Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
I'm a little frustrated with the available teachers for the adult study groups at our church. More specifically, I'm enduring the current teacher for my particular class. He's generally a nice man, don't get me wrong, but that doesn't mean he is a capable teacher. There's a lot of stream of conscious style rambling as opposed to organized thought on a particular topic or passage. I suppose some people are encouraged, challenged, ministered to by that. I don't happen to be one of them though. This week's lesson included an offhanded reference to the above passage followed by remarks to the effect that men need to be willing to die for their wives. The teacher was taking a very literal and narrow view of the verse. Ok, I am glad there was a challenge to the guys this week because this teacher has hit the women over the head with misinterpretations of that whole submissive wife bit (and for the purposes of keeping this post a readable length I'm going to just drop that topic right now).
Back to the reference at hand. While there are circumstances which could lead a man to the ultimate sacrifice (i.e. living in a war zone, genocide, other threats of extreme violence, even stepping off a curb into the path of an oncoming Mack truck. And yes, actually, I have had the awful kind of experience too but thank God it's not an every day occurrence.) that's not the space in which most of us dwell on a daily basis. While the teacher and the class were going all noble and theorizing on how a man should be willing to lay down his life in a rather literal sense I was thinking of the myriad and far more pedestrian ways in which a guy can love his wife in a self-sacrificing manner. Finally, I could no longer hold my tongue and I blurted out, "Let's get real here. I'd be happy for some cheerful help cleaning up the kitchen after a meal." Now, don't go reading into that a slam on husbands in general or Mr. Lime in particular. I'm just of the opinion that the interpretation of such exhortations is more valuable when applied to the situations we encounter constantly because that's where we demonstrate what kind of people we really are and what kind of character we are cultivating.