Are You a Worthy Husband?

Are You a Worthy Husband?

Are You a Worthy Husband?

Richard Hollerman

Preface

The subject of this discussion of being a worthy husband is one that has interested me for some years. All of my life I’ve observed married men (and women), have discussed with men their responsibilities and privileges, and have widely read articles and books that have touched on the subject of being a worthy husband. Of course, the basic source of truth that I’ve had is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17). But we’ve seen a need to put something into print that would encourage sincere and devoted husbands to be all that God wants them to be.

As the husband leads in the marital relationship, he has the ability to guide the marriage and home into God’s blessing for themselves, for other Christians, and for the world. Being a good example before others can have a powerful effect for good to those who need such a model in the midst of a world that is chaotic and far removed from the Biblical ideal. The husband has the opportunity and privilege of being a Man of God before others.

We hope that you will find this study both interesting and convicting.  Hopefully, you will determine to be the man that God wants you to be. And if you are a woman, let this study help you to form your own conception of a man worthy of the name.

Are you a Worthy Husband?

marriage

Are You a Worthy Husband?

Some may wish that we were to address the subject, “Are You a Worthy Wife?” After all, Lemuel asked, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). But perhaps more basic than this is this question about being a husband. The attitude and demeanor of the husband has a huge effect on the character and responses of his wife.

Men who have been married in America generally commit themselves to “love, honor, and cherish” their wives until death parts them. They commit themselves to forsake all others, and remain together, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, as long as they both shall live. There is some variation, but this generally is the substance of the commitments made in the marriage union.

What does Scripture say about the husband’s responsibilities?  Does God’s Word give some counsel that will guide one to be a faithful husband?  Let’s open the Scriptures and see what God says about this interesting, important, even vital topic. We could frame this matter in the negative, with a title something like, “How a husband may sin against his wife.” On the other hand, maybe the positive approach is better. Yet bear in mind that when God gives a positive, we sin when we are unwilling to submit to it.

Most of the scriptures we’ll notice pertain to married men in general. Many other passages could be included, but for a short treatment like this we need to be selective.

Traits of a Good Husband

marriage

Are You a Worthy Husband?

  1. Truly love, care for, and cherish your wife.

Probably most people would recognize this as a leading characteristic of a responsible husband. Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The apostle continues: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. . . . Each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself” (vv. 28, 33; cf. Colossians 3:18). Do you have an agape, self-giving love for your wife?  If you fail to truly love her, you grievously sin against her—and against God.

We must remember that the love to which we refer isn’t a superficial feeling or merely a mental attitude.  Agape love is an active term, a love that is demonstrated in giving. Thus, God loved and gave (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Christ also loved and gave (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 3:16). W. E. Vine explains: “Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9, 10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Romans 5:8. It was an exercise of the divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

Husband, do you have this genuine love for your wife? Scripture says, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). In other words, true love is not just something that we talk about or tell a person we have, but we demonstrate it by our actions. The sincere husband must show by what he does (and what he doesn’t do) how much he loves his wife. If you love her, you will be faithful to her alone, you will do what is best for her even when it means personal sacrifice, and you will seek her blessing at all times. You will seek her physical, emotional, and especially spiritual good.

While the husband loves his wife in other ways, at the basis is agape, the love of choice and demonstration. The husband must actively give, care, bless, and serve his wife. Husband, do you love like this?

  1. Lead and exercise headship over your wife.

Generally, men fall into the prevalent American egalitarian model of the marriage relationship, thus they fail to exercise a Godly leadership or headship over their wife and children.  Paul writes, “Wives, be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). This passage not only obligates the wife to submit to her husband, but it also shows the need for the husband to take the lead and exercise a wise, strong, and protective headship over his wife.

Headship and authority have been much maligned by secularists, humanists, and radical feminists. They hate this Biblical requirement and, instead, promote an egalitarian arrangement. The Christian husband cannot dismiss this command so easily. He must learn what headship is and then devote himself to it. Only in this way will one’s wife find fulfillment and protection. Although some women think of submission as “slavery” and “bondage,” in reality it is an arrangement of protection, care, safety, and emotional fulfillment. God’s ways are always right.

The husband is responsible for making the final decisions in the marriage. He is to guide and govern his wife, with love and unselfishness. If you fail to lead in the marriage, if you are not the “head” over your wife, or if you don’t gently and kindly exercise a Godly authority in the marriage, you greatly fail and are not fair to your wife who needs a strong authority figure in you, her “head” (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:33-37; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-2). We must renounce the perverted American conception and begin to have a Biblical perspective of the marital relationship.

  1. Serve and sacrifice yourself for your wife.

One aspect of this love for your wife is a willingness to demonstrate your love in personal sacrifice. How much are you willing to give up for your wife’s benefit and blessing?  How often are you willing to surrender your own rights for her good? If you always insist on your own way and make yourself the center of the marriage, you fail to have a Christlike love for your wife. While it is true that you are not under the authority or headship of your wife, you are to have a Christ-like attitude of loving, humble service. That is, you are to have a servant’s heart as you relate to her.

  1. Nourish and cherish your wife.

If you have a genuine love for your wife, you will “nourish and cherish” your wife (as you would your own body) (Ephesians 5:29). The term, nourish, may be defined as nourish up to maturity, and suggests “caring tenderly for his wife, as a mother might care for her child” (Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament). The term, cherish, literally means “keep warm,” and figuratively, “cherish, comfort” (Ibid.) Thayer says that it means “to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care” (quoted by Earle).

When you nourish and cherish, you will think of what you can do for the physical, emotional, and spiritual good of the woman God has given you. When you treat your wife with carelessness, indifference, or selfishness, you fail to really care for her as Scripture demands.  Since you, as a husband, love your wife and want to nourish and cherish her, you will be interested in her health and nutrition.

In every way possible, you will have a great desire for her health and should encourage her to eat nutritious meals, get physical exercise, and seek medical advice when needed. You will discourage her from eating junk foods, living a sedentary existence, or having a careless attitude about health. You can manifest your desire to love, nourish, and cherish your wife when you are willing to maintain your own health (as much as possible) and promote this in her life as well. (And by this means, you may lessen the possibility of having heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.) If you fail to really give yourself to your wife in this way, you commit a serious sin of selfishness and apathy.

  1. Seek an attitude of humility and not an attitude of prideful superiority.

Although the husband is to lead and exercise loving authority in the marriage relationship, he must do so with deep humility.  He must not have an attitude of superiority or pride. Paul disallows such an attitude when he writes: “In the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent on woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman, and all things originate from God” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12). Neither the man nor the woman is independent of the other. We are all mutually interdependent. Even when the woman must be submissive to the husband, both of them must acknowledge that the woman may be more intelligent, wiser, more educated, and more socially engaging. The husband must never think of himself as inherently superior.

God hates a prideful attitude. Scripture says, “The LORD hates . . . haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:16-17). “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (16:5; cf. v, 18). In the New Testament we read, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; cf. v. 10).  Peter also says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). Especially this is true in the marital relationship. As a husband, you have a special need to exercise your headship with humility and a servant’s heart and not an attitude of self-exaltation.

When my wife and I married, Moni and I took a basin of water and a towel and knelt before each other.  As I knelt before this woman whom God had given to me, I washed her feet as a symbol of humble service and commitment—and she did likewise. I wanted to demonstrate in a visible way for her and all others to see that I sought to walk in humility before her and before the Lord who was uniting us as one for life.

  1. Treat your wife with kindness and gentleness.

Frequently husbands are harsh and cruel in their dealings with their wife. Some go so far as to physically or emotionally abuse the wife, treating her with contempt and dishonor. Sadly, some women flee to ministries for “battered” and “abused” women. Scripture says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19; cf. NET Bible). Another translation puts it this way: “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (ESV; cf. NIV). The honorable husband must not respond to his wife with bitterness, harshness, unkindness, or cruelty.

Definitely a husband must not hit or slap his wife, push or hurt her, or yell at or slander her. He must not call her demeaning and derogatory words and names of derision (Matthew 5:22). The Scriptures are plain about this: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Husband, do you ever use an unwholesome (literally, a rotten) word toward your wife? Are your words filled with “grace”?  “Put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Do you ever employ abusive speech directed toward your wife?

Peter urges the husband, “Show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7b).  Although this is spoken of a wife who is a believer, the Christian husband should still give his unbelieving wife the honor that she deserves.

  1. Be careful that you don’t exercise an autocratic rule.

Sadly, some husbands (especially in an earlier era) have exercised their authority more like a dictator, boss, tyrant, or ruler than like a caring husband. This is not what God desires and Scripture doesn’t suggest it.

We do know that the godly husband is to be the “head” of the wife, and this includes the idea of authority. Along with this, the wife is to be submissive (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1). “This [headship] is the grounds of the wife’s submission to her husband and is modeled on Christ’s headship over the church… [This headship] does not vary from one culture to another, neither does the headship of a husband in relation to his wife and her duty to submit to her husband in everything. ‘Head’ (Gk, kephale) here clearly refers to a husband’s authority over his wife and cannot mean ‘source,’ as some have argued” (ESV Study Bible note, at Ephesians 5:23-24).

An example of this would be the relationship of Abraham and Sarah. Peter says that ‘just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear” (1 Peter 3:6). It is true that Sarah “obeyed” Abraham and even called him “lord” (Greek, kurios, meaning ruler, owner, master, etc.). But this godly arrangement doesn’t make the husband a dictator or autocratic ruler. He is the “head” but not a cruel tyrant or uncaring despot. He is simply the authority figure in the relationship.

Husband, you have no God-given right to treat your wife with disrespect, as a slave or mere possession. You are not to demean her or despise her. She is your dear wife and your requirement must always keep this distinction in mind. She is a fellow-heir of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). Your headship is one informed by and formed by all of the Christian character qualities.

  1. Remember to be patient, calm, and deliberate in your relationship.

Many men have a reputation for being impatient, heartless, and reactionary toward their wife. The is the very opposite of what the husband should be. Scripture says, “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Notice what Paul says: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Now notice the contrast: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). If you were a woman with a husband, would you want him to be filled with bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice? Or would you prefer that he be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving? We know the answer.

This type of admonishment in the New Testament is also found in the Old Testament. We read these forceful words: “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself” (Proverbs 22:23-24). Husband, your wife should have something other than an angry and hot tempered husband! Notice further this statement: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot tempered man abounds in transgression” (29:22). Being an angry and hot tempered husband only brings havoc! Such a husband “abounds in transgression” for these kinds of sins cause reactions, more anger, slander, hurt feelings, retaliation, and bitterness.

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (Proverbs 15:18). Husband, keep in mind the scripture: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Keep away from anger and harshness, and cultivate patience and kindness.

  1. You must not cling to your parents and prefer them over your wife.

At the time of the creation of the first wife (Eve), God said, “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Although children are to be obedient, respectful, and honoring to their parents (cf. Proverbs 1:8; 6:20) and this is important even after they leave home (Exodus 20:12), there is something more important within and after marriage: one’s relationship with his wife.

Jesus reiterates the command to leave one’s parents and be “joined to his wife” (Matthew 19:4-6; cf. Mark 10:7-9; Ephesians 5:31). This would mean that the husband must not constantly want to submit himself to the wishes of his parents or prefer them over his wife. He must not constantly negatively compare his wife’s faults, inadequacies, and failures to his father and mother. Regardless of the truth of the matter, it is rarely wise or proper to make such comparisons. You wouldn’t want your wife to do this with you. After marriage, your wife must always come first.

  1. You must be willing to work and provide for your family.

Down through the ages, the husband and wife worked side-by-side in providing for the needs of their family. As late as a hundred years ago, especially on the farm (and even until the present day in many cases), the husband and wife worked in the fields, in the garden, and around the house together. In fact, it was a family affair. We know that Proverbs 31:10-31 describes a woman who is very active in providing for her family. However, there is a definite place for the man to take the lead in working  to provide for his wife and children. The husband must “provide for his own” (1 Timothy 5:8) and even work with his hands to provide (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Acts 20:31). The wife is to “keep house” (1 Timothy 5:14) and be a worker at home (Titus 2:5)—but, of course, she too may earn money for the household expenses. Even when she has an “outside” job, she can do this.

We don’t suggest that there aren’t conditions that would hinder such an arrangement. A woman may work if this doesn’t cause her to neglect other important duties (cf. Acts 16:14; Ruth 2:1-23), and some husbands and wives may work together in some enterprise (cf. Acts 18:3). If one loses his employment and cannot find other work, sometimes the wife has the skills to earn a living for the family, while the husband occupies himself in another way in a responsible manner for the benefit of the family. Sometimes an income may come from some source other than gainful employment and retirement may provide some source of financial income. Whatever is worked out, the husband must take the lead in providing for his wife and children.

  1. You must desire your wife and not other women.

When a husband and wife are united in marriage, the husband must desire her alone. (Obviously, the same is true of her desire for him.) This doesn’t mean that he is not to relate to other women, for the Christian husband does have an obligation to bless, teach, admonish, exhort, correct, warn, and interact with women in general and specific women with needs. This is seen in the example of Jesus (cf. John 4:7-26; Matthew 8:14-15; 9:20-22; 15:21-28; Luke 7:36-50) as well as the apostles (cf. Acts 16:14-15, 40; Romans 16:6, 7, 9, 12, 15; Philippians 4:2-3).

But here we are speaking of sexually desiring another woman or becoming emotionally dependent on one. The husband is not to lust or crave another woman. Jesus warns, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). He goes on to state how utterly serious it is to use one’s eyes or hands to engage in wrongful sexual activity. This lust is a violation of God’s command in the Ten Commandments, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17). The Lord says that one must take extreme measures to conquer sexually desiring a woman other than one’s wife (cf. Matthew 5:29-30; cf. Proverbs 6:25; Job 31:1; 2 Peter 2:14). There can be no excuse for this: “My wife doesn’t love me anymore, thus I am free to desire another.” “My wife is cruel, unkind, mean-spirited, frigid, and evil—and this other woman is so desirable, warm, and beautiful!” No, the husband must be faithful to his wife as a “one woman” man. There is no place for him to be oriented to another competitor for his interest and affection.

  1. You must not be unfaithful and divorce your wife.

We all know that divorce has literally become a plague in our culture and in many other countries of the world. The incidence of divorce has gone from being miniscule in America to being rampant. Most families know of at least one member who has either separated, or divorced, or remarried.

Many millions of couples have been divorced, and most of these give no supposed Biblical justification for the divorce. A small percentage claim to have been pure and faithful and the spouse became sexually unfaithful, thus they justify the divorce and subsequent remarriage on these grounds. But the majority don’t even offer these grounds (cf. Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9). Other passages don’t mention any grounds or reasons for divorce (Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, 39).

Jesus warns, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Sadly, millions of men have separated and divorced, just as millions of women have done. But Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). We also know that the consequences and result of adultery is utterly serious: one will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) but will be judged by God (Hebrews 13:4) and be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). The husband must not have the “hardness of heart” that will lead to divorce (Matthew 19:8).

If you are presently divorced, we encourage you to return to your rightful spouse, if this is feasible. But if it isn’t, be content to remain single and celibate for Christ’s sake (Matthew 19:10-12; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11). Make absolutely sure that any woman you choose to marry is eligible in God’s sight (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:39). You surely don’t want to lead a woman or a wife into an adulterous relationship. If you are now living in adultery, be willing to forsake this forbidden relationship and devote yourself to God alone (Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 19:10-12). If God does accept your marriage, be content to remain in it.

  1. Be a loving forgiver of sins and be willing to seek forgiveness.

We do know that going to heaven depends on God’s forgiving you of all your sins (1 John 1:7, 9; Ephesians 1:7). But what about human forgiveness?

Forgiveness is such an important topic that it can’t be over-emphasized. In fact, your eternal life depends on forgiveness! First, consider your need to grant your wife forgiveness of a sin or various sins. Jesus said that this is so needful, even indispensable, that if you refuse to forgive her when she honestly seeks it, God will not forgive you of your sins (Matthew 6:12, 14-15). A terrible punishment lies before you if you refuse to grant your wife forgiveness of her offenses against you (cf. Matthew 18:21-35). “Whenever you stand prying, forgive if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:25). “Be on your guard! If your brother [or a wife] sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).

On the other hand, if you have sinned against your wife, be willing to humbly confess your sins of word, attitude, or deed and seek her forgiveness. Our Lord points out the hypocrisy of trying to worship Him when you are unwilling to acknowledge your sins against your wife or any other person (Matthew 5:23-24). Your marriage constantly needs forgiveness for we all sin in some way (1 John 1:8-10). You need to humble yourself, repent, and confess your sins to your wife. And you need to forgive your wife when she seeks your forgiveness. This may be difficult and painful but it’s the only way to find true reconciliation and a state of harmony in your marriage.

Are You a Worthy Husband?

  1. You must be patient with your wife and her imperfections.

We all want a perfect marriage and wish that our spouse was that perfect wife. But quite realistically, no one is perfect and we must be content with imperfection (Philippians 3:12). (And our wife must be content with our imperfection as well.) Patience is a virtue that is absolutely needed in a marriage that is to succeed.

We know that this quality of patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Further, “love is patient,” says Paul (1 Corinthians 13:4). Lawrence O. Richards says that patience “focuses our attention on restraint: that capacity for self-control despite circumstances that might arouse the passions or cause agitation. In personal relationships, patience is forbearance. This is not so much a trait as a way of life. . . . Patience also has to do with our reaction to the troubles we experience in life” (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words).

As a husband, you definitely must exercise patience in your relationship with your wife. She may not do things as you would wish or as quickly as you would like. She may not submit to your requests in just the way you would like or may not submit at all. She may be slow to agree with your plans and agenda. In all of this and perhaps hundreds of other ways, God will bring situations into your marriage in which you must patiently deal with your wife, without hatred or anger. If you truly love this wife of your choosing, your patience will go a long way in promoting a good relationship, regardless of imperfect circumstances or a difficult wife. Patience is a virtue for the devoted husband.

  1. You must manifest a whole range of Christian character qualities with your wife.

There are many passages in Scripture that encourage us to manifest the character qualities of godliness and urge us to demonstrate the character of Christ (cf. 1 John 2:3-6; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). We are to be pure as Jesus is pure (1 John 3:3). In fact, God provides the husband (and wife) with the Holy Spirit so that he (or she) might grow in the “fruit” of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When we manifest the “fruit of the light,” we will display goodness, righteousness, and truth (Ephesians 5:9). Those who are “chosen of God” must “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” and must demonstrate forgiveness, forbearance, and love (Colossians 3:12-14). The man of God must “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

Husband, consider this carefully. Suppose you were a woman—a wife. Wouldn’t you want a husband who manifests such character qualities as goodness, righteousness, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience? Wouldn’t you want a faithful, loyal, and true husband? In contrast, can you imagine the grief and disappointment that must fill the heart of your wife when she knows that she is not married to a man with character, integrity, honesty, and true Christ-likeness? Now is the time to change and be what your wife needs—and what God requires!

  1. Always keep a pleasant demeanor, a positive attitude, and a sweet disposition.

Some men have a reputation for being harsh, unkind, mean, and blustery. They get up in the morning with “a chip on their shoulder” and make the whole family know it. They go through the day on the job with an attitude of negativity and criticize all that happens, including their fellow-workers. They come home complaining and murmuring. They treat the wife with cruelty, they yell at the children, and they kick the dog!  Nothing seems to please them for they find fault with the food, with the work the wife has done, with the grades of the children, with the choice of TV programs, with the music played, with the dishes in the sink, with the lack of available clothes, and with the evening agenda. In short, they are hard to be around and everyone seems to suffer under their negative words and biting remarks. They are filled with anger, bitterness, sarcasm, rude remarks, and negativity. Some are dominated by a crude cynicism.

As a Christian husband, this should not in any way describe you. James says that “the wisdom from above” is characterized in a unique way: It is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (3:17). If you are indwelt by the Spirit of God, you should be peaceable—not warlike. You should be gentle—not harsh or unkind. You should be reasonable—not demanding one’s rights. The margin says, “willing to yield.” This suggests that the husband (or wife) should not demand his own way (unless there is a principle involved). The ESV has “open to reason.” In other words, the husband should not be close-minded, belligerent or proud.  He should be willing to yield. The Christian husband should be full of mercy and good fruits, not returning evil for evil or demanding one’s rights.

The Christian husband should have a winsome attitude and sweet disposition. People should not be “turned off” by his personality, but they should enjoy his pleasantness. This pleasant disposition should be apparent to the family, especially the wife; it should also be evident to those on the job, to the checkout person at the supermarket, to the mechanic, and to the neighbors. He should take great pains to show outgoing love, kindness, gentleness, unselfishness, generosity, and helpfulness.

Instead of carrying a grudge, have a cheerful and upbeat attitude. Rather than carrying a dark and gloomy disposition, have a positive and happy temperament. Instead of promoting a negative atmosphere around the house, cultivate a joyful mindset. Rather than a morose disposition, deliberately adopt an attitude of bliss and pleasantness. After all, if you know God today and will be with Him for all eternity, you have much for which to give thanks. You should be able to “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Peter said, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles (1 Peter 2:12). He goes on to say, “All of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindheartedness, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” (3:8-9). Isn’t this the very opposite of what we find in the life of some men?   We are to be harmonious—not fighting or always in a conflict. We are to be kindhearted—not cruel, reactionary, or hard-hearted. We are to be humble in spirit—not proud, egotistical, and bragging. We are not to be resistant and retaliatory—but willing to accept a wrong.  As Paul says, true love does not act “unbecomingly,” “does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,” and willingly “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). This attitude is so different from that of the world.

  1. You should manifest self-control and self-discipline for the sake of your wife.

Maybe we think of self-control in regard to our own welfare and growth, or we may focus on the fact that God Himself wants us to be self-controlled. As we are aware, the Holy Spirit is the One who works this fruit in our life (Galatians 5:22-23). But self-control is especially important in our relationship with our wife.

Husband, you must exercise careful self-control in your speaking to your wife. Regardless of how she responds to you, you must speak kindly, truthfully, lovingly, and with grace (Ephesians 4:29). You must practice self-control in your bodily appetites and bodily behavior. Remember that the Christian man (and woman) must present his body as a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1) and he is to regard his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Husband, do you care for your body, bathe your body, practice good hygiene, exercise your body, and only partake of healthy, nutritious food?  Maybe your wife married you when you were twenty-two and weighed 150 pounds when you had strength and vigor. If you have degenerated into a 230 pound, obese, sickly, lethargic, undisciplined middle-age man, you are not being fair with your dear wife. She deserves something better! If your condition is something beyond your control, that is one thing; but if you have fallen into an undisciplined life and become an unhealthy man through your own lack of self-control and your carnal attitudes and practices, you offend and sin against your wife. This calls for repentance on your part and a commitment to do better. (Of course, the same is true of the wife.)

Self-control is also needed if your wife should ever falsely accuse you. You must keep a strict control of yourself, your emotions, your words, and your responses if your wife ridicules you, denounces you, or accuses you of wrongdoing that you haven’t done. Defend yourself if this is possible, but sometimes your wife may not be open to reason. In this case, wisdom would dictate that you should remain silent.

Scripture says, “He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27). This inner restraint and “coolness” of spirit is so necessary when the flesh would want to arise in defense of unjust criticism. Remember that Jesus sometimes didn’t defend himself. “While being reviled, He did not revile in return. . . but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). You need to practice self-control for your own integrity, for the sake of your wife, and especially for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31).

Are You a Worthy Husband?

  1. Diligently seek to communicate with your wife.

For some reason, many men have great difficulty communicating with their wife. It may be more accurate to say that often men are reluctant to communicate or nearly refuse to discuss matters. We are not speaking here of the godly desire to not engage in wrongful, slanderous, gossiping, or profitless conversation—for these patterns of speech definitely are wrong. But we refer to a close-mouthed attitude of keeping information to himself and refusing to be open and vulnerable with his wife. Even if a husband concludes that it is difficult or “impossible” to speak rationally and calmly with her, still there is a need to speak to (and listen to) his wife.

Although many warnings are given in Scripture on the dangers of wrong speech, there are other passages that encourage positive, helpful, important communication. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We are to speak edifying words, appropriate words, needful words, and grace-filled words (4:29). The husband needs to know how to speak (6:20), with a heart of kindness (4:32). He must be compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient in his conversations (Colossians 3:12-13). He must avoid “abusive speech” with his mouth, along with anger, wrath, malice, and slander (Colossians 3:8; cf. Ephesians 4:31).

God expects the responsible and loving husband to earnestly endeavor to communicate with his wife in a way that would bless her. Whether she is kind, patient, and receptive, or whether she is belligerent, angry, and bitter, he should prayerfully, lovingly, and calmly speak to the wife God has given to him.

  1. Use positive, upbuilding, constructive speech for the most part in your responses to your wife.

If you were to constantly complain against your wife, belittle her, put her down, and ridicule what she does, this could make her life miserable. You may seek to justify your responses by saying that she deserves such treatment because of her own negative attitudes, but Christ wants you to respond in a different, “unnatural” and “spiritual” way toward your wife.

Remember that Scripture says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). “Do everything without complaining or arguing” (NIV). This would mean that you shouldn’t be known as a complainer or one who argues with his wife. The fact that you are the “head” in the marriage may be thought to lessen the need to argue, but if your wife doesn’t recognize your headship, there could be a temptation to grumble and complain against her. This would be a mistake. We must not be like the Israelites who “grumbled” and whom God destroyed because of this sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:10).

Instead of complaining to or against your wife, be willing to see the good aspects of her character. Praise her for the character qualities she displays. When you see a generous spirit, a humble attitude, a quiet disposition, a submissiveness, a diligence, and a homemaking interest and activity, be willing to thank and praise her. In fact, praise her (with discretion) before others.

  1. You should teach, exhort, admonish, correct and instruct your wife.

In a passage that deals mainly with the gatherings of believers (as they met in the first-century home groups), Paul writes: “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). It is true that in the public meetings of Christians, women must receive (not give) instruction and have “entire submissiveness” in this. She must have a “quiet” disposition (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:33-37).

But if this is true, isn’t it also true that this speaks to marriage? A husband should not dismiss the wife as having no interest in the Scriptures or capacity for spiritual things. Rather, the godly and loving husband should be willing and even desirous of thoughtfully, patiently, and lovingly “instructing” his wife and “feeding” her spiritually.  If he knows more than she because of his background, age, experience, and maturity, he should take the time to carefully build her up in the Word of God and help her to understand basic Biblical teachings. If she has more knowledge and maturity than he does, he should earnestly strive to grow in the Lord and share what he learns from the Scriptures with her (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:18).

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul tells us how God wants us to use His inspired Scriptures. This would indicate the husband’s relationship with his wife. He should “teach” her God’s truth about life, belief, and conduct. He should “reprove” her when she fails to do right. He should “correct” her of any misunderstandings of truth and life. And he should “train” her in the way of righteousness. None of this is to done in an impatient, unloving, unkind way but as God would want.

  1. You must love and care for your wife regardless of her responses or lack of response.
marriage

Are You a Worthy Husband?  * See below

Some men assume that the wife is obligated to be the same loving, affectionate, and sweet person you married many years ago. You think that you have the right to expect her to be as vivacious and desirable, attractive in face and form, as she was when you married her. Actually, this is partly correct. Both the husband and wife should keep themselves as fit as possible, as healthy as possible, and as attractive and slim as possible as they were when they said, “I do.” But life isn’t that simple. We all age and show the effects of the fall (Genesis 3). As Paul said, our “outer man is decaying” and growing older—but the “inner man” is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Although you may wish that your wife continued to be the 120 pound (or 140 pound?), curvaceous, healthy girl she was at age 20 or 22, she will inevitably age. Remember, a lifetime of bearing children and laboring for you will have an effect on her physical body. Husband, even if your wife has become “sloppy” and uncaring for her physical form and fitness, you are still to love her, respect her, honor her, and care for her.

Your love relationship isn’t dependent on her response, her laziness, her lack of discipline, her being overweight, or any other physical response. You are to love as God loves you. You are to love her even if she doesn’t love you or respect you or honor you. Although she is required to have such responses, and she is accountable to God (and to you) for having such attitudinal responses, still you must love and sacrifice for her in spite of her responses. Love is your guiding principle

  1. Husband, be willing to yield your rights in marriage and never retaliate.

The carnal man will think that masculinity means that the husband will demand and obtain his presumed “rights” in marriage. He instinctively knows that the husband is to have his wife’s honor, respect, and submission. From God’s design, this is his “right.” When this does not come, the man dominated by the flesh will become angry, bitter, resentful, and retaliatory. But what does God want?

It is true that God does want the wife to be respectful and submissive (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1ff). But how is the husband to respond when his wife is a typical feminist who demands that her presumed “rights” be respected? When his wife angrily reacts to him, slanders and reviles him, disobeys him, or even is belligerent and abusive? What is the godly husband to do? Of course, he should seek to explain and calmly respond, but what if this is unsuccessful?

Husband, you need to yield your rights to respect and masculine authority. Even Jesus yielded His own rights to respect, honor, and worship. How does Scripture state this? “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judged righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Notice that Jesus didn’t retaliate even when He had a “right” to do so. He was willing to be nonresistant in the face of unjust accusations and wrongful actions. Peter goes on to say that we should respond in the same way: “Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (3:9). When your wife is “evil” toward you or when she utters an unjust “insult” against you, what do you do? God would say that instead of responding in a fleshly way, you are to give a “blessing” to your wife or whoever else is slandering us.

This is the consistent attitude we should have in life. Paul says that we are to “bless” the one who brings us suffering instead of “cursing” the person (Romans 12:14). The apostle says, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. . . . If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17, 19, 21). Jesus said the same thing (Matthew 5:38-48; Luke 6:27-28).

The point is that you are to respond to your wife as Jesus would want. Instead of reacting as a carnal, worldly man would do, with bitter words and even violent actions, you—as a man of God—must not retaliate or seek to “get even.” Instead, you are to do good to your wife, treat her kindly, be gentle to her, and bless her. Yes, you need to be a strong, stalwart, and courageous man, but let this be tempered with a kind and gentle spirit. Be a man—a real man. Walk with Jesus in your responses and be willing to “commit your soul to a faithful Creator.”

  1. Give much thought and attention to your position as a father of your children.

We are discussing your relationship with the woman God has given to you as wife, but this cannot be isolated from your relationship with your children. It is very important. How can one be an excellent husband if he is an unworthy and irresponsible father?

When Paul discusses the qualifications for an overseer or shepherd of the flock of God, he gives a number of points worthy of thought. We know that these are particularly suited to the eldership, but it does show God’s mind relative to a number of qualities in a man. The apostle writes, “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (1 Timothy 3:4; cf. v. 5). The deacons (Greek, servants) also must be “good managers” of their children and their own households” (v. 12).

“The home is the proving ground of Christian character and therefore the preparation field for ministry” (ESV, note). Another comment of note: “The elder’s home life, like his personal life, must be exemplary. He must be one who ‘rules’ (presides over, has authority over) ‘his own house’ (everything connected with his home, not merely his wife and children) ‘well’ (intrinsically good; excellently)” (The MacArthur Study Bible, note). Paul also writes to Titus with this qualification: “. . . having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion” (Titus 1:6).

Husband, make much effort to manage or rule your whole household, including your children. Lead them to faith in Christ and salvation. Make sure that they are trustful, kind, loving, respectful, submissive, obedient, and have a mind centered on Christ and His Word. This will be the context of relating your wife (the mother of your children) in a right and honorable manner.

  1. You should engage your wife in service and teaching opportunities.

A man often seems to forget that his wife may have the desire to learn, grow, and be involved in Christian service with him. He should not just assume that she is more interested in recipes, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, housework, or reading at the house. She also needs to be spiritually involved—and surely the husband should be the one who allows her to serve along with him.

One of the most admirable couples in Scripture is Priscilla and Aquila. When a zealous but deceived preacher named Apollos began to “speak out boldly in the synagogue” of Ephesus, Luke tells us that “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). In contrast to first century Jewish custom of leaving the wife out of spiritual activity and discussion, this wise Christian brother was willing to involve his devoted wife in this teaching opportunity with Apollos.

Apparently, their sharing of “the way of God more accurately” was effective, for Apollos went on to become a knowledgeable and powerful man of God. He left Ephesus and went to Corinth, where “he greatly helped those who had believed through grace” and “powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (vv. 27-28). We don’t know how much Priscilla helped Aquila to teach Apollos, but he must have allowed her to participate in the discussion and teaching to some extent. Surely, she was “quiet” and “submissive” in this activity (1 Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:3-4), but she was involved in the sharing and explaining.

  1. You must provide the opportunity for a meaningful and loving sexual relationship.

We are under the impression that many husbands are merely desirous of having a sexual relationship with their wife for their own personal fulfillment. This selfish and unloving attitude must never be the case with the man of God. Paul explains that both the husband and the wife should find fulfillment in their sexual activity: “Each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does, and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:2-4). This would indicate that the husband is to be more concerned about pleasing and blessing his wife sexually than he is in seeking his own personal fulfillment.

Paul continues: “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5). Husband, be willing to bless your wife sexually instead of focusing on what pleases you. Sadly, some men have been exposed to pornography (either little or much) and this has perverted their view of sex to the extent that they are prone to bring into the bedroom perverse, selfish, and wicked attitudes and behaviors and impose this on their wife. They have in their mind hundreds of other women they’ve seen unclothed and performing perverse, immoral sexual activity. How shameful and how sad!

The husband needs to thoroughly repent of all such involvement and seek to have a “renewed” mind that will view sexuality in a godly, pure, and wholesome way (see Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:8). Husband, if this describes you, be willing to seek counsel from wise and trusted elders, preachers, or a friend who will help you to develop godly sexual responses for the blessing of your wife.

  1. Be willing to help your wife in every appropriate way.

We know that many men seem to have little interest in helping their wife around the house. They think that the house is her domain and he has little or no responsibility to render aid. Granted, especially in the past the wife has had much to do with running the household, doing the laundry, washing dishes, sewing clothes, cleaning, gardening, and doing a wide assortment of other domestic duties.

Probably this has taken the domestic focus of the wife too far. Surely the responsible husband should participate to some measure in such domestic activities. We should remember that the wife was given to the man (husband) to be “a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18; “a helper corresponding to him, margin). Thus, fundamentally and technically, the wife is the “helper” of the man in his life purpose, and the man isn’t the “helper” of the woman. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the husband should refuse to do anything in the house and shouldn’t help his wife. Wouldn’t you want to be helped by your husband if you were the wife? “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you,” said Jesus (Luke 6:31).

In Scripture, we find that Abraham helped to prepare a meal for his three guests (Genesis 18:6-8), as did Lot (19:3). WE also might remember how Jesus’ disciples prepared a meal (Matthew 26:19), and Jesus did this Himself (John 21:9-12). It isn’t too much for the husband sometimes to help his wife with meals, the laundry, or cleaning.

The husband should also be willing to help with the care of their children. We do know that he must take the lead in the spiritual and emotional training of the children (Ephesians 6:4). This could also include helping with the education of the children and not give all of the home schooling responsibilities to his already-overworked wife.

Husband, hopefully you are active in many aspects of serving the Lord and you want to have a rich prayer life and extensive Bible study. However, try to find as much time as possible (or make the time) to aid your wife with her many labors in the house.

  1. You must learn the desires, convictions, beliefs, views, and character of your wife.

This is a point that Peter emphasizes in his letter: “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Husband, you need to live with your wives in an “understanding way” (see also ESV; NEB). The NET Bible says that the husband is to live with the wife “with consideration,” with a regard for her as a person and a woman.

As one writer has pointed out, the husband should come to truly know his wife. He should “study” her—her convictions, her views, her ideas, and her personality. This doesn’t mean that he will agree with all of this (and he may be wrong himself), but he should at least seek to understand her. As he understands her, he will be in a better position to respond to her rightly, fulfill his responsibilities as a husband, and bless her own life with the realization that he tries to understand.

  1. You should regularly thank God for and pray for your wife.

The husband needs to look on his wife as a priceless possession. We acknowledge that if the wife doesn’t know God (and may even be opposed to Him) and may have a very negative character, she may be difficult to appreciate, enjoy, and desire. However, God can work in the most difficult of relationships for our good and His glory. (After all, Salmon married Rahab, a prostitute, Matthew 1:5, and she was an ancestor of both David and the Lord Jesus.) On the other hand, if the wife does know God through Christ and manifests the fruit of the Spirit along with godly qualities as a wife, the husband can more readily thank God for this dear one He has given.

The loving husband should thank God for his wife and pray for her needs and growth. He should also seek to pray with his wife if this is possible. As Peter points out, the husband must do nothing that would “hinder” his and her prayers (1 Peter 3:7).  Prayer is so important that sometimes the sexual relationship should be set aside temporarily to engage in this meaningful communication with God (1 Corinthians 7:5).  Happy is the husband who can say to his wife: “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).

  1. You should “manage” your wife (and children).

We don’t think that the Scriptures are thinking of marriage and the family as a business enterprise, but Paul does use this term (“manage”) in his choice of words in the list of qualifications for the overseer or shepherd of the flock: “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4-5). Likewise, the servants (deacons) must be “good managers of their children and their own households” (v. 12).

While it is true that the father must “manage” his children, there is a sense in which the husband is to manage the whole family, including his wife.  The Greek term here is proistemi, which means to “manage” or “preside over” (Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament).  It literally is “to stand before” and thus “to lead, attend to” which indicates “care and diligence.” “The home is the proving ground of Christian character and therefore the preparation field for ministry” (ESV Study Bible note).

Do you, as the husband, diligently seek to lead, to manage, and to preside over your wife? Do you let her know your interest in her welfare and needs, thus your leadership is not one of a dictator but of a loving manager and guide? Do you know where she is and what she is doing? It is true that she is a person in her own right, but Paul says that there is a God-given responsibility to “manage” your wife, with diligence, care, and wisdom.

  1. You should make hospitality more feasible for your wife.

We may think of hospitality being the particular purview of the wife since it would be difficult to show hospitality without her special interest and attention. She is often the cook, baker, and homemaker. But the husband must encourage this service, provide for it, lead in its demonstration, make provision for it to be carried out, and oversee all aspects of this spiritual activity. The overseer or shepherd is to show “hospitality” (1 Timothy 3:2; cf. Titus 1:8). Again and again in Scripture, this quality is emphasized: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2). Peter also stresses this needful activity: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).

While it is true that it would be difficult to show hospitality if one has a belligerent and unbelieving wife, it is also difficult for even a spiritual wife to manifest this quality if the husband doesn’t lead in this or even cooperate with her. It must be a joint effort to make it work well.  One of the major ways that the husband may encourage this spiritual activity is to open his home for gatherings of Christians.  The early Christians were “breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” (Acts 2:46). Not only did the early believers meet together in homes for meals, but they also “gathered together and were praying” in homes (12:12). Priscilla and Aquila opened their homes for the gathering of Christians for edification and worship, as did other men and women in the early believing community (cf. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2).

This shows that the husband should be willing to lead in the opening of his home that others may enjoy Christ-centered, Christ-promoting hospitality. Further, he should never leave the actual work to the hands of his wife, but he should take the lead in this spiritual activity.

  1. Make your home conducive to your wife’s spiritual growth.

The entire physical appearance of a house’s interior can either decrease or increase one’s exposure to Scripture and spiritual interests. Maybe this is one reason the Israelites were required to place portions of the Law on the doorposts of their house (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

The husband can foster a spiritual atmosphere in his house in many ways. Take down and discard worldly wall pictures, posters, and photographs; then replace them with Scripture verses or spiritual slogans. Throw away worldly magazines (“women’s magazines,” “men’s magazines,” and much more), other compromising literature (e.g., books promoting immodesty, evolution, humanism, romance novels, etc.). Have a wide selection of good, interesting, wholesome books and other literature that will form the mind. Throw away any worldly videos, CDs, DVDs, or cassettes that would compromise your ehart and mind. Emphasize God’s creation in various ways (plants, flowers, pictures, etc.). Listen to prerecorded Scripture, wholesome a cappella singing, sound Bible teaching). Throw away your TV and emphasize wholesome pursuits. If your children are young, help your wife to home educate them by providing for her curriculum needs, etc.

As these types of changes are made in your living space, this will help your wife in her own walk with the Lord. By eliminating the bad and emphasizing the good, you will be making a place where growing in the Lord is promoted. God says, “Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight, cease to do evil, learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:16b-17a).  David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me” (Psalm 101:3).

Paul encourages us: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Paul encourages us to renew our minds and this may be done as we concentrate on the Word of God (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Make your home a place where your wife’s spirituality and relationship with the Lord is strongly promoted.

  1. Grow spiritually yourself to become a spiritual husband.

How can you have an impact on your wife if you, yourself, are not spiritual? How can you help and bless your wife if you fail to have a living, saving, active relationship with God? You definitely need to be right with God and experience a daily walk with Him. A secondary benefit of this relationship will be your ability to lead your wife into a deeper walk with the Lord.

Peter commands us: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18a). But how can we grow in Christ? The same apostle answers this: “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 1:2-3). Peter says that we grow by coming to the Word of God. There’s no other way. The husband needs to love the Word, trust in the Word, and diligently seek the Word in order to spiritually grow.

The same apostle says that we need to apply “all diligence” by growing, changing, and adding to our character basic qualities: “In your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). He then explains the result of this spiritual quest: “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). As we grow in this way, “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you”(v. 11).

Husband, are you seeking to grow spiritually, not only for your own need to be close to God your Father, but also for the blessing and benefit of your wife? A wife needs to have a strong, firm, faithful, pure man of integrity as a husband. She needs for her leader and head to be someone she can admire, honor, trust, and love.

  1. Your highest priority must be to bring your wife to Christ.

We’ve discussed many of the responsibilities that a worthy husband has in the marital relationship. Each of them is important and should be implemented by the loving and responsible husband. But far beyond the foregoing points is one that must take the priority. You, the husband, must ensure the salvation of your wife.

The Lord Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The only way to go to heaven is through Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Through Christ, we have forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), redemption (Romans 3:24-25), reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), the gift of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), our access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18), and our heavenly home (John 14:1-3). We can see that it is of utmost importance that you and I and all people come to know God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Just like you, your wife needs Jesus and the assurance of a place in His kingdom.

Consider now the spiritual condition of your wife. It may be that you both were lost and separated from Christ at the time of your marriage, then you came to Jesus. Apparently this is what happened many times when the gospel first reached into the Roman world (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; 1 Peter 3:1-6). In this case, you need to reach your wife for her salvation.

Secondly, perhaps you disobeyed the Lord and foolishly married an unbeliever. Although this is forbidden of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18), it sometimes does happen. If this describes you, you definitely need to repent of this grievous sin and seek God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9); then you need to reach out in compassion and seek your wife’s salvation.

Thirdly, it may be that you and your wife once were devoted followers of Christ, the kind of relationship that should exist (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33). However, your wife may have fallen into sin and cut herself off from Christ and His salvation (Galatians 5:1-4; John 15:1-8; 2 Peter 2:20-22). In this case, you must once again reach out in love and devotion and seek to bring this dear one back to Christ the faithful Shepherd (James 5:19-20; Jude 22-23).

Fourthly, perhaps your wife (and you) was once committed to Jesus and burning hot in His service, but she has allowed “the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word” so that she becomes unfruitful (Mark 4:19). She has allowed a “lukewarm” attitude to overcome her (Revelation 3:15-16) and her love for Christ (and maybe love for you) to grow cold (Matthew 24:12). Maybe even false teaching has lead her astray (2 Peter 3:17). Whatever has happened, your wife needs to be awakened to “diligence,” and become “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” once again (Romans 12:11).

Finally, maybe your wife is presently fervent in spirit, devoted to the Lord, growing in Christ, committed to His will, active in service, deepening her walk with the Lord, learning His Word, and anxiously awaiting Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Jude 21).

We are speaking about the most vital issue here. As a devoted husband who loves your wife, surely you must make her your greatest desire and closest ally in life. You both should seek to glorify God together, worship God together, pray together regularly, study Scripture together, serve the Lord together, reach out to the lost and the saved together, and wait for Christ’s return together.

To do this, you should seek to be a good example of Christlike character before your wife (1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7). You should earnestly thank God for your wife and pray for her needs and growth (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Romans 10:1). You should seek to build your wife up in knowledge and understanding, by your teaching, reproof, correction, and training (2 Timothy 3:15-17). On a daily basis, you should encourage your wife to grow in knowledge and likeness to Jesus. Don’t be obnoxious, but kindly and lovingly and gently lead her in the ways of God.

As you follow these guidelines, you will be occupied in the most important aspect of your relationship with your dear loved one. We are not dealing with your vital role as a father in this study, but that too could be covered for it is second in importance to your relationship with your wife.

Men, are You a Worthy Husband?

marriage

Are You a Worthy Husband?

Husband, what has gone through your mind as you have read these ways you are to love and serve your wife?  Are you willing to humble yourself and admit your error and your need to improve in your “husbandly” attitudes and activities?

Many wives have shed tears over their husband since these men have not been men of God who loved, cared, and manifested spiritual qualities. They have been more interested in sports, the TV, their job, house repairs, music, or their hobbies. You may be a good employee, a skillful businessman, an accomplished athlete, but if you fail in your responsibilities as a husband, you have utterly failed.

We know that in some cases, the major fault is with the wife. Yes, we read that “the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping” (Proverbs 19:13). “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (21:9; cf. v. 19; 25:24; 27:15). If the wife is carnal and uncaring, unloving and disrespectful, insubmissive and lazy, lustful and domineering, boisterous and bitter, it may very well be difficult to fulfill the full range of your husbandly duties that God would ideally wants. But your responsibility is to fulfill all that you can possibly do. You may not be able to relate to your wife or your children in the ideal and blessed way that God has instructed, but you can do all that you possibly can, with His help and grace.

If we fail to fulfill our obligations as husbands, there is a serious warning to us: “He who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality” (Colossians 3:25). This is a warning if we fail when we do have the possibility to carry out God’s will in marriage. But what about the reverse: how does God look on a husband who sincerely wishes to be an ideal husband but is hindered by an unspiritual, disrespectful, rebellious, and contentious wife? Paul answers: “Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:8). These two verses show that we are responsible to do what we can do and we aren’t responsible to do what we can’t do.

Look at Your Life

Husbands, many of you need to consider all the scriptures we have examined and then look at your own life. Have you neglected your duties? Have you failed to carry out God’s will for the husband? Have you been carnal and worldly instead of passionate toward God and spiritual in character? It is true that your wife may be seriously at fault and guilty before God, but it is even more important for you—the husband—to be concerned about your own standing before the Lord. If you have fallen short of being the “perfect” husband you should be, now is the time to repent, seek God’s forgiveness, and ask for a new start in your “husbandly” responsibilities.

James speaks to you and me: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (4:8-10). God calls on you to humble yourself, admit your errors, confess your sins, and seek His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). He wants you to be an honorable, responsible, respectable, sensible, and sincere man of God who strives to be a faithful husband to your wife.

Husband, your wife needs you to begin putting her first, after your relationship to God. She needs you to love, honor, and cherish her. She needs you to be the father God wants you to be for your children (Ephesians 6:4). She needs to know that you are a passionate man who loves God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength and who loves others sincerely (Mark 12:28-31). She needs to know that you deeply love her—this precious gift from God. One day you will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” so that you will be “recompensed” for your deeds in the body, according to what you have done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Have you done “good” or “bad” in your marriage?

Whatever you do, be willing to obey God (John 14:21-24), do His will (1 John 2:17), and submit to His commands (1 John 5:2-3). The Bible has much to say to you, the husband. How are you responding to His commands? Are you sincerely seeking to do His will regarding the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of the husband? If your wife is gentle, quiet, considerate, and loving—obey God. If your wife is contentious, disobedient, insubmissive, and disrespectful—obey God. If your wife is affectionate, kind, passionate, diligent, and ambitious—obey God. And if your wife is distant, cruel, boisterous, lazy, and worldly—obey God. Regardless of your wife’s response or lack of response, you must always obey God.

Husband, aim to be a “perfect” husband even when we don’t reach this high calling and desire. Be absolutely diligent in your efforts to fulfill God’s will in your marriage. Will God acknowledge your sincere, honorable, diligent desire to be a good husband—or will He fail to recognize this quest? The choice is yours. And God will be your Helper!

Prayer

Dear God my Father, I come to you in the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I, as a husband, need your divine wisdom, your supernatural strength, your spiritual enablement, and your Scriptural instruction. Of myself, I am ignorant and prone to error, thus I need your help so very much. I have committed myself to my wife for life and am to love her with all of my heart. I am to guide, lead, serve, teach, model, cherish, and nurture this dear woman you have given to me. Regardless of her response or lack of response, regardless of her attitude or character, you hold me responsible to be the best possible husband I can be.

Help me to admit my errors and confess my sins to her, when need be, and help me to have the ability to face the world and Satan with your strength, so that I might be the strong, wise, and responsible man that I need to be. Help me to be a “Man of God” in all of my relationship with her. When I fail, lift me up; when I am weak, please make me strong; when I allow carnal attitudes to arise, give me your Holy Spirit to produce your fruit in abundance. Dear God my Father, help me to be the husband I want to be and the husband you want me to be. May I lead this dear woman into the ways of righteousness and hand, in hand, may you lead me to guide my wife into your blessed Kingdom. Amen!

(Note: Our use of several photos above does not mean that we would approve of the appearance and evident lifestyle manifested here.)

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