Below are ten duties that the Bible shows every Christian husband has toward his wife.
- 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. But 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?
Someone might ask after reading this list, where is the duty to love her? 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 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.