What the Lord is showing about love is changing my life.
When we consider love, we cannot mix it with the Law of Moses (external standards to perform). Love is from the heart (1 Peter 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:5). It is a heart issue that comes from God and overflows out of our lives to others (1 John 4:6-ff). There cannot be standards (Galatians 5:22-23).
As men, we know we are created to love our wives/ladies as Christ loved the church/us (Ephesians 5:25). But, if we try to adopt this verse as a standard of performance, we will become hopeless and quit.
But this call is not a standard of performance; it is a truth to believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13) that will transform our hearts into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 John 3:3). If we as men are able receive the love of Jesus and we become intimately familiar with the love of Jesus, then we can easily tell if the affections in our hearts for our wives is the love of Jesus or not. Jesus loves us with the same love that will overflow from our lives to our wives (1 John 4:6-8;19). He loves us with the same love that He loves the Church. We are the church that He is in love with.
On the other side, if a woman receives the love of Jesus and she becomes familiar with His love, then when some guy comes along and says that he loves her or he wants to be with her, then she has something with which to discern if this guy’s affections for her are Jesus’ love or not (Hebrews 5:12-13).
John 5:4-5 tells us that we will follow Jesus because know His voice. I believe this also true for love. If we know the love of Jesus, we will follow the one who loves us with the love of Jesus. But verse 5 tells us we will not follow the stranger because we do not recognize the voice of the stranger.
If a girl knows the love of Jesus and does not recognize the love of the guy who says that he loves her, she will not chase after or follow the guy who is leading her astray. A girl (or a guy) will not be like a dog chasing after someone alluring her with a pork chop.
Again, this is not some standard to perform, but it is the nature of God (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 4:6-8; 19) in us. Jesus is in us and we have the capacity to love like Him, or else He would not have spoken that to us (Ephesians 5:25). It is a command to change our hearts (1 John 3:23). He says it, not asking us to perform, as both of the verbs in that passage are verbs that express potential. In other words, He speaks it to us to create the very thing he is asking; to birth in us the very nature of God (2 Peter 1:3-4).