What makes a great husband? Even as I sit here at my computer facing a white screen, I keep hearing this question posed to me by my sons in the faith. I wonder, can I, a 65-year-old granny, have some useful thing to say in answer to this question? I can but try.
So, dear sons, let us dig in and see what we can discover from the Scriptures in a practical way to face your goal of being a great husband. Yes, being a husband is very important. How important? When a man marries a wife he must understand his service to God includes being a good, loving husband. When a man takes a commitment to marry, God will hold him accountable for the kind of husband he is, Ephesians 5:25-33.
1. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, body and strength, Mark 12:30
Do you believe “every word of God is pure”, that “He (God) is a shield to those who put their trust in Him”, Proverbs 30:5. Yes? You cannot give yourself to your wife as you would desire unless you first give yourself completely to the God who made you. It is He who will help you to be honest in thought, word and deed, Psalm 41:12. Because you serve a risen Saviour, your wife will be able to completely trust you. Trust is a precious thing to develop and will be your anchor in your marriage. My sons, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
What if you choose to marry a wife who does not love God? I can promise you a lifetime of pain. There will never be a complete oneness because your goals will not be the same. Religion affects all areas of our lives, the way we talk, the way we act, the way we feel, and even our attitudes. Sadly, the two of you cannot even share the same hope of life eternal with the Father, Titus 3:7.
Stop right now and consider. . . too often it is the non-Christian who will adversely affect the faithfulness of the Christian. Yes, you might be the exception and be able to bring your wife to Christ–but are you willing to take the chance that she does not? And don’t forget, the wife you choose will be the one who will raise your children and be the main influence in guiding them to the Father in heaven. . . or not.
As you read through the following target points, underline what you need to work on RIGHT NOW, whether you are married yet or not. How you rightfully treat your mother, your friends, your brothers and sisters in Christ now will be excellent practice in how you will one day treat your wife.
2. Seek a godly wife, 1 Peter 3:1-6
Pray! Pray fervently. Both Abraham and his servant asked for God’s help in seeking a wife for Isaac, Genesis 24. Shouldn’t you also pray? You are going to choose someone with whom you will spend the rest of your life. God has given you the responsibility to choose a woman who has the scriptural right to marry you, Mat 5:32; 19:9. Think seriously about the promises you will make when you marry your sweetheart. You are taking a vow before God, your wife, and all the witnesses. Read Ecc 5:4,5. (By the way, make sure she is ready for marriage. Do not marry her thinking you will be able to change her later.)
3. Cleave to your wife, Gen 2:24-25.
Keep this picture in your mind: when you and your wife marry, you are one and now glued together just as two pieces of paper are glued together and cannot be separated without destroying BOTH pieces. So never give your wife reason to suspect another woman has caught your eye. Don’t make the mistake that a little flirting is oh, so innocent. Flirting is reserved ONLY for your wife.
Cleaving to your wife is a continual process. Keep in mind what you did to cause your wife to love you before you married. Yes, continue to romance her by spending time with her, outside the bedroom. When you marry a wife you SHARE a life together. Too often as the years go by the busyness of every day gets in the way and suddenly you will find you and your wife are living parallel lives, no longer one body in heart and mind. Loving your wife (Eph 5:23) involves unselfish sacrifice and devotion. This means you cannot just do what comes naturally. Naturally means being self-centred, 1 Cor 2:14. Love is learned. The apostle Peter summed up your responsibility very well, 1 Peter 3:7. Think seriously about the command to dwell with your wife according to knowledge. Knowledge requires effort on your part to learn your wife. Peter calls her your “weaker vessel”–but not weaker morally or mentally. She is delicate, tender, fragile and has a completely different body than yours. Even her mind works in a different way. Learn to appreciate her body cycles and its accompanying mood swings, for she has been given a special role to play. Never forget that you both are “joint-heirs of the grace of life”, 1 Peter 3:7. You certainly do not want your prayers to be cut off from God.
4. Fulfill your role of headship, Eph 5:23; 1 Cor 11:3
Even though the world around you is busy changing the responsibility of headship, God has not changed–the responsibility is still there. When you fail to lead as the head of your wife, you disobey God. This leadership is to be one of encouragement to fulfill each one’s role, making final decisions after considering all available input, including your wife’s. Being the head is not to be fulfilled as a tyrant. A tyrant is one who must have his every desire fulfilled, demanding full obedience with an iron fist. A wife’s responsibility to submit to her husband is her’s to obey, not his to command, Eph 5:22; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1. The husband is to LOVE his wife, seeking her good, encouraging her to understand that God has given him the reins to guide the family in the way they should go.
5. Help your wife feel she is important to you, Prov 31:10-12, 28,29
A faithful wife will always (and I repeat, always) need her husband to express how important she is to him. He should express his admiration both verbally and by small thoughtful acts of kindness. Why is this important? Because her strongest need, the security of his love, can only be fulfilled by her husband. Every woman’s heart would melt to hear the following from her husband: “Why man, she is mine own; and I as rich in having such a jewel, as twenty seas if all their sands were pearls, the water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.” (Shakespeare). If you find difficulty in expressing yourself with words, don’t just stand there–do something! An unexpected phone call, a pretty flower, an offer to help in a household chore, replace a lightbulb. You will fail if you act as if showing her kindness would be a painful thing. It truly only takes a little time and effort to reap a full sunshine smile in return.
6. Look for the good in your wife, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Be interested in your wife’s activities and her developing skills. Stop and listen to what she has to say. Yes, it can be all too easy to get burdened down by the faults in your wife. Trust me, she will have many–just as you have many. Why bring out the worse in her when you can concentrate on bringing out the best in her? Both of you will benefit 100-fold. As Helen Keller said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” Praise her, my son! Trust me, she will try all the more to please you.
7. Forgive your wife when she has wronged you, Eph 4:32; 1 Peter 4:8; Prov 10:12.
Yes, there will be times when she will hurt you. There will be a strong temptation to make her “pay” for it for several days. When you do this, you are highlighting your own bad traits and heaping double hurt for both of you, Proverbs 17:1; Ecclesiastes 4:6. Holding grudges destroys love. Kindness goes a long way in smoothing ruffled feathers. Kindness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength! And remember, when the going gets rough, check your own backyard–not hers. All too often the problems we face are of our own making.
Let me speak plainly. Your male ego, can become sinful and be a stumbling block in your marriage. God has created you with a strong sense of masculinity, but God never intended it to cause sinful pride. Learn to say “I’m sorry”, James 5:16.You or your wife will make mistakes in your marriage but if you cannot admit weaknesses, or wrong doing and fail to ask for forgiveness because of your pride, you will leave scars on her heart and destroy the mutual desire to be one in heart and body.
Colossians 3:19 contains a very important command to husbands: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” When a husband does not honour his wife he is likely to not understand her and so begin thinking he made a major mistake in his marriage. His resentment can turn to extreme bitterness. Love her well, my son. Go back and read Ephesians 5:29. To nourish your wife you will supply whatever she needs, not just one time, but as often as necessary. To cherish her requires tender love and care. You are her protector.
Trust me, there will be times during your marriage when you will be rejected by others and feel a loss of self-image. But if you have taken great care to love your wife, you will have a comforting wife waiting for you when you come home. She will be the one that understands.
8. Talk to your wife! 1 Peter 3:7
A wife is very sensitive to the need to share one another’s thoughts, ideals and plans. Purposefully create time to share what has happened in her daily activities. When a problem arises, remaining silent will not put things right. When there is love, you will both welcome the opportunity to talk to each other and resolve any threats to your marriage. You will go the extra mile because it is YOUR job to lead in building unity in your family, Matthew 12:25. Watch out for the following in yourself and correct them: uncontrolled temper, sarcasm, nagging, fault finding, especially in public. What a joyous thing it is when a wife has a husband who likes to talk with his wife.
9. Fulfill her sexual needs, Gen 2:24-25; Heb 13:4; 1 Cor 7:3-5
Sex in marriage is a culmination of love expressions, kindness, and togetherness. Sex with your wife must be an act of love rather than just a physical act performed. Be gentle and understanding in your desires. What’s the hurry? Help her to also be fulfilled.
10. Work to Support your family, Romans 12:11; 1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Improve your skills and seek work that will support a family’s needs–food, clothing, and shelter. This means you must value getting an education, practicing the skills you learn, and concentrating on self-discipline in your secular work. All three of these areas require honest hard work! Don’t fool yourself into thinking your need for a wife is first priority! God has given YOU the responsibility to support a family. God has given your future wife OTHER responsibilities. View work as a privilege, an honour in serving not only your family, but the God of heaven, Col 3:22-24. Do not consider marriage until you can support a wife.
Did you notice the third part of the triangle of marriage? You are to LEAVE your father and mother and create an entirely separate unit. You cannot accomplish this if you are not in the position to support a wife! There is an old proverb that too many cooks spoil the broth. In other words, two women (your wife and the mother) are neither one happy sharing the same kitchen. Also, you will discover that either you or your wife will have great difficulty in learning to be one. So, get to work, my boy.
Learn to budget your money now, before you marry. There are simple budget plans on the internet to get you started. Don’t plan on living on the never-never, continually owing for things that are getting old and breaking down before they are even completely paid for! Think, man!
Marriage is HARD WORK! A marriage never reaches the point where you can stop working on your marriage. So keep talking to each other. Keep examining yourself. Keep love in your marriage. God’s ways will indeed help you to be a great husband.