“Husbands, love your wives, and don’t be bitter against them.”
Love holds all things together, but it must be real and sincere. There is a godless Stoicism that will just doggedly keep on going, grit the teeth and carry on. It is not love or devotion and is hiding the real situation that can never be sorted out. It makes a marriage into a lie.
Husbands are especially targeted here in this verse for especial reminder that they must truly love their wives and not descend into the bonds of duty in marriage. If marriage is to last it must be true. We must make up our minds at the start what we want and we must work to ensure that our relationships stay honest and righteous.
It is too easy to become bitter and to become a hyper-critical spouse and men seem to be more prone to this. The Apostle Paul is reminding the men in the marriage relationship to pay close attention to being sincere and genuine in their love relationships and to truly love their wives as they love themselves.
Women can do many things that men find difficult and it is easy to sideline these skills and ignore the relational aspect of life and focus on the practical. It is too easy to denigrate someone who can do the things you cannot and to put our spouses down and sideline their abilities and gifts. If marriage is to be rich and successful, it must have the full love and devotion of both parties. Without this love, the marriage will eventually die. A person can hide and pretend but it will not last the ravages of life and the pressures put on relationships by the outside world. Love will conquer all and will overcome all obstacles and shine brightly as something everyone can look to and gain strength from. This is also what builds families and helps our children and grandchildren to grow. Fake devotion can never succeed because it is dishonest. True hearts will stay together and win the day with true devotion and faithfulness. Love wins.