As we approach the new year what do you see as areas where you see that you need to improve as a husband? In Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. Below are some suggested areas where we as husbands may need to improve.
Ten Duties of a Christian Husband
- Provide for Her – Ephesians 5:27-28 tells us that husbands are to “nourish” or literally provide for the physical needs of their wife as they do their own bodies. Are you providing for your wife’s needs to the best of your ability? Remember that a man’s provision for his wife’s needs is a picture of God’s provision for his people. If your wife is the primary provider, you are breaking the model God meant for you to display. It is one thing if you are disabled or ran into some unforeseen financial crisis necessitating that your wife be the provider, but this should be the exception and not the norm.
- Protect Her– Ephesians 5:27-28 tells us that husbands are to “cherish” their wives. This does not mean what our modern “cherish” means which is to put your wife on a pedestal and worship her. It means to protect her. God says that husbands should protect their wives as they do their own bodies. That means we keep her safe from all kinds harm – both physical and spiritual.
- Discipline Her – Ephesians 5:25-27 tells husbands that they are called to wash their wives’ spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God just as Christ does his Church. This is the reason men are told to give themselves up. Many men today give up their leadership for their wife’s happiness, when God calls them to lead which sometimes requires sacrificing their own and their wife’s happiness in the process. In Revelation 3:19 Christ speaking of himself as a husband to his churches stated “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. No woman is perfect just as no man is perfect. That means if you never find yourself rebuking and chastening(disciplining) your wife then you are not loving her as Christ does his Church.
- Teach Her– In 1 Corinthians 14:35 we read that women are to be taught in spiritual matters by their husbands in their home. Do you take an active and intentional role in teaching your wife the Word of God? This goes beyond the washing of the word for discipline. This is taking a whole encompassing approach to teaching the whole counsel of God to your wife.
- Rule Over Her – In 1 Timothy 3:4 we are told that men need to rule well their own homes. Are you the ruler of your home? This is about much more than being the discipliner or even teacher of your home. The Ruler gives a vision and sets rules and policies in the home. Your wife needs a clear vision from you so that she can help to manage your home around that vision. For instance, some men delegate the paying of the bills to their wives and that is ok. But you cannot delegate your responsibility to give your wife principles and policies by which to pay the bills. You need to set the policies for how much will be saved, how much will be given to the church or other charities and how much will be used to pay off debts.
- Show Her Grace – In Psalm 86:15 we are told that God is full of compassion and grace. We as men are called to image God in the lives of our wives. Grace is unmerited favor. In marriage it means doing kind things for your wife not because she deserves it, but because in spite of the fact that she does not. Compassion is showing sympathy for your wife’s sufferings and misfortunes even if sometimes she has brought these things on herself by her own bad decisions or wrong behavior.
- Show Her Mercy – In Psalm 103:8 we are told that God is plenteous in mercy and slow to anger. Mercy means not giving someone the punishment or discipline they deserve. Maybe you have no problem ruling over your wife but are you are not so plenteous in mercy and are quick to anger with your wife. God calls us to picture his mercy in our wife’s life.
- Know Her – In I Peter 3:7 we read that husbands are to live with their wives according to knowledge and if we don’t God will not hear our prayers as husbands. Do you take the time to know your wife? You cannot know her without speaking to her on a regular basis. And you cannot wash her or teach her or rule over her without knowing her. If you will not hear your wife’s petitions God will not hear yours. That does not mean we have to give our wives what they want just as God does not give us everything we ask for. Also, knowing her is not just talking to her, but it is also having sex with her. The Bible actually uses the same word “to know” for both knowing someone spiritually and emotionally as well as as sexually – see Genesis 4:1.
- Honor Her – In I Peter 3:7 we read that husbands are to honor their wives and in Ephesians 6:2 we read that children are to honor their mother. Do you show proper honor to your wife? Do you make your children honor your wife as their mother?
- Praise Her – In Proverbs 31:28 we read that the husband of the virtuous wife praises her and her children do as well. Do you set the example for your children in praising your wife when she does something well? For instance, do you praise her for meals that are well cooked? Or when she redecorates the house do you notice? Do you praise her for being a good mother to your children? Do you praise her for doing well in the marriage bed? No woman is perfect and some are far less perfect than others. And we are not talking about praising her for doing nothing but breathing and taking up space. If she is lazy in certain areas don’t praise her for things she does not do. But many women at least do some things that are praiseworthy – do you find ways to praise your wife.
What about a husband loving his wife?
Someone might ask after reading the list above, where is the duty of a husband to love his wife? If you read Ephesians 5:25-29 you will have your answer:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
These ten things I have just shown are the very definition of the love of a husband toward his wife according the God’s Word. You see the problem we have today is that we only see love in one way, and that is in one person showing affection or kindness toward another. Now affection and kindness are certainly not bad things and husbands should show love toward their wives in these ways as well. But the Bible never defines affection as the definition of a husband’s love toward his wife. A husband’s love for his wife is supposed to flow from his sense of duty, it is a love based in a conscious choice of the will, not one based in emotion.
So What Are Your Goals as a Husband for 2019?
Having read each of the 10 duties above – where do you see that improvement on your part needs to be made? Maybe you are great at ruling, disciplining and teaching your wife but you are light on the mercy and grace side? Other Christian husbands might think they are great at showing mercy and grace but what they are really doing is failing to discipline and rule over their wives. Too much discipline and ruling(control) can lead to tyranny but too much grace and mercy can lead to dereliction of duty and apathy.
Maybe you rule well over her, discipline her and teach her but you fail to ever praise her for anything that she does well. Or maybe you allow your children to speak to her in disrespectful ways thus failing to honor her position as your wife and the mother of your children.
Maybe you are a great provider but you never take the time to know your wife. So because you don’t know her current struggles you cannot properly teach her or wash her with the Word.
Maybe your family is harsh and unloving toward your wife. Do you protect your wife from nasty relatives? Maybe you live in a dangerous area where you should have a firearm in the home to make your wife feel safer. Maybe on the spiritual front you need to protect your wife from harmful influences from friends or relatives? Maybe you need to protect your wife from herself? Perhaps she has some self-destructive tendencies?
Here Are My Goals as Husband for 2019
To help my fellow brothers in Christ get ideas for improvement I decided to share my list for this coming year. I have asked God to search my heart and this is what I came up with.
- I provide for my wife (we are a bit tight right now, but I can say I work as much as I can with all my responsibilities).
- I protect my wife by having a fire arm (locked in a safe of course), protect her from certain family members and also protect her from herself (she some anxiety and depression issues).
- I discipline her in correcting and rebuking her when she disrespects me or contradicts me in front of my children or other groups. I sometimes remove some free time I would have spent with her when she really gets out of line.
- I teach her the Word of God on a regular basis. Sometimes she feels it is too much, but she can’t say she does not learn about many parts of the Bible from me regularly.
- Ruling over her is an area that has been a continual need of improvement especially in the financial area. This is an area where I have not strictly enforced our weekly and monthly budget and that is one of my goals for 2019 to get our debt under control. Some of it we cannot help because of her medical issues but we can do better. I also want to give more to the church this year.
- Grace is one that may be just right or needing a little improvement. I do show my wife a lot of grace by doing things for her despite her lack of submission and sometimes just utter contentiousness. And no I don’t just mean doing things around the house. I mean buying her things she does not need (but just wants).
- I think I show her a lot of mercy. If I took my wife to task for every disrespectful word or un-submissive attitude she displayed I would be disciplining her just about every day several times a day. Let’s just say my wife is a strong willed, critical and stubborn person many times. And believe it or not I am the one that everybody says is easy going and very patient and forgiving. I know my detractors won’t believe that but it is the truth.
- In the area of knowing her I think I do that pretty well even if she would always like more of my time to veg with her. Wednesday night is date night for us. It just works out good that way for me with my work schedule. We often stay home because my wife does not like to go out as much as she thinks she does(LOL). But even when we stay home it is us spending 4 to 6 hours alone in our room just watching shows and talking. We also talk on other nights of the week as well, but it’s not as long and not just us as we will have my children around.
- In the area of honoring her I think there could be some room for improvement. You have to be careful though with honor as it can become a loaded term especially for Christian feminists. Christian feminists will say if you rebuke your wife you are dishonoring her when that contradicts what the Bible says. But where I see need for improvement is with my children. One of my teens (he is autistic) has a real problem with my wife and is very disrespectful to her as his step mother sometimes. I do take him to task and punish him from time to time. The problem is that my wife sometimes just riles him up. Also my wife is also hyper sensitive about disrespect from my kids. This is a running joke between her and I where I have told her “If I was as sensitive toward your disrespect of me as you are at our teens you would never hear the end of it”. But alas – I think I could be a bit harder on the kids about this.
- In the area of praise, I suppose there is always room for improvement. I do praise my wife when she does cook and tell her in detail what I liked about the meal. I also praise her when she cleans the house. I certainly praise her when she does well in the bedroom. But I think sometimes I miss when does nice things and forget to praise her. The problem with my wife is that she is disabled so I end up doing a big part of the laundry and cooking and other household things. It also affects our love life as well more sometimes than others. So sometimes it is very hard to find anything to praise her for when she has literally just laid around for days or a week and I have done most everything. And it is hard to find opportunities to praise her for her performance in the bedroom when nothing has happened in a while or when the last few times were just phoned in. But again, this is an area that I as her husband can always improve on.
I look forward to hearing what you as Christian husbands are struggling with and where you think you need to improve. As the Scriptures tell us in Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend”.