I found it interesting that in this verse, Paul states that the young women must be trained to love their husbands. In our culture, love is so often portrayed as something that happens to you, over which you have little control, almost like catching a virus! In films we commonly hear the line "I'm sorry, I just don't love you any more", as if we are powerless to do anything about it. This, however, is not the view of married love that Paul is putting forward. Young women need to be trained to love their husbands, in other words it is something that needs work. This probably comes as no surprise to you whether you are married or not, and yet we so often forget this in the practicalities of everyday life.
So how can we consciously, daily make an effort to love our husbands in the way Paul is talking about? Of course, a happy marriage is a two-way street, and yet the call to love our husbands is not conditional on them being or acting the way that we would like. One important area we can focus on is addressed by Carolyn Mahaney in her book Feminine Appeal. She urges us to cultivate tender thoughts towards our husbands:
Your husband comes home from work, heads for the nearest comfy chair and pulls the newspaper up in front of his face. What sort of thoughts run through your mind? Are they kind thoughts? Loving thoughts? Or thoughts you dare not reveal?
We frequently face situations where we are tempted to think harsh and critical thoughts. Sometimes as wives we are more inclined to concentrate on what our husbands are doing wrong than what they are doing right. We are more aware of their deficiencies than areas where they excel. But if we submit to these temptations, they will only lead to the demise of warm affection.
Rather we must chose to focus on our husbands' many commendable qualities. As we do this, we will be amazed. We'll start to discover more and more good qualities that we were failing to see because we were blinded by our critical thoughts.
She goes on,
The apostle Paul understood the influence of people's thoughts on their feelings and behaviour. He exhorted the Philippians in this way: "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8) If we make it our aim to think these kind of thoughts about our husbands, we will experience tender feelings for them.Maybe with Valentine's Day coming up we could take the opportunity to make a special effort to show our husbands that we love them. I must confess I've always cynically thought that Valentine's Day is just a marketing ploy on the part of the card companies (and it may be!) but perhaps we could hijack it and use it to strengthen our marriages to the glory of God.