“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph 5: 25-27, NIV)
As I grew up, every Monday was wash day. My mother was a perfectionist and a registered nurse. Laundry Day was a discipline until I left for college. Sheets were removed from our beds. My brother, my sister and I placed three stack of sheets on the floor of the laundry room by 7:15am before leaving for school. When we returned home from school, later that same day, cleaned sheets appeared magically atop our beds. Not only did we strip our beds, we remade our beds! I knew more about well-made beds, tight sheets and hospital corners by third grade than many adults. Could it be that I chose today’s verse because it was “wash day” at home? After 60+ years, my Monday habits remain unchanged!
In today’s devotional verse, Paul devotes twice as many words to instructing husbandly treatment of wives (~103 words) as he spends instructing wives obedience to their husbands (~55 words). Christ’s goal was to build-up and present the Church to himself holy and spotless without stain, wrinkle or blemish. Christ practiced agape love. I should, too. Christ dedicates himself to making his bride holy and radiant. Not surprisingly, scripture refers to the church as his “bride” – no matter how many times her obedience falls short. She is never television’s “Housewife of Heaven”. She is always his bride. Here is the role model for manly leadership.
My mom had two careers. She was a homemaker and a nurse. Despite the drudgery of two jobs and one paycheck, my dad’s role was to make her feel radiant and special. Sometimes his self-sacrificing love would show-up as a restaurant dinner out, flowers, child-free shopping or a new outfit. He aimed at making her feel special and appreciated; without stain or wrinkle. Vacation compromises consisted of camping trips with one hotel/spa day at the end. He reminded us, kids, that camping was a vacation for everyone except mom. She had to do more with less … no stove, no dishwasher, no running water, no indoor toilet and no bed! Cleaning trout and combatting carnivorous mosquitos were a poor reward for her tireless service! Certainly, we owed her one final day of indulgence at a full-service hotel with room service!
Occasionally, dad would try his hand at laundry. Whether he failed deliberately or not is debatable. Without a doubt, he was inept at it! I don’t think that he tie-dyed mom’s shorts deliberately. Certainly, he learned that his colored dress shirts didn’t belong in hot water with bed sheets. What did I learn?
- Always take the spare change out of your trousers before laundry. Whoever does the wash keeps the “tips”. Clean pocket change is never returned.
- A good wife with a great attitude is hard to find, nurture and grow.
Cherish my wife. Being an encouraging husband is manly. Save the “I told you so” for employees who get paid! Bridling my tongue and controlling my temper goes a long way to making “my bride” feel adored and appreciated. Having a wife who feels radiant, spotless and without blemish pays dividends beyond my small sacrifice.