God is so infinite in His wisdom, and I’m so thankful that He saw fit to share it with us in His Word. But, over the years, I’ve learned so many things are just assumed when we read it without studying. It also causes misunderstandings when we overlook significant bits of scripture. We know that the bible says that we teachers will be held to a higher standard because of what we teach to others, so we must be sure of what we are teaching.
“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,” Titus 2:4
Recently, I discovered a pearl of wisdom in Titus 2:4. I had always simply read it like this: “to love their husbands” – period, – right?
The original word used is actually a single word, philandros. It means:
Love… husbands (only used here)(5362) (philandros) is an adjective that more literally describes a woman who is “fond of man” and is derived from philos, meaning a friend or companion or loving as a friend and, aner, meaning a husband. This woman is fond of, attached to, and shows affection toward her mate.
It means to love in the sense of “to be friends with.” It means, “friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well.” When expounded upon in the Greek lexicon, we can find that the meaning of this “love” is different from the “love” of John 13:34, agapao, which means:
To love (25) (agapao - see the related study of noun agape) means to love unconditionally and sacrificially as God Himself loves sinful men (John 3:16), the way He loves the Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:23, 24).
Note that agapao is a verb and, by its verbal nature, calls for action. This quality of love is not an emotion but is an action initiated by an intentional choice. Philandros, on the other hand, is an adjective that describes this love in action. I don’t know about you, but that gives me a whole new perspective of that verse.
I will just be honest here. There have been times when I was not a friend to my husband, but I never stopped loving him. According to my old interpretation of that verse, I would have believed that was okay. However, I realized while studying this verse that we are to befriend our husbands and that we can also teach others how to befriend theirs. I had to meditate on that for a while.
What needs to change first is our perception of friendship and the love it demands. How can we do this? First, let’s look at what the bible says about this friendship:
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17
"His mouth is altogether sweet; he is lovely in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend." Song of Solomon 5:16
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
According to these three verses that describe friendship, we can see some characteristics emerging.
God wants us to love our husband in a way that sharpens his countenance.
We are to reflect Christ. When we engage in conversation with our husband and challenge him to conduct a more in-depth study of the word, then it inevitably changes his countenance. The word deposited into our spirit does not return void but accomplishes what it is sent forth to do (Isaiah 55:11).
A loving wife will challenge her husband without insulting his intellect or character. Ask biblical questions of your spouse. Next time you have a difference of opinion, challenge him to study more about it, and meet back with you at a predetermined time to discuss it together. Initiate biblical conversations that will get him thinking. Men are problem solvers by nature. If they have a question that requires an answer, you can be sure they will try to find it.
There is a great intimacy in friendship though the levels and types depend on the friend. Our husband should receive all intimacy levels (spiritual, physical, emotional) while other friends may only receive emotional intimacy.
In this verse, Song of Solomon 5:16, we see that she uses the terms “lover” and “friend” in the same sentence telling us that he is, in fact, both of these things to her. We need to see our husbands in such an intimate way that we give ourselves entirely to him. This means we don’t just offer physical selves in intimacy, but also our emotions and spirituality.
We must let go of past failures and disagreements, then learn to trust him again. Forget about the mortgage for a night and enjoy the presence of intimate bliss with your warrior. Would you like to really experience some spiritual intimacy? Pray together, even before getting into bed, and try reading Song of Solomon to each other. You’ll find you can barely make it through some chapters!
You will have to die to your selfish ambitions to establish true friendship in your marriage.
When our marriage hit the ten-year mark, Jim and I attended a marriage conference. One of the suggestions was that we date every week. We had a ton of excuses—money, time, babysitters, jobs. But we made time together—alone—a priority.
Other ways we can die to self would be to spend time with him doing something he enjoys even if you don’t like it. The ability to think past your own desires and to make the time to engage in someone else’s interest speaks volumes to their heart. Nothing says “you’re important” like giving of your time. And if you pray and ask God to give you a genuine desire for those activities then they can be all the more fun!
Do for him what you would do for any other good friend.
Being a good confidant goes beyond asking him to open up to you. You must show that you can be trusted with the deep things of his soul. Do you poke fun of him in front of others? Do you tell your girlfriends all about his shortcomings? Do you speak negatively to him about the way he feels? If so, then you may find it hard for him to continue to reveal his heart to you. You must repent and ask forgiveness, from him and God, then start anew.
Lastly, doing special things for him can be something as simple as buying him his favorite soda while you are at the store or leaving a note in his Bible, to something more extravagant like arranging a date at his favorite place or planning a get-together for him and his friends during the big game. Try doing one thing a day and see what happens!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of my husband and our marriage. At times, it feels like we’re just going through the mundane routine of life and that we’ve lost touch with each other. Please help us rekindle our friendship with one another. Amen.
What are some ways you die to self in your marriage? Do you have any ideas as to how we can develop a deeper physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy with our husbands?
Purpose in your heart to pursue God’s plan for your marriage.