A man’s relationship with his wife is the closest human relationship he will ever experience. It is so close that Jesus described it as becoming “one flesh” (Matthew 19:6), that Paul likened it to Christ, the Head, with His spiritual body, the Church. Thus, what he does for her, he does for himself, but what is the Christian husband’s obligation to his wife?
He has made a lifelong commitment to his wife, and divorce is only permitted by God for the cause of adultery (Matthew 19:9) God intended for one man and one woman to live together for life, but never intended for a married couple to be divorced. (Matthew 19:6).
If a husband is to live with his wife for a lifetime without considering divorce as an option, he has to make and keep a lifelong commitment to her. “Till death do us part” cannot be just words in a wedding ceremony, but words that reflect the determination in his heart.
At present times such commitment is often lacking, and when the romantic love or sexual attraction which drew husband and wife together cools off, any little problem is reason enough to get a divorce. The husband realizes that his wife is not so physically attractive anymore, she nags, and the girl at work seems so pretty and sweet, he is likely to start thinking about breaking up and starting over with someone else.
What can keep this from happening? The husband must take his commitment seriously! He must determine, no matter what problems arise, he must remain true to his wife.
(1 Cor 7:2-5) A Christian husband must keep the promise to keep himself for his wife alone and will resist committing adultery because he knows that adultery is a sin which involves more than 2 people.
Adultery would be sin against God, his wife, the woman with whom he committed adultery and her husband (if she were married). It would break the vow he made, it would likely affect his entire family, and it contributes to the disintegration of society. Adultery is a terrible blow to the church, it would soil his soul. It would bring to him disastrous consequences, even if he later obtained forgiveness for the sin, or it would bring him to hell if he does not repent. Sinning also gives a victory to Satan.
He owes it to his wife to act as the head of the family. (Eph 5:21; Col 3:18, 19; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Cor 11:2-5) The bible teaches that man is to lead the home. The bible is not teaching that the man has absolute power over his wife.
Every man has to under 3 truths about his headship. 1) Found in a context of mutual submission (Eph 5:21). The man and the wife are to submit to each other. He leads as a servant; his aim is to serve his wife. 2) His headship is characterized by love. He is to love his wife as he loves himself (Eph 5:33), as he loves his own body (Eph 5:28), and Christ’s sacrificial love for the Church (Eph 5:25). 3) His headship is exercised in ways that are culturally and personally acceptable. Different cultures, different times and different family backgrounds see the headship of a man differently. What is important is not what others think about your family, but what you know to be true.
To the Christian man, leadership is not so much a privilege to be enjoyed as responsibility to be borne. Upon him falls the task of guiding the family toward and enduring marriage and a successful home.
If the wife owes her husband submission, he owes her love, as much as Christ had for the church (Eph 5:21-29). Christ’s love was selfless and sacrificial, and the Christian husband’s love for his wife must be that kind of love. How does he show that love?
The husband ought to keep romantic love alive in the marriage. Generally, the wife is more likely to be interested in romance that the husband. So, he should take it upon himself to keep the romance alive; he should woo his wife continually with kisses, hugs, gifts, poetry, and frequent affirmations of love. Why? Not because he feels the need for it, but because she does-and since he loves her, he wants to meet her emotional needs.
He should also strive to be like the person defined in 1 Cor 13:4-7.
Meeting The Wife’s Needs
1 Tim 5:8 would certainly apply to a man’s providing for his wife and children. It does not teach that it would be wrong for the woman to contribute to meeting the needs of the family by holding a job, but it does teach that a man should work to provide for his family. If he willfully refuses to work to support his own, he is to be disciplined (2 Thess 3:6-15).
While a husband has the responsibility to meet the physical needs of his family, he also has the responsibility to meet the family’s other needs. The wife, in particular, has psychological, emotional, and social needs which the husband should recognize. She wants to be reassured that she is somebody special to him. Women often suffer from low self-esteem, and the husband must take seriously his wife’s feelings of low self-esteem. Too frequently, a husband makes his wife feel worse by criticizing her.
Honour and Respect
Two requirements are placed upon husbands: to be understanding and to treat heir wives with respect. (1 Peter 3:7). A husband can try to be understanding toward his wife, and he can certainly make an effort to be considerate of her. Husbands also should “respect” their wives. Good wives are due great honour (Proverbs 31:10-29). He can solve his wife’s problem of low self-esteem if he will respect her as a person of worth, honour her, praise her and never criticize her.
The most important responsibility God has give to husbands is to be the spiritual leader of the Family. Fathers are to bring their children up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). A major concern of the New Testament passages which deal with the husband/wife relationship is the spiritual dimension of the marriage. (1 Cor 7:5; 1 Peter 3:7).
The father must see that his children are taught the way of God, that the family studies the Bible and engages in devotions at home, that they attend worship services together and that his children have Christian examples to follow. The also has the responsibility to encourage and strengthen his wife so that they can one day be in heaven together.
In short, the Christian husband is to do everything in his power to serve his wife, make her happy, meet her needs, and help her go to heaven. A good wife’s worth is “far above jewels” (Prov 31:10).