“The only thing a young man should want to change about a young lady is her last name.”

Over the last few years, I’ve heard probably a half-dozen young ladies in my acquaintance repeat this quote. As far as I can recall, I’ve never said a word in reply; I appreciate the spirit in which the comment is made, and at one level I understand the line of reasoning behind it.

I’m just not sure that the line of reasoning is Scriptural.

Ephesians 5:25-27 gives husbands a role model:

25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (KJV)

In a Biblically functioning marriage, the husband is a humble servant-leader, proclaiming and living out the Biblical truths that will point his wife and children to be more like Christ. (Of course, even though the passage at hand doesn’t specifically state this, a wife should point her husband in the same direction!)

True love—agape love—is not blind love. True love recognizes the weaknesses of those you love, and patiently points them to become more conformed to the image of Christ—exercising this patience with the understanding that they are exercising this same patience with your weaknesses.

Granted, it feels more than a little weird to be writing about true love, never having “fallen in love” in a romantic sense. Yet I have consciously attempted to apply this principle with family and fellow church members. It’s not that the brothers at my local church never get on my nerves (or that I never get on theirs!) But we make a conscious effort to show the love of Christ to one another, despite our weaknesses, ever pointing each other to the Cross. Surely some of that spirit must exist in a healthy, Biblically functioning marriage.