“Man up” to me means taking responsibility for my actions, words and attitude. But at times I want to run from my responsibility in my most important relationship, that is, with my wife. Recently, I had to admit to myself that I was “pushing my wife away” emotionally.  I did not want to “man up.” I realize that part of  becoming one flesh with my wife, means I carry the awareness of her  in the deepest part of my inner life.  Scripture exhorts husbands, “to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph 6:28).   Since I am an “embodied soul” my wife’s presence resides within me.   But there are times when I want to push her out of that inner space.  Can any men relate to this “pushing away.”  So what did I do?

Well, if I am to love my wife as my own body, I have to admit, embrace and deal with what is going on emotionally regarding my wife. It was harmful. I am reminded, “”No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it” (Eph. 5:29 – Message). My wife is a wonderful helpmate. But there are times I just want to push her away.  I know it is wrong, but I still do it.  Why?  Obviously it is because I am reacting to her. So I had to “man up” and tell my wife what was going on in my heart, in that  inner space where she abides, since we are “one flesh.” Jesus tells me, “they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matt 19:6).  No being honest, while pushing her away puts real strain on that “oneness.”

My pushing her away, confuses my wife.  She wonders what she has done wrong.  “Why is he seem so distant and out of reach.” she wonders .  My withdrawal cause her to act in kind.  Soon there is an emotional gap between us.  A wife can become insecure, causing her to respond inappropriately. The gap grows, becoming deeper and wider, if it is not repaired.  This is when I have to “man up.”  I need to reach out across the gap, by humbling myself and telling my wife what going on in my soul.

I am to love my wife the way Jesus loved the church, Listen to how the Message puts it (Eph 5:25-28). “Husbands, go all out in your love for our wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.  Christ’s love makes the church whole.  His words evoke her beauty.  Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk radiant with holiness.  And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.  They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already ‘one’ in marriage.”  Wow!  These words are convicting to me.  Words like “go all out” and “giving.”  My words should invoke the beauty I see in my wife.  This includes more than physical beauty.  All I do and say should be done with the intent of bringing the best out of my wife.  My love is meant to promote wholeness and holiness in “my bride.”

This is a tall order that husbands can never fullfill.  It is meant to keep us humble and totally dependent on the Lord. Remember  we do ourselves a favor in loving our wives since we are “one” in marriage.  We are told, “Husbands provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing” (Eph 5:27 – Message).  I am learning to “cherish” my wife, by caring for her.