Church. This is a serious responsibility that should not be entered into lightly.

This covenant is not based on feelings. It is normal to have romantic feelings or attraction to a spouse. But these feelings may come and go throughout a lifetime of marriage. What is permanent and unchanging is the deep and genuine commitment to our spouse – no matter what may happen in life.

This covenant commitment is the basis of real, lasting love. God does not love us on the basis of His feelings or how well we are performing – No! Christ has committed His love to the Church no matter what happens. Husbands are commanded to love their wives in that same way (Eph 5:25, 28, 33; Col 3:19).


Wives, like husbands, are imperfect and may not always be easy to love. A husband may be tempted to become frustrated, angry or impatient with his wife. He may not have feelings of love for his wife, or may not desire to love her. He may feel that loving his wife as Christ loves the Church is an impossible task!