www.BibleMountain.com

Why is it important for husbands to love their wives?

The Bible clearly commands husbands to love their wives. These commands are not conditional; each husband needs to love his wive whether his wife deserves to be loved or not.

Eph. 5:25 ¶ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph. 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

Eph. 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Col. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

Genesis illustrates why husbands should love their wives. Genesis 28-29 tells us that Jacob traveled to Haran to find a wife. He stayed with Laban and fell in love with one of Laban’s daughters; however, Laban deceived him into marrying both of his daughters. Unfortunately, Jacob only loved one of his wives and the plight of the unloved wife illustrates what can happen when husbands don’t love their wives.

Notice the word “love” in the following verses. Notice also the deception that took place.

Gen. 29:18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

Gen. 29:19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.”

Gen. 29:20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

Gen. 29:21 ¶ Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her.”

Gen. 29:22 Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast.

Gen. 29:23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her.

Gen. 29:24 Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.

Gen. 29:25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?”

Gen. 29:26 But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.

Gen. 29:27 “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.”

Gen. 29:28 Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.

Gen. 29:29 Laban also gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.

Gen. 29:30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.

Jacob clearly loved Rachel and clearly wanted Rachel as his wife. The fact that Jacob ended up being married to Leah was Laban’s fault; Laban deceived Jacob into marrying Leah.

In the following verses, notice the contrast between Jacob’s love for Rachel and his lack of love for Leah. Notice that Yahweh Himself saw that Leah was unloved.

Gen. 29:30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.

Gen. 29:31 ¶ Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

The word “unloved” almost sounds as if Jacob was ambivalent towards Leah; however, in Genesis 37 the author of Genesis used the same Hebrew word to draw a contrast between loved and not loved. This time the translators used the word “hate”.

Gen. 37:4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.

It’s possible that Jacob was not merely ambivalent toward Leah, he may have resented Leah or perhaps outright hated her. Jacob had never wanted Leah, she was forced on him, so it’s easy to believe that he would have had ill will toward her.

In the following verses, notice Leah’s desire to be loved.

Gen. 29:32 Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”

Gen. 29:33 Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.

Gen. 29:34 She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi.

Gen. 29:35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

Leah was clearly yearning to be loved and valued.

Now notice the jealousy between Leah and Rachel.

Gen. 30:1 ¶ Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.”

Gen. 30:2 Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

Gen. 30:3 She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children.”

Gen. 30:4 So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.

Gen. 30:5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.

Gen. 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan.

Gen. 30:7 Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.

Gen. 30:8 So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.

Order of birth of Jacob's sons.Gen. 30:9 ¶ When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.

Gen. 30:10 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son.

Gen. 30:11 Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad.

Gen. 30:12 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.

Gen. 30:13 Then Leah said, “Happy am I! For women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.

Gen. 30:14 ¶ Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

Gen. 30:15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

Leah accused Rachel of taking her husband, but none of this mess was Rachel’s fault. Jacob had wanted only Rachel as his wife, and the fact that Jacob married Leah in addition to Rachel and the fact that Jacob loved Rachel and not Leah was not Rachel’s fault.

In the following verses, notice Leah’s desire to have Jacob dwell with her.

Gen. 30:16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.

Gen. 30:17 God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.

Gen. 30:18 Then Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.

Gen. 30:19 Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob.

Gen. 30:20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.

Gen. 30:21 Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah.

Gen. 30:22 ¶ Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.

Gen. 30:23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”

Gen. 30:24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May the LORD give me another son.”

As we read these verses, it is easy to forget how many years went by. Leah bore 7 children; plus, there was a gap between the 4th and 5th child. This means that these events in Genesis 29-30 spanned at least 10 years. Throughout this 10 year period, Leah knew that she wasn’t loved and deep down this was a constant source of sadness and despair to her.

Just as Leah spent many years in despair because she knew her husband didn’t love her, so too in our culture, if a husband doesn’t love his wife, the wife may spend many years in sadness and despair if her deep desire to be loved is not fulfilled. Loving our wives is not always easy and some wives are very unlovable. Furthermore, some wives have a distorted understanding of what love is; however, the Biblical commands are clear: husbands must love their wives.

Eph. 5:25 ¶ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph. 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

Eph. 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Col. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

 

Further Reading

Are you a Proverbs 31 wife or a Genesis 27 wife?

How should we guide our children when they are choosing a spouse?

Wives, are you doing what is right?

 

Do you know anyone who would be interested in reading this post?

If yes, please tell them about www.BibleMountain.com or use one of the links below to share this post via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”