“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting... Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her.”
~Ephesians 5:25-28 (Msg).
Whenever we think of the word “consummation,” certainly in the context of weddings, we get the distinctly smouldering image of sex before our thoughts—the eyes of our minds and hearts deliciously absorbed. A million dreamy feelings fill us as we give ourselves permission to muse on the thought—bridegroom and bride bringing sexual completion to the fresh marital union.
But consummation is about so much more; sex certainly is the physical consummation—a concept almost too wonderful to understand (Proverbs 30:18-19). But we miss the potential of this concept if we leave it there. Spiritual consummation, in terms of marriage, is living a love that refuses to love self just like it once did. Self love is merely the start.
Self love—safely positioned—the pre-requisite—now is the springboard to building further for a love investment for our partner.
Consummation is truly about being totally consumed in the love of another to the point that life will never ever be the same again. A fusion has taken place and the two individuals have truly become one. The two together are far more as a force than they are put together individually.
As if they’re back-to-back soldiers protecting each other’s back, they ward off attackers, not simply defending their own back. Indeed, they’ve entrusted the welfare of their own back to their mate, in the faith of holy trust.
This love is not a mushy thing; it’s a practical thing that is defined by what is done for the other person—even more so where there is nothing expected by way of return. And when we seek our own selfish credit for such acts we cast love into an irretrievable furnace, burning it to the contempt of the love that was otherwise quite simply achievable. And as we watch it burn, we ourselves miss out.
And this is a love—the sacrificial kind—that for a woman connects with her innermost soul. She pines to be sweep up in love like that represented in Christ loving the church. And for the woman who misses out on this love—and most women do most of the time—she can never reach a hope-filled and safe plateau with which to graze upon. This is a tall ask for us men. We can’t hope to come close to perfecting Christ’s love for the church in loving our wives—not all the time at least. But, we must try.
This is not a go at men. It is simply illustrative of one side of love—the Christ-side—investing in love; giving of itself sacrificially. And we can all do that: men and women.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.