"Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them" (Col 3:19).
I am sometimes asked my opinion about the most important thing a father can do for his children. The most significant and influential activity I can think of for any father to benefit his children is for him to love their mother. A husband who loves his wife sets an example for his children, giving them a strong sense of safety and security.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, God took Israel as a bride (Hos 2:19). Jesus continues this correlation by calling himself the bridegroom (Mt 9:15).
Christian marriage, to be an effective sign of Christ’s love for the church, must be faithful and steadfast, forging an unbreakable bond between husband and wife. Every husband is called to love his wife, and to avoid any bitterness toward her. This is a tall order. As I love Belinda, I’m called to avoid any bitterness toward her. This means I must constantly strive to treat her with courtesy and respect and loving-kindness.
When I catch myself feeling bitter or angry or upset toward Belinda, this passage helps me to remember God’s dream for our marriage: "Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them" (Col 3:19). It’s as if God is telling me: "John, love Belinda, and avoid any bitterness toward her." I may be feeling bitter or angry or upset, but as a Christian husband, I am called to respond to Belinda only with acts of love.
The same kind of love is required of Christian wives. Spouses are called to relate to one another with a faithful and steadfast love. This faithful and steadfast love makes sacramental marriage exclusive and permanent. Such a marriage best reflects and expresses the faithful and steadfast love of Christ for the church.