A good marriage requires lots of love but it also, surprisingly enough, requires a certain amount of hatred. Your willingness to hate and to give yourself over to a holy hatred will serve your marriage.
How the Bible puts it:
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 8:13)
Those who have a proper reverence for God hate evil to the extent that if we don’t hate evil, our marriages will be threatened.
This begins, of course, with hating the evil in our own hearts. We should hate any form of prejudice, racism, sexism, selfish ambition, sexual immorality, fits of rage, a divisive spirit, gossip, or anything mentioned as “deeds of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19, that Paul says are counter to a life of the Spirit.
If I truly hate evil in my heart then when my marriage or spouse points it out, I will be grateful rather than resentful—sort of like thanking a doctor who sets a broken bone or who removes a painful sliver. If my marriage reveals misogyny—a prejudice toward women—I hope I will hate the misogyny more than I hate being found less than perfect and will reject the sin rather than the exposure. If my wife catches me giving in to a divisive spirit—undercutting leadership, turning anyone against anyone—or gossiping about someone, if I truly hate what is evil I will welcome her correction as an offering of love.
Sometimes we love ourselves more than we hate evil, so we resent being challenged more than we appreciate being sanctified. That’s a dangerous road to travel on. It leads to a place we could call “monstrous personality.”
The calling of love: Holy Hatred
Saying “marriage is about holiness even more than happiness,” shouldn’t be just a slogan but a policy, a commitment, a way of life, and a true matter of preference. It requires hating evil—or “holy hatred.” When we understand how evil evil is, it’s easy to hate it.
I hate how gossip tears apart true friends. I hate how selfishness makes everyone—even the selfish person—miserable. I hate how lust trades long seasons of intimacy for short moments of diversion. I hate how a lack of self-control can create such fear in other family members. I hate how a disposition toward indulgence can put a family’s stability and person’s health in serious jeopardy. I hate how downgrading, abusive, and manipulative language can turn a happy bride into a fearful, self-doubting mess.
Some of you, of course, may have spouses who encourage you toward evil rather than fight it. The Bible is clear, here. If we hate evil, we can’t give in to it. We can’t pretend it doesn’t matter. The bond of marriage does not supersede the bond of faith; marriage should express our faith, not counteract it.
This is true even (perhaps especially) in the bedroom. Yes, 1 Corinthians 7 says my body belongs to my wife, but 1 Corinthians 6 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” It’s never an act of love to agree to engage in an act of hate toward God by disregarding His will.
Though it sounds shocking, when the Bible tells us to hate evil, it makes many decisions supremely clear. It is very helpful to know what we are to hate if we truly want to live a life of love.