Interesting. Does this mean that God is not as concerned about what a good husband should be, only what a good wife should be?
This week, a man wrote to me in response to an article I wrote concerning women who are tempted to call a man after the first date. He said “I believe it is my role to pursue, but women still tell me they are too busy or not interested.” His concern is being rejected.
There lies part of the answer of what a good man should be, and what makes for a good husband. I explained to him that the life of a man is to pursue and to be rejected. This obviously applies to dating in that men have to ask women out, and they will likely undergo a fair amount of rejection before meeting a woman who is open to his further pursuit.
But it also applies to marriage. Pursuit and rejection do not end once you are married. A man must continue to pursue his wife. A man is always at work to make the one he loves feel special, loved, treasured, in short; make her feel happy. Her joy, in turn, is to be all the things God points out through the Scriptures about what a good wife should be.
No one likes to be rejected, but men have to learn how to accept rejection. It is part of the job description. If men are going to date or be a husband some day, then they have to subject themselves to rejection and take being rejected well.
As the man pursues the one he loves, he might be rejected, even in marriage. There are many reasons why a woman might not be open to her husband. Perhaps he did something stupid (I know, hard to believe, right?) and she has distanced herself. Or perhaps she is going through something emotionally that causes her to be not the most attractive person at that moment. The man’s role is to rise above his feelings and do whatever he can to reinstate her.
This is very biblical. St. Paul, the book of Song of Songs, and God’s love for Israel as compared to a bride and bridegroom. We see God and the person of Jesus associated as the male role in a love relationship and in marriage.
St. Paul provides the call of a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. The Song of Songs is the presentation of the courtship of God and His people Israel, with God (the bridegroom) pursuing the Church (the bride), and is the symbol of the union of Christ and His Church. And there are many passages (found in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) of God living out his unbreakable covenant of love with Israel, even when she is unworthy and unlovable.
God pursues, both during courtship as well as during the marriage. He is always pursuing, even when his bride is unfaithful. God shows that a man in love is never stationary, and his pursuit never comes to an end. He is always on the move, because love inspires him to act on behalf of his beloved.
He also shows us that a good man/husband has a sense of dedication, devotion, and service; making the life of his wife and family a priority over his own:
Ephesians 5:25-27: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Clearly, St. Paul is saying that the man has the responsibility to sanctify his wife through a sacrificial love. His “mission” is to die for his wife in every way possible. The splendor of his wife represents himself. A good man, therefore, proves he is at the service of others, ready and available when there is a need, able and willing to put aside his own wants and needs for a higher good. A woman, in turn, has to respond and she has to lend support for your mission. But that is another matter.
Living these qualities while single and displaying them during the dating process is essential. A woman wants to know she is special and unique to you. She is not going to assume or hope you will love like this later and marry you now. She needs to experience love that pursues and is dedicated to only her. She will then slowly but surely build trust in your love and open her heart until finally she is completely yours.
Pursue with courage and without ceasing. Be respectful, kind, considerate, and patient. Take rejection like a man, always renew your resolve, keep working on yourself and improving the way you pursue. Stay close to God with confidence in His love for you, and confidence in who you are. Smile, have a good sense of humor, and keep serving others. Never give up. There is a woman out there for you, and lots of rejection to endure before you find her.
Anthony Buono is the founder of Avemariasingles.com. For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice. Visit his blog at 6stonejars.com.