Sins of Husbands and Wives!



Sins of Husbands and Wives!

Sins of Husbands and Wives!

Richard Hollerman

We know that Scripture plainly affirms, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We also read, “There is none righteous, not even one” (3:10). Solomon wisely declared, “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46b). It is obvious that sin abounds and this is found in both Christians and non-Christians. As James reminds us, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2a).

But when we notice plain verses like these, we may fail to apply them to our own situation in life. One of the chief ways that we fail the Lord, disobey His word, and neglect His will is in the marital relationships. We refer to the sins that the husband may commit against his wife, and the sins that the wife may commit against her husband. This is where so many sins each day are committed—unless we are mature believers in Christ and consistently submit to His will.

We’re probably aware when someone sins against us out in the world, on the job, or in other contexts in life, but what about the relationship of marriage? Even here, we may become aware—even keenly aware—of the offenses of our marriage partner. However, what about our own sin? Do we pay much attention to the way that we, personally, sin against our spouse?

Let’s discuss this important matter. Obviously, we can discuss the subject at length, but we must just briefly notice some of the chief ways that a husband may sin against his wife, and the ways that a wife may sin against her husband.

Sins of the Husband


Sins of Husbands and Wives!

Let’s begin with the husband and look at some common sinful characteristics that must be corrected.

1. Lack of leadership

One of the saddest laments of a sincere wife is that her husband refuses to take the lead in the marriage and family—particularly the spiritual lead. The husband or father has a special and important role to play here. How does God look on this? “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Husband, do you recognize and embrace this headship? Are you keenly aware of it in all you do? Not only are you to “lead” your wife in all areas, but particularly you should be leading your wife in spiritual matters. How might this be done? Lead out in prayer, in Bible reading, in Bible study, in singing and worship, in meeting with the saints.

Lead also in directing your wife and family in financial matters, in where to live, in house repairs, in the use of time, and in dietary matters. So many wives weep that their husband is lazy and unconcerned about the Lord. Don’t let this to be true of you! Not only is the husband to be “head” over his wife, but also “head” over his family. The elder or overseer in the community of Christ, for instance, is to be head in the family: “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (1 Timothy 3:4). The servants (deacons) are also to be “good managers of their children and their own households (v. 12). What is true of the overseer and servant is also true of you—if you are a husband or father.

Consider also this. Many husbands have become weary of trying to lead in the family because his wife insists on elevating herself or taking the lead herself. There must be an understanding that the husband is to “wear the pants” in the family. He is to be the leader or the one in authority (in the Bible, head means the one in authority). If you have neglected this vital aspect of your role as a husband, be willing to repent before the Lord, your wife, and your family—and begin to lead your wife and children differently.

2.Lack of love

The husband may automatically think that he “loves” is wife, but consider again. God saw the importance of this for we have the clear admonition, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19). If you do have a Christ-like love for your wife, you will not harbor a bitter attitude toward her. But notice the longer section is Ephesians 5:22-33. There we read, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (vv. 25-26). Paul adds, “Each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself” (v. 33a).

Do you have a sincere, genuine, outgoing, unselfish love for your wife that seeks her highest good and continues to do good even when your wife fails to show her proper regard and respect? A husband may think that he is no longer obligated to love his wife if she has assumed the role of “head” in the family. But even when the wife has been leading in the marriage and family, the husband is to blame for willingly abdicating his responsibility to love with a sacrificial, self-giving love. A husband is to “love his own wife even as himself” (Ephesians 5:33). Do you love like this?


Most husbands are part of the world, and even when some men come to Christ, they often think like the world, talk like the world, and do the same things as does the world. Scripture leaves no room to doubt about what God thinks of this common failing: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be renewed by the renewing of you mind” (Romans 12:2a). James is plain: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4; cf. 1:27). John also admonishes us, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The man who is a Christian must recognize that he is to be against the world and its evil ways, for surely the world is at war against the follower of Christ and His godly values. It may be that some men don’t know how much they offend and even anger the God of heaven with their worldly perspectives and worldly demeanor! And your dear wife must somehow endure this worldly attitude and interest!  It is time for men to repent of this attitude and adopt a spiritual attitude that is totally counter to the world and its evil ways. Husband, renounce your interest in cars, sports, the internet, entertainment, TV, worldly music, carnal literature, and materialism. Begin to be devoted to the Lord, to His Word, to His ways, and to His people!


Scripture is clear about this! Paul counsels his readers by saying, “not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Proverbs especially warns against the trap of laziness or slothfulness (Proverbs 10:26; 15:19). Solomon says, “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys” (18:9).

Friend, are you one who likes to lay around the house, the proverbial “couch potato”? Do you enjoy lying in the hammock or sleeping late in bed—when you should be up and active in your work? Are you lax on the job as well as lax at home? Do you rather sit down and allow your dear wife to work around the house, when you should be actively blessing the family with your household repairs, yard work, and other responsible activities?  In regard to spiritual pursuits, are you lazy in your Bible reading and study? Are you lazy in your prayer life and worship? Are you lax in your meeting with other Christians? And are you lazy in regard to the many good works you should be involved in? Beware, for Jesus connects laziness and wickedness and says that they will be severely punished! (Matthew 25:26).

5.Lack of a fatherly attitude

Most men who are married are also fathers. In other words, in marrying your wife, you have become a father to one or more children (with a few exceptions). Just as it is very common for men to be poor husbands, it is also common for men to be irresponsible and sinful fathers! It takes more than conception for a man to be a father; it takes extensive involvement in the life of a child!

God’s Word plainly says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Colossians 3:21). A father has a huge and important place to fill in the life of a child. Beyond this, your wife is depending on your to love, to teach, to train, and to discipline your children. When you fail to be a responsible father, you offend and sin against your wifeLustful and Carnal Attitude and Activity

6. Lustful and Carnal Attitude and Activity

Men have always been prone to have a carnal attitude that is manifested in multiple ways. Sex has become a “god” in the life of numerous men! Fornication and adultery have been rampant. Pornography has especially grown in availability during the twentieth century, and presently online pornography and pornographic sites have become a dominating influence in the life of millions of men! Polls indicate that the majority of men have sought out pornographic sites and this includes even preachers and ministers! By pornography we mean “sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).

Most men are aware that God wants them to be pure, holy, and chaste, but perhaps they don’t realize the degree of abhorrence that God has regarding sexual liberties and perversion in the life of men (and women!).  Scripture says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Paul wrote, “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

Even sexually immoral talk must be strictly avoided (v. 4). Why? “No immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (v. 5). This means that even if a professing “Christian” partakes of sexually immoral thought, words, and activity, he will not inherit God’s coming kingdom! As Paul points out, “This is the will of God, your sanctification [holiness]; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3; cf. vv. 2-8). Those guilty of unrepented fornication or sexual immorality cannot inherit God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21) but will be cast into the fires of hell (Revelation 21:8).

Husbands, God wants better for you! Your wife deserves and needs a real man of God!  As a bumper sticker has it, “Real men love Jesus!” If you love the Lord and love your wife, you will avoid sexual jokes, sexual activities, print and online pornography, sexual movies and TV programs, and going to places where sexual activity occurs. Avoid mixed bathing where one sees the opposite gender in various forms of undress (such as modern bathing suits!). Avoid looking at women who are scantily clothed in any public place. Avoid sinful and sexual type of music. All of this will be a way for you to love and honor your wife and for you to be a man of God!

Sins of the Wife


Sins of the Husband and Wife!

Not only is the husband often to blame for offenses in the home, but the wife also shares the blame. She also sins—against God and against her husband—and we must discuss this also.


As in the case of the husband, wives also must reckon with this matter of laziness or slothfulness. We may think of some wives who work long hours on the job, then come home and spend additional hours working around the house—preparing meals, washing the dishes, doing laundry, caring for the children, and so much more. Yet, on the other hand, there are millions of wives who stay at home and spend their days watching quiz programs, soap operas, and other worldly programs on the TV. Millions of women also read lustful and compromising romance novels. Think also of the numerous women who don’t rise at daybreak but sleep until 9, 10, or 11 AM. All of these factors show that countless women do need to deal with the sin of laziness!

Wife, do you allow your husband to shoulder all of the responsibilities in and out of the house, while you occupy yourself with unessential and worldly pursuits? Are you busy in your endeavors or are you apathetic in your labors? Read over the description of the “excellent wife” in Proverbs 31:10-31 and there we see the incessant activity of the woman in regard to her husband and family. Does this sound like the 21st Century woman of our day? If you follow Jesus, be willing to actively serve the Lord through your marriage and family.

2.Insubordination or insubmission

One of the chief sins of most women (we would estimate at well over 90 percent) in this radically feminist age is that of insubordination. In our culture, it is even difficult to discuss this sensitive issue without being accused of chauvinism or misogyny! Since our society as a whole has succumbed to a feminism that is so pervasive and even professing “Christian” women (and men!) have “bought” into this perspective, it is extremely difficult for sincere, honest, and God-fearing women to break out of this deception and adopt a Biblical worldview.

Even in the first century New Testament period, it must have been difficult for women to understand and accept their role in life, as given by God our Creator. Presumably this is one reason why women are so frequently commanded to be submissive to their husbands. Maybe we should notice the basic background or foundation of the male-female roles as found at 1 Corinthians 11:3: “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” Notice in this hated verse that “the man is the head of a woman.”

Although Paul’s words here apply to the male-female relationship (contrary to the NIV that interprets this to refer to the husband-wife relationship alone), the vast majority of women would clearly object and rebel against this truth. And, interestingly enough, probably most men (even preachers and teachers) would simply go along with the cultural understanding that this verse (and all of the similar verses) merely reflects first-century oppressive culture. No, Paul is giving basic or fundamental truth here and the Scripture-respecting person must be willing to accept it as God has given it.

Scripture is clear. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. . . . As the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22, 24). Further, “the wife must see to it that she respect her husband” (v. 33). Paul writes, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). The wife is not to “teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 5:11-15). Further, wives are to be “subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5).

This submission even involves subordination to an unbelieving or disobedient husband: “Be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1). This submission to the husband (v. 5) even involves obedience (v. 6). Are there no exceptions to this command for women to be in submission to their husband? The wife must never disobey, dishonor, or reject the Lord and His Word to obey her husband. God must always come first! “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29; cf. 4:19-20; 1 Peter 3:6). Thus, if there is a difference between what a husband requires and what God requires, the godly wife must always put her Lord and God first!

3.A boisterous, loud, belligerent, contentious attitude and speech

God values a woman’s quiet attitude and demeanor. As Peter puts it, “Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4). Many men and women don’t value this kind of quality, but God does! A woman is to be “gentle” (and not masculine or domineering) and “quiet” (not loud, boisterous, or belligerent). God finds this attitude to be “precious”—regardless of what a man or woman thinks of it. Not only is the wife not to be domineering over her husband, but she is also to be quiet, submissive, patient, calm, and peaceful.

We read in Proverbs of the “boisterous and rebellious” woman whose “feet do not remain at home” (7:11). Proverbs also emphasizes how ungodly it is for a woman to be contentious or “hard to get along with.” We read, “The contentions of a wife are a constant dripping” (19:13b). “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (21:9). “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman” (v. 19; see also 25:24).  “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike” (27:15). Contentious means “given to contention; quarrelsome” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). All of these statements show how grieving it is for a woman to have an argumentative, quarrelsome, bitter, debating spirit that seeks to debate with a man, especially a husband.

Wife, do you practice a “quiet” spirit (1 Timothy 2:11-12)? Are you “silent” in public (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)? Do you have a womanly, feminine gentleness, sweetness, kindness, and helpfulness? Do you have a “servant heart”? Or are you proud of a masculine, domineering, “bossy,” and authoritative spirit? Do you strive to be like a woman of the world that competes with men and enjoys having an authority over them? Be willing to repent of this un-womanly attitude and begin to value what God values, which is precious in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4).

4.Busybody attitude and gossiping spirit

Another sin of the woman or wife would be having a “busybody” attitude. Paul writes of “idle” women who “go around from house to house,” and become “gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Timothy 5:13). We also read of some people who led “an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busy-bodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11). The term in Timothy is phluaros, found only there in the New Testament, and this comes from phluo, meaning “to boil up” or “throw up bubbles” of water, thus “to indulge in empty and foolish talk” (Thayer, quoted by Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament).

We know that some women have a reputation of indulging in gossip, tale-bearing, or slander. Solomon said, “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13). We also are warned, “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip” (20:19). Consider also: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (10:19; cf. 17:27-28). The Christian who values truth-telling, secret-keeping, honesty, trustworthiness, and right-speaking will be especially careful with the use of her mouth. “Who who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles” (21:23). Let the sincere wife take warning.

5.Failure to help

Some people today (including certain liberal teachers and preachers) believe in what has been call an “egalitarian” spirit or an egalitarian relationship in marriage. The term egalitarian means, “affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, and social rights for all people” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). This has become so much a part of modern thinking (promoted in the political, educational, entertainment areas) that most men and women just assume that this perspective is to be accepted without question! But God finds this to be an abomination!

At the very beginning of the human race, in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). One source says, “’Helper’ (Hebrew ‘ezer) is one who supplies strength in the area that is lacking in ‘the helped.’ The term does not imply that the helper is either stronger or weaker than the one helped. ‘Fit for him’ or ‘matching him’ is not the same as ‘like him’; a wife is not her husband’s clone but complements him” (ESV Study Bible). Notice that the woman was made or created to be a “helper” for the man—in this case, the husband. In the New Testament era, Paul writes, “Man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9).

Since the woman is to be her husband’s “helper” in a special sense (instead of the husband being the “helper” for his wife), she should not have an independent spirit that finds the meaning in life apart from her husband.  A woman who would aspire to become an American President has a spirit diametrically opposed to what God wants in a woman, whether single, or a wife, or a mother! The wife should do all she can to have a “helping” spirit in the home and elsewhere. When she fails in this important task, she sins against her husband, her family, and God Himself.

6. Competing Interests

Women who want to walk as followers of Christ know that they should put Jesus first in all things. They should realize that their lives should be filled with prayer (Ephesians 6:18), Bible reading and study (Acts 17:11), singing and praise (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19-20), and sharing Jesus with friends, family, neighbors, and others (Mark 16:15). Christ is to have “first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18b).

However, women (as well as men) often are distracted by many other interests, activities, and pastimes. Some women actually watch TV for 20, 30, or 40 hours a week if they are at home! Other women go out and find a job (or continue in an unneeded job) when there are a massive number of important, priority activities to do at home for the Lord (cf. 1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:4-5).  Still other women don’t take the time and effort to home educate their children but send them off to the public schools for the world to indoctrinate them into secularism, humanism, evolutionism, and other forms of “child abuse”! There are women who major on foods and food preparation, wasting many hours a week on unneeded kitchen tasks. Other women become engrossed in the latest fashions or other pastimes. Someone has said that “the good has become the enemy of the best,” and this is true of women. One can devote so much to the good aspects of daily life that there is very little time left over for the “best”—the eternal and spiritual aspects.

Scripture encourages us to “be able to discern what is best” in all things (Philippians 1:10, NIV), and many women have such misplaced values that they don’t discern what is best in the use of time, the use of money, or the use of their skills and talents. Not only does the husband suffer, the children also suffer when the wife and mother pursues worldly things at the expense of the domestic affairs of life (Proverbs 31:10-31; 2 Timothy 1:5). The husband needs a “helper” in the home; he needs a lover; he needs a mother for the children; he needs a woman who is rich in “good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Timothy 2:10). The woman should ponder all of these matters and seek forgiveness for any shortcomings.

Be Willing to Repent

and be the Spouse God Wants You to Be!

We’ve seen a number of leading sins that characterize many husbands and wives through the years. These must be fully repented of and new response patterns must be developed. Have you failed in any of these matters? Do you find yourself to be living and acting like men or women of the world? Now is the time to repent and get right with God. Further, now is the time to repent before your spouse, admit your wrongful attitudes and actions, and begin to live before the Lord as a new creature in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Another way to say this is that you must “lay aside” “your former manner of life” and you must “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24). We must turn away from the sins of our heart, mouth, body, and spirit, then we must become like Christ in our responses and attitudes (cf. 4:25-32; Colossians 3:5-17). Be willing to cast off the sins of the usual worldly husband or wife, and be transformed into a man or woman of God who is truly a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Be a husband or wife who is filled with love, joy, peace, and all of the other fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is the way to find blessing for yourself and be a blessing to your husband or wife!




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