A few weeks ago my “spiritual” mom shared a conversation that she had with a few of her other female friends. She described the kind of husband she was looking for. She used an abundance of adjectives to describe the kind of husband that would make her happy. One of her friends responded: “child-that man died on the cross!”
Of course that got a good laugh from the women in the crowd including myself (I was allowed to be there because I am the Pastor). The point of my mother’s friend is well taken. The traits and qualities that she desires in a husband will be difficult to find in even the above-average man, but are all encapsulated in Jesus. The underlying message in the response of the friend however is that, she (my spiritual mom), may be expecting too much. Is she?
The answer is no in my opinion. Now, let me say right up front, that as a husband I strain at attempting to meet the criteria outlined. However, there in lies the challenge and standard. As a husband, the model is Christ, especially the crucified Christ.
Paul in Ephesians instructed us husbands to love our wives “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” The love that Christ has for the church was acted out and demonstrated in the giving of the ultimate sacrifice: His life. At the end of the day, the goal for me as a husband is a love for my wife that is demonstrated through sacrificial living, giving, and interaction with her. My model is my savior. I think it looks like the following:
Humility: Philippians Chapter 2 is one of the most important passages in the NT. From verses 5-8, Paul basically makes the following point: Jesus humbled himself by not holding on to the trappings of His divine station. He emptied himself. He gave it up. His humility was worked out in His earthly ministry through the giving up of divine rights for the sake of serving those He came to save. As a husband, my humility is lived out in service to my wife. This means that I may have to surrender some “rights” and “privileges” for the sake of serving my wife into the fullness of who she is called to be in Christ Jesus. I must obey God’s instructions for me as a husband even when I do not feel like obeying. I will have to obey to the point of dying to self. There’s that “man on the cross” concept again.
Other Focused: I am called to focus less on myself and more on the one I am here to serve. For that same man who was on His way to the cross told his disciples, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” I find it interesting that the concept of a wife “serving her husband” has taken on an almost stigmatizing element to the point that it is a given that this is all that she does. Yet, if I am to be like that “man on the cross” then I have not just come to serve my wife but to the live in a manner where I do not expect service from her as a right, but as a grace. In other words, her serving me is to be received with gratitude. I can only accomplish this when I am less focused on myself and more focused on how God desires to love my wife through me.
Compassion: Jesus was one who was always moved to compassion when He encountered someone in pain. In The Gospel of Luke He tells the story of the “Good Samaritan.” The “good Samaritan” was “moved with compassion” when he saw the injured man in the highway. The text says that this compassion led him to “bandage up his wound…brought him to an inn and took care of him” and paid the innkeeper for his stay. When my wife is hurting then I am to compassionately enter in to her pain to tend to her wounds. Some of these wounds may have even been caused by me, but some may be wounds from the past that has nothing to do with me. Yet, I am still called to apply healing “oil and wine” to her. This can be difficult for men (me) at times because we are fixers. Tending and fixing are two different things. Only God can heal my wife’s hurt and pain [as with the injured man in the story], however, I am placed here on the road that my wife travels to facilitate and be a catalyst to her healing from a place of tenderness and compassion. It may cost me something. But she is worth it.
At the end of the day, my prayer is that I can be like that “man on the cross.” I will never be perfect until I transition to my eternal rest. Nevertheless, my family should be able to experience a man in me that is committed to taking up his cross, and living out the crucifixion of Christ in his daily life.
 Ephesians 5:25
 Matt. 20:28
 Luke 10:30-37