Godly Husband
Only 2 Job Descriptions

You've probably never taken a class on how to be a godly husband.

It's unlikely that you've even read a book pertaining to it.

Have you ever studied it in your devotions?

I'm sure you haven't seen a movie promoting it.

Few young people today have role models exemplifying it.

And yet, almost all Christian men get married at some point in their lives and their wife expects them to be a godly husband.

Most woman probably have a list of what they want in "their man." But, just like their wardrobe or shoe collection, it's never enough.

God has a list too. And, like most men, he keeps it basic. There are only two things on His list. Lead and Love. Like the other two great commandments (Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself) they are packed with depth and life altering implications.

  1. Lead your wife

    Ephesians 5:22-33 is the marriage passage in the Bible. Verse 23 says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."

    We learn from this that a godly husband is to be his wife’s leader. He is the “head.” But this concept of headship has been greatly abused and misconstrued. What then, is the correct understanding of headship? How should a husband fulfill his role as the head of the home?

    Clearly, from the verse in Ephesians, the husband is to follow Christ’s example of leadership, or “headship”. Wayne Mack in his book “Strengthening Your Marriage” gives the following outline of essential qualities in Christ’s leadership which husbands should emulate.

    A. Be a servant - Being a leader does not mean you have to give your wife orders and be like her boss. A leader is first and foremost a servant. “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt 20:27). A husband’s first concern should not be for himself. If he is not willing to sacrifice his personal needs, wants, desires, time or money, he is not qualified to lead. In John 13:1-15, Jesus shows us that leadership is not represented by a throne or a club but by a big towel and a basin.

    Society is shifting away from traditional gender roles where the husband is the head and the wife is his “help-meet,” towards more of a 50/50 partnership where both have the same level of authority. Men who desire to be a godly husband don't think it's godly to be the "head” because they don't want to lord power over their wife and the wife certainly doesn’t want to be treated like a child or slave.

    But this is not the Biblical teaching of headship. In 1 Peter 5:3, Peter coaches the elders to have the attitude of a shepherd toward the church “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (NKJV). There should definitely be equality in marriage, but equality does not mean sameness in everything. Just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are equal, they have different functions. Marriages should reflect the same arrangement.

    The husband is to be the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church (Eph 5:23). Whatever Christ does, He does for our sake; He does with our best interest at heart. The husband is therefore to live for the sake of his wife, always keeping her best interest at heart. Selfishly exercising your authority as “the head” is not biblical headship.

    Practice before marriage: If you tend to be characterized as lazy, you must overcome that. If you tend to be proud, that is also incompatible with servant-leadership and will hinder your ability to be a godly husband. Begin looking for ways to serve in your home, at church or with your friends. Use your talents and interests to lighten someone elses load or show them you care. Beware of sending mixed signals though.

    B. Spend Time with your wife- Jesus Christ practiced the principle of continuous association with those he led. He spent great amounts of time with them. Biblical leadership requires association with those who are being led. Peter commands godly husbands “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) No husband is fulfilling his God-given responsibility to his wife who does not delight in and arrange for frequent and regular companionship with her.

    Practice before marriage: The men who are currently courting are probably thinking, "Why wouldn't a husband want to spend time with his wife? I can't get enough of my girlfriend?!" You'd be surprised at how children, the stress of financial provision and building your business can zap your energies and make you want to just "relax" when you get home instead of investing in your wife. But as my Dad always said, "when you're wrapped up in yourself, you make a small package." Begin developing your communication skills. Read books and cultivate the skill of being more interested than interesting.  You will find that spending time with your wife will be more fulfilling than vegging in front of the t.v or internet.

    C. Teach your wife - Jesus carefully and relevantly instructed his disciples. The word “teacher” was one of the titles by which Jesus was frequently called. (John 3:2; 13:13) Sometimes he taught formally, sometimes informally in the midst of life situations, when He was faced by a crisis or confrontation, or when He was asked a question. Jesus led and served his disciples by teaching them and God expects the husband to lead and serve his wife by teaching her (1 Cor 14:35).

    This does not mean your wife should not be studious and that she should be dependent upon you for direction all the time. Do not treat her like a child. But you will maintain her respect if you continually cultivate your intellect and provide biblical wisdom in your marriage.

    Practice before marriage: The only way a godly husband can do this is by being daily in the Word of God. Use your time now to devour the Bible and wrestle through difficult passages. Develop the habit of having devotions and don't let anything interfere with that sacred time. And of course share what you learn, it helps you retain more!

    D. Be a godly example – Jesus led His disciples by being a good example. Frequently as we read the Gospels, we hear Jesus saying, “Follow me” or “come after me” or “I have left you an example.” Surely a godly husband should strive to be a godly example. When he fails, he should be quick to confess to his God and his wife that he has failed and ask forgiveness. Even in failure, the husband must be an example to his wife of how the believer should deal with sin.

    Practice before marriage: Do you have a hard time saying "I'm sorry"? If so, begin cultivating the attitude of humility and taking responsibility for your actions. This is essential to being a real man. It would also be wise to take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Ask your parents, best friends and teachers for honest feedback on this. Begin studying what the Bible has to say about your particular character flaws and daily train yourself to put off those traits and put on godly counter traits.

    E. Make decisions and delegate responsibility – Jesus regularly allowed his disciples to do important things and participate in ministry. (John 6:10, Luke 10). Husbands should do the same. This does not mean he should micromanage her time and give her a list of “to-do’s” as he leaves for work. But it means that he should be attentive to her interests and abilities and encourage her to develop and grow to reach her full potential. 

    Summary – Men, in order to be a godly husband someday, God calls you to be your wife’s leader. This means that you must be your wife’s servant, that you must spend much time with her, that you must give her useful, scriptural and practical instruction, that you must be a good example to her, and that you must make decisions and delegate responsibility in your home.

    Begin practicing these traits now!

  2. Love your wife

    The second fundamental job description of a godly husband also starts with the letter "L". Love. The wife either has such a great need for love or the husband has such a great lack of love, that God commands the husbands to love his wife three times within the space of a few verses in Eph 5:28, 33. One time God instructs the husband to love his wife just as Christ loved the church (v. 25) and he should love her like he loves himself.

How does Christ love the church? Eph 3:18-19 says the love of God passes knowledge. It is so broad, deep, wide and tall that throughout eternity we will continue to learn of this amazing love. But, this we do know:

Jesus' Love

  • It’s an unconditional free love (Rom 5:8)
  • It is a volitional love (He chooses to love us) (Deut 7:7; Eph 1:6-7)
  • It’s an intense love (John 13:1; Eph 5:2, 25)
  • It’s an unending love (John 13:1; Jer 31:3; Rom 8:39)
  • It’s an unselfish love (Phil 2:6-7)
  • It’s a purposeful love (He works for our improvement, our development, our happiness, our welfare Eph 5:26-27)
  • It’s a sacrificial love (Gal 2:20; 1 Pet 3:18; Rom 5:6-11; 1 Pet 2:24)
  • It’s a manifested love – He manifests his love in words and deeds. He tells us He loves us. He shows us he loves us. He protects us, prays for us, guards us, strengthens us, helps us, defends us, teaches us, comforts us, chastens us, equips us, empathizes with us, and provides for all our needs. (John 10:1-14; 14:1-3; 13:34; 15:9-10; Rom 8:32; Phil 4:13, 19; Heb 4:14-16). "Love does not long exist without expression."

    This is the standard by which a godly husband is to judge his relationship with his wife. No husband has ever fully loved his wife in that way or to that degree or extent but it is the goal toward which every husband is to press; the model which he is to follow.

    Certainly every husband should frequently examine himself to see where he is failing to be the lover his wife needs him to be and God commands him to be. What are some practical ways to love her with Christ-like love?

  • Words – tell them “I love you” often, not just on special occasions. Women crave verbal assurance of their husband’s love. The godly husband of the Proverbs 31 woman said, "Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all." (Pr. 31:28) Express appreciation and praise generously and in large doses. Be careful to observe her attempts to please you. Never laugh at or belittle the things she may do for you. Express appreciation and respect for her insights, ideas, questions, prayers, character, opinions, and fellowship as well as for her cooking and cleaning and satisfying your physical needs. Do your utmost to make your wife think that she is the most appreciated and loved woman in the world.

  • Providing – Providing is more than being a bread-winner.  Eph 5:28-29 says, "So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church." (NKJV) The concept of nourishing and cherishing is multifaceted including caring for someone physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, sexually, and spiritually. Of course, even the most godly husband cannot meet all these needs, only the Lord can. But a godly husband will be attentive to know and care for a wife and see that none of these areas are deprived.

  • Protecting (Eph 5:28) – she may be trying to do more than she is physically capable of doing. The demands of carrying children or caring for children may be destroying her. The criticisms or expectations of others may be overwhelming her. There are a host of other threats that are too many to list but a godly husband will be proactive and try to prevent any possible dangers and find remedial help to deal with any trauma or distress incurred on accident.

  • Assisting – Love can be shown by helping her do the dishes, clean the house, take care of the children, or going shopping.

  • Sacrificing – More than just going to work every day, you can sacrifice by giving her quality time when you wanted personal time to unwind.

  • Vulnerability – 1 Pet 3:7 – “heirs together of the grace of life” Don’t be a stranger to your wife. Share your inner feelings, hopes, dreams.

    What this all boils down to is a godly husband should demonstrate to his wife that apart from Christ, she has first place. She comes before your business, your children, your parents, your house, your hobbies, or your sports game.

    Knowing these things will not promote oneness in marriage. Performing them will.

So, there's really only two things a godly husband has to do.

Lead like Christ and Love like Christ. If you don't know Christ, this will be pretty hard. But if you do, it all comes naturally. The New Living Translation says it best,

"But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away...So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." 1 Corinthians 3:16, 18

In short, the more time you spend with Christ, beholding Him, the more you will be like him and the more natural it will be for you to be a godly husband.

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