When You Love Your Wife You Love Yourself


I’ll never forget those eyes, dancing above the rim of her glass the moment I walked into the room, the first dance of many . . . wild and wonderful.

Four days later (An eternity, she said!) we kissed and purposed to spend our lives as one.

As I lay across the bed from my beautiful, lovely Bride during our Hawaiian honeymoon (a typically generous gift from my brother and sister-in-law) those dancing eyes held my gaze, their radiance intensifying a vague sense of loss.

Time. Suddenly all those years without her seemed lost.

Drinking in the moment’s wonder, my fingers fell lightly, high upon her cheek, tracing to her lips the soft outline of her face.

“Why didn’t I meet you ten years ago? Where were you? Look how much time we’ve missed being together.”

But life is like that, isn’t it? One day we wake up in an oasis wondering why we wandered around in the desert for so long.

I purposed right then and there, 21 years ago, laying on the bed in our room on the 5th floor of the Lahaina Shores Hotel, I would cherish this woman, my bride, this breath-taking gift from God, every day of my life.

How great it would be to report that I have loved Lisa perfectly. I cannot (here’s proof!). I’ve caused her tears, been unloving, insensitive, and downright sinful at times. But, I can report to you that Lisa has been and is a cherished woman. I’ll be transparent . . . she makes it easy for me.

I reach out from the inside to let her know how much she matters to me. She knows this – that it’s serious business with me. Lisa is my priority because Jesus Christ made her my priority – and He expects to be obeyed. He wants me to love her as He loves His Bride.

Jesus is the example for every Christian man to know how to truly cherish his wife.

Wait a minute, Jesus isn’t married!

But He is (or soon will be). His Bride is the Church. And Christian men are instructed to love their wife as Jesus loves His – Ephesians 5:25

If you are a cherished woman, it’s likely no one would ask you. The lightness of your step and the radiance of your countenance are a dead give-away.

For those who are not, it’s especially tough. Not only is the wrongdoing against you ever present, when you’re in the valley of neglect it’s difficult to believe that God has just as much to do in you as in your spouse.

An 80 yr. old friend once told me, God has far more to do in you than through you. How true this is for every husband and wife. We forget that the refining work of our Lord doesn’t happen in the full light of the sun on breezy days but in the hot crucible of the Refiner’s Furnace – in the dark valleys of our journey. But, the intended refining only happens where the metal will yield to the severe, purifying heat. And, that’s tough for any wife who isn’t cherished.

I have a question for the husbands: Is your wife a cherished woman? If you don’t know, find a quiet moment to ask her, “Do you feel cherished by me?” and “How can I cherish you in a way that you truly feel it?”

You see, being the husband of a cherished woman just isn’t optional for a Christian man. This is the call of God on your life – to preach the Gospel with the power of your love for your wife – an expression to the world of how Jesus Christ loves His Bride, the Church. If Lisa isn’t cherished, I’m walking in sin and I must change. The same is true of every married Christian man.

The Scriptures say, when you love your wife you are actually loving yourself . . . because according to God, the two of you are one single entity. And a truly cherished wife takes great pleasure in returning that love with interest.

When a wife is cherished by her husband God smiles His approval, she reflects back her joy, and both spouses receive the benefits – the favor of God and the pleasure of a highly fulfilling marriage.


You might also enjoy 102 Words of Affirmation Every Wife Wants to Hear and 103 Words of Affirmation Every Husband Wants to Hear.

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    • Matthew L. Jacobson

      The instructions in the Bible are not written to perfect people but to sinners saved by grace. Trust me, brother, I’m far from perfect as the article and the internal links show. That’s why Galatians 2:20 is important to understand – “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.” Cherishing our wives and loving them as Christ loved the Church is a work of the life of Christ in us. We don’t need a perfect world with perfect people but, a perfect Savior.

  • Denise Gabbard

    It really IS the simplest of things that mean the difference between a life filled with love and light and one of despair. I am blessed to have an amazing husband that shows his love daily– and I strive to reflect that as well 🙂

  • Kathrine

    Terrific post and great response with Galations 2:20. This world needs more Godly men to share God’s truth about how all of us should walk. It is important to share the failures and the triumphs so others know that they aren’t alone in their walk and that Christ is the only perfect man. It isn’t easy. We can only do it with His strength. As Phillipians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  • Sarah

    Thank you for recognizing the deep pain of godly, Christian women who *aren’t* cherished by their husbands, of which I am one. This is the first writing on marriage in many years that I feel has genuinely recognized and acknowledged how very difficult it is to focus on the personal, inward work of the Holy Spirit when your partner is an incredibly destructive force in the marriage.

  • Marilyn

    So agree with Sarah. Having lived for 40+ yrs as an uncherished wife, I STILL wrestle with God’s love for me and what He wants to do in me. It is one of those secrets that I harbor even in our small group. My husband has been a pastor and has a huge jail ministry. His time spent with men has ALWAYS been his priority. He regularly leads guys to the Lord but I have a really hard time celebrating that because I feel a little dead inside. I rejoice that my daughters have husbands that cherish them. Those women who know they are cherished DO shine and are so much more able to weather the storms. I see it in my friends and sisters.

  • Jennie

    I thought I was a cherished woman, but have found that the attention I was receiving was only a result of my husband of 34 years attempt to cover up and make him feel better about his drug dependency. I have forgiven and tried to forget, but this is the third time that we have been through the ordeal of his attempting to quit and stay clean and the resultant promises not to hurt me in that way again. I could deal with the drug dependency alone, but the thousands of lies told to cover it up hurt so deeply.

  • Sorry no name

    I love my wife more than anything in the world! But how do you handle it when you don’t feel as if they love you in the same way with the same passion? When mad she tells you that, she says very hurtful things that no man or women should have to hear! Isn’t the woman supposed to love, honor and cherish thy husband….and if they don’t then what? How do you a Christian man or not how do you handle this day after day week after week year after year? They love you when it’s convenient, cherish and care only when they feel that you are finally deserving of there love and affection. Iwill be the last pperson to say I’m even close to perfect or say I treat my wife exactly as I should all of the time. But even during all the bad times I’ve told her I love her never strayed never moved as she insisted I fought to keep her whether I was wrong or she was. Should I not expect or deserve the same love and compassion, someone who loves me as I do them and shows as much and often as I do?

  • Laura

    thank you so much for your article. As an UNcherished wife, your words hit me hard. Most people see my husband as this fun-loving, easy-going guy. He’s not — at least not to me. Throughout our 20-some years together, he has had numerous fits of rage when he has said the most horrid, hateful things I have ever heard — ever. Then, I’m supposed to just “forget” he what he said/did and act as if everything’s okay. And if I don’t, then according to him I’m an unforgiving b-itch… I can’t forget the things he has said and done because now whenever I look at him I see this horrible angry monster–not a kind, loving husband. Deep down I think he is a very angry and possibly depressed. I know he really doesn’t love himself otherwise he wouldn’t treat me so horribly. I’m sorry he’s so unhappy. But it’s not my fault. I just don’t know what to do. He won’t seek counseling — couples or otherwise. My prayers to all — especially to those uncherished wives. Your article helped me validate my feelings. I am just “tolerated” — certainly not “celebrated.” My prayers to all. Thank you.

  • Cindy

    Reading this makes me so sad because I was an uncherished wife for over 24 years. My husband never really loved me and I spent all of those years trying to be “low maintenance” and not appear to be “needy”. That hurts. Alot. Now he’s abandoned me. Five months ago, he waited until I went out and he sneaked off, leaving me a typed note. He’s been sitting in church for all of those years. That’s a sad commentary.

  • Lesa

    I would say there were times in my marriage I did not feel like I was a cherished wife. Now though, we are working on our marriage, and my husband has been treating me as Jesus treats His church. I have no reason to believe my husband won’t continue this trend. We are both in counseling with a Christian counselor together and are getting counseling separately. We read the Bible daily, spend time together doing things such as reading the Psalms and discussing them, and talking together about our lives. This has brought us closer, and when we have difficulties, we discuss them in a manner which is calm (most of the time 😉 ) and we have learned to use “I statements” instead of blaming each other. “I get upset when I feel you’re not listening to me.” instead of, “why do you ignore me all the time!”
    In His Name,

  • Amber Hurd

    My suggestion to all these women complaining about being “UN-cherished”, I think they should read Hosea and see how much he loved Gomer no matter how many times she was unfaithful to him. He had unconditional love for her though he longed for her to stay faithful. Yahweh wanted Hosea to marry Gomer to represent how he felt about the northern kingdom of Israel that constantly committed adultery against him by going after other gods. He still loved them and longed for them to stay faithful. He wanted to show that through Hosea and Gomer. Then later we have our messiah Yahshua who showed us how to live and said to love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. Would that not include your husband? From the comments it looks like you view them as your enemies and even you deny they are your enemies are they not your neighbor? Are you not supposed to love your neighbor as yourself? Our marriages are not really about ourselves but about Yahshua and are to show how he loves his bride. Show others how you love your spouse regardless what they do or dont do.

  • Jennie

    Amber, I think you are coming down rather hard on those of us who have identified ourselves as being uncherished. At the time I wrote my post I had just found out about the deception I had been subjected too. One of the factors we are now facing are thousands of dollars of credit card debt which went to pay for abuse of prescription drugs. I have had to go back to work to pay the interest alone. However, I still love my husband and will stick with him through whatever may come. I may not always want to, but God requires this of me and I will do it. It still doesn’t stop me, and I’m sure some of the others, from hoping and praying that we will one day become cherished by our husbands.

  • No name please

    The sad thing is far more women than men will read this. The Bible talks a lot about the one who will not receive a correction. Men who do not cherish their wives will also not read books or articles about caring for them. I know.

  • Uncherished

    I’d like to know what an uncherished wife of 19 years is to do. Should she accept her loss and stop longing to be cherished? Deaden her needs? How does she passionately and honestly give her body to her husband without feeling used? I’ve tried telling my husband my needs for affirmation – countless times. I’ve been very specific, “My love tank is empty and I need some affirmation, please. I need to hear words daily that say I matter to you.” He just tells me that affirmation is the hardest thing for him to give, so he doesn’t give it. He is also critical and tends to speak to me with unkind or flippant tones, especially when I haven’t measured up to his expectations. Then I struggle with bitterness because my heart is so broken, which renders me unattractive to him. When I’ve tried focusing on my part of respecting him, etc., then he just figures everything’s great and he still doesn’t cherish me. I need my marriage to be a refuge to help me handle the stress of parenting and homeschooling, but it’s mostly been prison of stress I have to manage on top of everything else. We’ve been to a number of counselors, but it hasn’t helped. I feel so trapped, and I desperately wish I would have made a different marriage choice. The only hope I have is to hopefully guide my daughters to marry more wisely.

    • Kenneth Hutchings

      Ephesians 5:22-28 New International Version (NIV) 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
      Luke 10:27 New International Version (NIV)
      27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
      Mark 10:18 New International Version (NIV) 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

      Are you and/or your husband believer(s) in the Lord Jesus Christ? If not then you should look to God for your affecction. He alone is perfect and a perfect Father. He is also the Bridegroom for the church and He can provide the daily affirmation that you desire. Pray for your husband day and night for their is no stronger attack on your husband that you can do other than to pray day and night for his affection and love. My guess is that he did not receive much love in his childhood or much communication from his parents. In this case much prayer is needed for him to overcome which he will do in the Name of Jesus. Do you believe? God is our creater and our Father through the death and resurrection Of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray, Pray, Pray and Pray some more no matter how long it takes.

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