Teaching Christian Women to Love
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:3,4).
With the older Christian ladies in the Church in Crete on his heart, Paul tells Titus to instruct them to display holiness, and not be false accusers. The older women were also to be careful of their wine consumption, and to be teachers of good things. Specifically, it would be good for the older women to teach the younger women how to love their husbands, and how to love their children. In a society where many marriages were arranged, and children were selectively valued, Christin teaching was needed.
The commandment of Paul to Titus, to have the older women teach the younger women about love, is good counsel for today. I do not know of any local Christian congregation that deliberately sets out to obey this apostolic instruction, but a Biblical Church could certainly have this for an agenda. A Biblical Church could have a group of older women meet with the young women in the congregation to teach them how to love.
In our romantic minded society, people believe they marry for love, and then have the right to separate and divorce when they stop loving one another. That is a worldly view of marriage, and puts individuals on the defense when challenged. Nevertheless, in order to stabilize society, in order to live out the ethics of the will of God, in order to honor the Creator who has established the institution of marriage and the home, it is always good when women do love their husbands, and their children.
It is not hard to imagine what the older women in Crete might have taught the younger women, because the principles of a good marriage are of lasting value. Consider some ways a Christian wife can cherish her husband.
Be a companion. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). While not every activity has to be engaged in together, there are some moments that can be shared just by being present. More often than not, individuals tend to “do their own thing” without sharing with one another.
Be respectful. “Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverences her husband” (Eph. 5:33). The word for “reverence” is phobeo which means, “to frighten, i.e. (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy, to be in awe of. Men love Ephesians 5:33, but women, not so much.
One immediate thought that comes, when the relationship is not good, is that a man should earn respect and not simply expect, or demand it.
That is a legitimate response, to a limited degree, because, there is more to the Biblical mandate. Biblically, for a woman to reverence, or respect her husband, is to recognize an ordered structure as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 explains. “Wives, submitting yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” This does not mean a woman must tolerate abusive or unkind treatment from her husband. It does mean that there is a fundamental recognition of an order structure that, when respected and honored, is done as unto the Lord.
In all of this, the responsibility of the husband to the wife is not neglected. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25). Very few men live up to that divine mandate, but those who do find a natural response of appreciation and respect.
The practical question is, “Who will go first?” “Will the wife show proper respect to her husband as unto the Lord?” “Will the husband love his wife in the same sacrificial manner as Christ loves the Church?”
Be helpful. One way a wife can show love to her husband is by giving him good counsel. Not, nagging counsel. Not, “a piece of her mind.” Rather, give good counsel as Abigail gave (1 Sam. 25:3), and the wife of Pontius Pilate gave (Matt. 27:19).
Be devoted. A Christian wife is committed to her husband in words, and deeds. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17). While this commit was made by Ruth to her mother-in-law, the principle is applicable to every important relationship.
Be respectful of yourself. By being a Christian wife with new thoughts and attitudes from the world, you show respect for yourself. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Be Spirit filled. By being filled with the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit can be manifested. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22, 23).
Because women today can be selective in choosing a husband, the exhortation comes to the younger women to look for a man you want to be a companion to, a man you can respectfully submit to as unto the Lord, a man you want to help, give good counsel to, and be devoted to all the days of your life.
Then, after the marriage, keep the faith.