John Angell James – As Their Own Bodies

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Ephesians 5:28

man’s children are parts of himself; his wife is himself: “For they two shall be one flesh” (Eph 5:31). This is his duty and the measure of it too, which is so plain that, if he understands how he treats himself, there needs nothing be added concerning his demeanor towards her. For “what mighty care does he take of his body, and uses it with a delicate tenderness, and cares for it in all contingencies, and watches to keep it from all evils, and studies to make for it fair provisions, and is very often led by its inclinations and desires, and does never contradict its appetites but when they are evil, and then also not without some trouble and sorrow.” So, let a man love his wife as his own body.

Can it be necessary to apply the force of motives to produce an appropriate attention to such a duty? If so, I appeal to your sense of honor. Husbands, call to recollection the wakeful assiduities and the tender attentions by which you won the affection and the confidence of the woman, who forsook her father and her mother and the home of her childhood to find a resting place for her heart in your attachment. Will ye falsify the vows ye plighted and disappoint the hopes you raised?…That man has disgraced himself who furnishes just occasion to the partner of his days, to draw, with a sigh, a contrast between the affectionate attention she received as a lover and as a wife.

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