Posted by: Ety W. | May 13, 2008

To Love Their Husbands

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Whenever I see the word “love” in the New Testament, I almost always assume it is agape. After all, agape is the highest form of love; the benevolent, sacrificial love which God has toward us and for which Jesus went to the Cross. Besides, agape is something every Christian is commanded to do.

So I was quite surprised when I looked up “love” in this verse …..

that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands ….. Titus 2:4a

…. and discovered it to be something else.

Love their husbands – Strong’s 5362 – φιλανδρος – philandros, from 5384 (philos = fond, friendly) and 435 (aner = man, fellow, husband, sir) = fond of man, i.e. affectionate as a wife. Titus 2:4 is the only place it is used in the New Testament.

Ladies, let me ask, how many of you are affectionate toward your husbands? If you’re newly married, then it probably comes pretty easily. But oftentimes, the longer we are married, the less of a habit it becomes.

Now, I suspect that there are times when being affectionate seems inconvenient, especially when it might lead to something else. And yes, perhaps it might be interpreted as an invitation, especially if the wife is rarely affectionate or the husband has a need to be sexually satisfied. However, sexual passion, eros, is not the same thing as philos. Eros is an important part of marriage, and wives do have a biblical responsibility to sexually satisfy their husbands…..

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I Cor. 7:5

…. but philos is something else.

Zodhiates helps clarify philos for us, “loved, dear, befriended, friendly, kind … with the meaning of companion.1” This is part of the marital relationship. Why? I believe it is because of God’s original design for marriage.

Think about it. What is the purpose of marriage? We are all familiar with the term, “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). But consider this verse,

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for (corresponding to) him.” Gen. 2:18 (NASB)

Here we see why God created marriage in the first place, for companionship. Let’s face it, nobody gets married because they want to be alone. One’s marriage partner is to be one’s life companion. Affection is the outward manifestation of a special companionship which exists only between husband and wife. It demonstrates a level of intimacy which is different from that of the sexual relationship.

The application question then is, do you show a genuine affection toward your husband? It may come easily for you, but then again, it may not. If it doesn’t, why not?

The reasons may be simple or complex. Your answer may very well include, “because he……” Or it may be because you don’t feel affection toward him. If you are aware of anger or resentment toward your husband, then affection will be difficult. Those are issues which must definitely be resolved, but remember, godliness isn’t based on our feelings. It’s based on a decision of will and then choosing to act on that decision regardless of feelings. We’ve already seen this in studying faith and love.

The relationship between husband and wife is to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:31-32). Let us determine that the testimony of our marriages accurately reflects this and attracts others to Christ. Content copyright 2008 by If you find it anywhere else, it’s been stolen.
1 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, 1992), p.1446


  1. I heard a teaching on this very portion of scripture just yesterday morning – John MacArthur, I think. Anyway – he talked about this same word, philandros, and how it means “husband-lover”. This portion of scripture is telling us to BE a HUSBAND LOVER. A noun – not a verb! That spoke to me – the fact that I should be defined by the love I have for my husband. I guess I better get busy!

    I really enjoy confirmation of God’s word… Don’t you?

    I’m a Believer!

  2. Thank you for sharing that Laura! I have learned a lot from John MacArthur. I would have loved to have heard it as it would definitely given me some added insight.

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