A husband, when exercising proper headship, loves his wife sacrificially. There is one primary command given to the husband in exercising biblical headship; and that command is to love his wife sacrificially (Ephesians 5:25). This imperative is given, using the most vivid example of love possible – the love of Christ for his bride, the church.
Christ’s giving of Himself, even when the object of His love was His enemy (Romans 5:8), should leave an indelible impression on every husband. By the grace of God, husbands are to model this perfect love in their imperfect lives.
A husband who loves his wife sacrificially will be a man who loves God supremely. He will be a man who fears the Lord and serves Him wholeheartedly. He will have convictions that are firmly entrenched in the Bible and applied to his life. A godly wife will desire nothing as much as a husband who lives according to a biblical worldview and who is spiritually minded.
A husband who loves his wife sacrificially will become a student whose lifelong study is to learn about his bride (I Peter 3:7). He will concern himself with finding out her likes, her dislikes, her motivations, her spiritual gifts, her frustrations, her hurts, and her desires. The pursuit of this knowledge will come second only to his pursuit of God and God’s will. He will, with tender care and purposeful communication, seek to extract the personal “owner’s manual” that is found in the recesses of her heart.
A husband who loves his wife sacrificially will also honor her as a valuable treasure (I Peter 3:7). When a man demeans his wife, makes her feel unappreciated, demands from her in a harsh way, takes her for granted or criticizes her, he is exercising what Alexander Strauch (in his book, Equal Yet Different) calls “pagan behavior”. Conversely, by his words, his actions, and his mannerisms, a loving, Christ-like husband will show to his wife and to everyone around that she is very precious to him.
And last, but certainly not least, a husband who loves his wife sacrificially will apply the “Golden Rule” to his marriage (Ephesians 5:28). He will treat her the way he would want to be treated. This mindset of loving her may not express itself in the same way as he would like (“Hey, honey, here are the keys to your new bass boat!”), but to the same extent he would like (“Hey, sweetheart, is there anything I can do for you today?).