Being a godly husband is a high calling that comes with great responsibility. The Bible gives clear instructions on how a man is to love and lead his wife. As society changes, these biblical principles remain constant. God’s design for marriage is beautiful, and following His ways leads to blessing and fulfillment. This article will explore what God requires of husbands according to Scripture.
Lead Your Wife Spiritually
A primary role of the husband is to be the spiritual leader in the home. God calls men to guide their wives and children in following the Lord. This leadership begins with his own devoted relationship with Christ. A husband cannot lead where he has not been himself. He is to set the tone for the family by reading the Word, prayer, worship, and service. His wife should see Christ reflected in his words, attitudes, and actions on a daily basis.
This spiritual leadership also involves instructing his wife and children in the truth of Scripture. He should be actively discipling them. A husband should know the Word well himself so he can teach it and apply it to life situations. He can read the Bible together with his wife, discuss theological questions, pray together, and so on. The husband bears the responsibility before God to raise his children in the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
In addition to formal times of instruction, a godly husband will also model following Christ in everyday life. His wife should see how he handles challenges, forgives, serves others, resists temptation, and makes decisions based on scriptural principles. His life should affirm the truth of God’s Word.
Love Your Wife Sacrificially
The Bible repeatedly commands husbands to love their wives. But this is not romantic, emotional love based on feelings. God calls husbands to purposefully and sacrificially love their wives the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). This agape love goes far beyond infatuation and is characterized by selflessness and service.
What does it look like to love as Christ loves? Jesus willingly left heaven, took on human flesh, and died in agony on the cross to ransom sinners. He gave everything He had for the eternal good of those He loved. Husbands are called to have this kind of deep, sacrificial love that pursues the wife’s highest joy in Jesus above personal comfort or selfish gain.
Practically, this means putting her needs and desires before your own in everyday life. Listen well when she shares her heart. Be thoughtful in doing kind acts that make her life easier. Guard your speech from unkind words. Seek to understand her unique ways of thinking and learning. Go out of your way to nurture emotional and spiritual intimacy. Make decisions together. Give preference to her and make sure she knows she is a top priority.
Care For Your Wife
Along with sacrificial love, a husband is also commanded to care for his wife’s wellbeing. “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29). A husband should treat his wife’s needs as importantly as his own.
This means making sure she is provided for materially. While responsibilities may vary in different marriages, in general the Bible indicates that husbands have the primary duty to put food on the table, clothes on her back, and a roof over her head. Work diligently at your job or calling to financially care for your family.
Caring also involves protecting her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do not allow abuse of any kind. Guard her purity from sexual immorality. Do not expose her to corrupting influences. Seek to build her up with words of affirmation and loving discipline.
Husbands must spend quality time with their wives to provide this care. Be present and engaged. Get to know who she is as a person – her background, personality, strengths, gifts, fears, and dreams. Value her uniqueness and tell her what you admire about her. Your warm companionship will help her thrive.
Be Faithful To Your Wife
Marriage is an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman. God created this union, and He intends it to last a lifetime. So husbands are commanded to faithfully uphold their marriage vows. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4). Adultery breaks trust and inflicts deep wounds, so it is clearly prohibited.
But faithfulness is more than just avoiding physical intimacy with other women. It also means directing your eyes, mind, and heart toward your wife alone. Do not develop inappropriate emotional attachments with other women, indulge in sexual fantasy, view pornography, or harbor romantic interest in another woman. Give your wife your full devotion.
Faithfulness also involves keeping your vow to remain together through all circumstances until parted by death. Follow through on the pledge to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad times. Persevere through the challenges that come and fight for your marriage.
Honor Your Wife
Scripture instructs, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). One aspect of biblical love is honoring your wife. Value her highly, as a fellow heir in Christ (1 Peter 3:7) and a blessing to you from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22).
Honoring means appreciating her abilities, wisdom, and contribution to your life together. It includes admiring her character qualities and believing the best about her motivations. Esteem her by asking for and considering her perspective. When you disagree, do so respectfully.
Honoring also involves public affirmation and appreciation. Thank her for the many ways she contributes, and comment positively on her good character and competence. Compliment her in front of others. Refuse to joke about marital conflict or imply you made a mistake in marrying her.
In addition, give weight to her preferences and insights. Consult her on important decisions that affect you both. Be willing to sacrifice personal preferences at times to please her. Make sure she knows you cherish her. Honoring your wife in these ways brings great blessing to marriage.
Submit To Christ
As important as it is for a husband to lead, love, care for, be faithful to, and honor his wife, he cannot do any of this consistently in his own power. No man in his own ability can fulfill God’s high calling for husbands. The bar is far too high.
God does not intend men to try living as godly husbands under their own strength. He commands husbands to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). As a believer submits to Christ as Lord and dies to self, the Spirit works through him to produce godly fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
The key to being the husband God requires is a vibrant, dependent relationship with Jesus Christ. Abide in Him through the Word, prayer, community, and obedience. Surrender control of all areas of life to the Spirit’s leading. Only in submission to Christ can a man love his wife as Christ loved the church and fulfill his calling as a husband after God’s own heart.
God lays out clear priorities for husbands in Scripture – to love, lead, care for, be faithful to, and honor their wives. This high standard protects women and provides the nurture and love they need to thrive as wives. But no man can do this perfectly apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. So above all, a godly husband must walk closely with Jesus Christ and depend fully on Him. In humble submission to the Lord, husbands can live out God’s beautiful design for marriage.