There are lots of self-help books on marriage that describe what a husband should do. Some are good, and some are junk. Some are popular for a while and some burst on the scene with a lot of noise and then disappear just as fast. But, there is one book, which was written thousands of years ago, that has stood the test of time, and still contains the best advice ever written. That book was written from the authority of God by prophets who were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Let’s read what they said about marriage and how to be a godly husband.
In talking with people about their marriages, I have been gratified by some that are like a little piece of heaven on earth, and I have been appalled by some that are like a little piece of hell on earth. What is the difference? Why are some marriages blessed by faith, hope, and love? Why are other marriages filled with friction, fighting, and feuds about money, sex, work, children, and chores?
If you are living in a good marriage with a godly wife, prepare for the greatest thrill ride of your life, as your marriage takes off to higher levels of happiness, joy, and contentment. If you are living in an awful marriage with an ungodly wife, prepare for a shock because God has promised that you can make a difference all by yourself by implementing these godly principles.
We always thank God for all of you as we remember you in our prayers. In the presence of our God and Father, we never forget that your faith is active, your love is working hard, and your confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ is enduring. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 GWT)
Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrews 6:9-12)
I believe it all depends on the husband because the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). Whatever the husband does will affect the marriage more than anything else anyone else can do. If he is a godly man who follows godly examples, the marriage will be blessed. If he is an ungodly man, who follows ungodly examples, the marriage will be cursed. If he falls asleep on the job, the marriage will crash and burn. It all depends on the faithfulness, hopefulness, and loving behavior of the husband (1 Corinthians 13:13). So, let’s read what God says.
And the man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24)
v. 24 one flesh—The human pair differed from all other pairs, that by peculiar formation of Eve, they were one. And this passage is appealed to by our Lord as the divine institution of marriage (Mt 19:4, 5; Eph 5:28). Thus Adam appears as a creature formed after the image of God—showing his knowledge by giving names to the animals, his righteousness by his approval of the marriage relation, and his holiness by his principles and feelings, and finding gratification in the service and enjoyment of God. –Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
This union of a man and woman into Biblical marriage is different than any other relationship. It is different than anything in the animal kingdom because the woman was taken out of the man by the creative hand of God. This union is different than any other relationship among humans because it is the result of God creating a helper to be fitting, suitable, and adapted to him.
Because of this special kind of relationship, there is a special requirement for the man to leave his family and cleave unto his wife. This doesn’t reject the responsibility that a child has to love and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:2), but it puts a special importance on putting the wife first: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This commandment is only given to the husband because the husband is supposed to give himself in sacrificial agapé love to his wife. It is not given to wives, who often maintain emotional and physical ties with their own families.
By the way, the requirement to cleave unto your wife isn’t just contrasted to leaving your family. The Hebrew word for cleave also can be translated union, bond, or join. It means to stick together like skin and bone. It is used figuratively of loyalty and affection such as a people to their king (2 Samuel 20:2) and to their great king, the LORD (Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 30:20; Joshua 22:5). It is used to compare the scales of an alligator to the soft underbelly (Ezekiel 29:4; Job 41:15).
This metaphor has been used in countless science fiction and fantasy stories about battles with dragons. Which metaphor do you want your marriage to represent: the strong unified protection of a dragon’s scales or the dangerously fragile exposed underbelly? The answer depends on the husband.
Shall a man leave his father and his mother; in regard of habitation and society, but not as to natural duty and affection; and in conjugal relation and highest affection, even above what they owe to their parents, they two (as it is in the Samaritan, Syriac, and Arabic translations, and Matthew 19:5) shall be esteemed by themselves and others to be as entirely and inseparably united, and shall have as intimate and universal communion, as if they were one person, one soul, one body. And this first institution shows the sinfulness of divorces, and polygamy, however God might upon a particular reason for a time dispense with his own institution, or remit the punishment due to the violators of it. –Matthew Poole’s Commentary
Therefore, we see that this special kind of relationship requires a special kind of union that is only acquired when the husband leaves everything else in comparison to how he cleaves unto his wife. This does not mean the man gives up hobbies, sports and career. But, it means he cleaves unto his wife more than anything else. This is where we get the phrase, “And
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. (NLT Study Bible Text,) Ephesians 5:22-24
Some husbands take authoritarian domineering pride in this statement, which is a horrible ungodly corruption of the meaning. This verse doesn’t give husbands permission to abusively manhandle their wives. Quite the opposite, this puts the responsibility for anything that goes wrong squarely on the shoulders of the husband.
It’s like riding double on a motorcycle; the driver steers the bike and the passenger sits in back. The driver has full responsibility for where it goes. If he makes a mistake, gets distracted, or falls asleep, there is going to be a crash, and he will be held accountable. The passenger can make this easier by riding submissively, or she can make this harder by fighting for control. But, she won’t be able to control where it goes, and she won’t be able to keep it from crashing; therefore, she won’t be held accountable.
Godly husbands recognize this divine order by submitting to Jesus Christ as they want their wives to submit to them. Any man who will not submit himself to Jesus Christ, does not deserve for his wife to submit herself to him. The most important part of submission is doing what you know you should do (James 4:17; John 9:41; 2 Peter 2:21). Therefore, any man who does not do what he knows he should do, does not deserve for his wife to do what she knows she should do. If you want to know what to do, turn to God and his Word.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:32-35)
But as for you, continue in the things you have learned and firmly believed, since you know from whom you learned them. From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. (NLT Study Bible Text,) Ephesians 5:25-26
If you obey God’s word in this one verse, you will have a successful marriage. First, consider what this does not say. This does not say you need to get a better job with more prestige, make more money to buy a bigger house, go to the gym and workout for a better body, or any such thing. Instead, this says “give up your life for her.”
What does it mean to “give up your life for her?” Before you answer, consider that the Bible says you should do this “just as Christ loved the church.” Therefore, we need to understand how Christ loved the church to understand how husbands are supposed to love their wives.
5:25-33: Christian husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church—that is, sacrificially, for Christ gave up his life for her (5:2; cp. Col 3:19; 1 Pet 3:7). (New Living Translation (NLT) Study Bible Notes) Ephesians 5:25
There is one verse, more than any other, that best describes how the Lord Jesus Christ gave up his life for the Church.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (NLT Study Bible Text,) Philippians 2:5-8
Now, we can answer the question about “give up your life for her.” The godly husband must give up his divine privileges and take the humble position of a slave in obedience to God even to dying a criminal’s death. Anything less is disobedience to God.
Gave up his divine privileges — Some translation use “made himself of no reputation,” but it is more accurately translated Jesus Christ emptied himself of all the glory he had with the father. What “divine privileges” do you think you have? What are your best attributes? Strength, speed, endurance, height, intelligence, beauty, health, wealth, family, status, schooling, fame, etc. The godly husband will stop using those “divine privileges” for his own sake and start using them for his wife’s sake.
Took the humble position of a slave — Jesus Christ not only lowered himself from God to man, but he came to serve (Matthew 20:28). Jesus Christ stopped doing the things he wanted to do and started doing the things we needed him to do. He put our needs over his own needs (Hebrews 4:15). The godly husband will put his wife’s needs over his own needs. Every day he will ask his wife, “What can I do for you today?”
Humbled himself in obedience to God — Jesus Christ did this in obedience to God. The godly husband recognizes that he must do these things in obedience to God. If he fails to do these things, he is not just disobeying someone or something, he is disobeying God. I hope that is very serious to you. If not, maybe you should question your own salvation.
Died a criminal’s death — Jesus Christ was holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26), but he allowed himself to be crucified for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). When something goes wrong in the marriage, the godly husband will accept the penalty and consequences of the wrong. He will be quick to pay the penalty regardless who is at fault.
This is like the scene in The Crown (S1 E5), when Prince Phillip swears on bended knee at his wife’s coronation — after the most sacred part of the ritual when the Queen is in communion with God — to be her “liege man of life and limb”. This isn’t just for royalty; the godly husband will consider himself to have taken an oath before God to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb.” And, he will act like it. Not silently resenting the imposition. And, not fighting for his own way.
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:12-14)
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)
He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water. (Ephesians 5:26 CEV)
This is an incredibly beautiful reference to the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. It points back to the purification ceremony for wives before marriage.
For example, read about the 12 months of beauty treatments for the winner of the Persian beauty contest before she became queen (Esther 2:12-15). Compare this to the 3 years of training and purification given to the best and brightest Israelites before they could serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Daniel 1:3-20).
Most husbands cannot provide this kind of daily spa treatments, but every husband can treat his wife like she is worthy of it and deserves it. Therefore, every wife deserves to feel she is receiving this treatment.
v. 26. sanctify and cleanse it] Better, again, her. And the pronoun is slightly emphatic by position; as if to say, “It was in herinterest that He did this, and so in the wife’s interest the husband should be ready for sacrifice.”
“Sanctify and cleanse:”—lit., sanctify, cleansing; both the verbs being in the aorist, and being thus most naturally referred to one and same crisis, not, as R.V. seems to imply, (“sanctify, having cleansed,”) to a sanctifying process consequent on a cleansing. The Church was decisively “sanctified,” separated from the claim and dominion of sin unto God, when she was decisively “cleansed,” accepted as guiltless.
It needs remembrance that the word “to sanctify” lends itself equally, according to context, to ideas of crisis and of process. In one aspect the human being, decisively claimed and regenerated by God for Himself, is In another aspect, in view of each successive subjective experience of renunciation of self for God, he is being sanctified.—The sanctifying crisis here in view is that of regeneration. This is put before us ideally as the regeneration of the Church. The Idea is realized historically in the regeneration of individuals, with a view to the final total.—On this individual aspect of the matter, cp. John 3:3; John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11. –Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. (NLT Study Bible Text,) Ephesians 5:27
v. 5:27: a glorious church without a … blemish: The church’s sins have been forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, and her life is purified by the Holy Spirit. As a result, the church stands holy and without fault before God. Cp. 1:4; 2 Cor 11:2; Col 1:22; Rev 19:7-8; 21:2. (New Living Translation (NLT) Study Bible Notes) Ephesians 5:27
Likewise, your wife should stand holy and without fault before you. You should not notice any spot or wrinkle or any such blemish. And, you certainly should not point them out to her. Trust me, as an older man with a long successful marriage, your wife knows her failures all too well. Therefore, it is our sacred duty to ignore them just as Jesus Christ ignores our many faults by his mercy and grace.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5-6)
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. (Ephesians 5:28-29 NLT)
There are 2 important words that convey 2 important concepts in this verse. Nourish refers to internal sustenance of food, physical care of the body, and healing of wounds and that is required to grow up to maturity. Cherish refers to external fostering of clothing, warmth, and housing. These are to be done just as Christ cares for the church, which requires spiritual and emotional care. Therefore, the husband is to provide the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the wife.
As a Christian counselor, I often talk to young men with marriage problems who are dedicated gym members and spend lots of time and energy on caring for themselves, but expect their wives to work, take care of the children, and do all the housework so they have no time to care for themselves. They never thought about it, and they don’t get it. How can anyone be so selfish?
What are some practical ways you can do this?
- If you spend an hour in the gym, how much time can you free up for your wife?
- If you spend all weekend playing in your mancave, how much can your wife play?
- If you spend $50 on a haircut every 3 weeks, how much and how often can your wife spend?
- If you spend $800 on a new tool, how much can your wife spend for her new tools?
- If you spend $7,000 for a new suit, how much can your wife spend on her gown?
- If you spend $50,000 on a new toy, how much can your wife spend on her toys?
The answer to all those questions should be more.
In almost every troubled marriage, the husband does not nourish and cherish his wife more than he does himself. This is very stupid because the verse goes on to say, “For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.”
Do you want an amazing fulfilling successful marriage? In my opinion, the one magic question every husband should ask his wife every day is, “What can I do for you to make your day easier?” And, then as James said, we should do it (James 1:22; Romans 2:13).
Do you want a failed marriage? Don’t do that.
Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. (Colossians 3:19)
It’s astonishing that this instruction would need to be given. It should be obvious that a husband who is loving his wife as Christ loved the church would not treat her with harsh angry bitterness. And yet, it happens all the time.
This is consistent with these rules for the new life:
- We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry and don’t give the devil a chance.
- If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.
- Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.
- Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.
- Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. (Ephesians 4:25-32 CEV)
Sadly, this is the logical end of anyone who believes that being the head gives him the right to “rule with rigour, and in a tyrannical manner; behaving towards them in a morose, churlish, and ill natured way; giving them either bitter words, or blows, and denying them their affection, care, provision, protection, and assistance, but using them as servants, or worse. All which is barbarous, brutish, and unchristian, and utterly unbecoming the Gospel.” –Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
I know many Christians that are characterized by these awful traits. For some, it’s almost all they do. What do you think their fellowship is like? Likewise, I know of husbands and wives that are constantly doing these things to each other. Some don’t do anything but these things. What do you think their marriage is like?
Do any of you have wisdom and insight? Show this by living the right way with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and filled with self-centered ambition, don’t brag. Don’t say that you are wise when it isn’t true. That kind of wisdom doesn’t come from above. It belongs to this world. It is self-centered and demonic. Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil. However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. Then it is peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good deeds, impartial, and sincere. A harvest that has God’s approval comes from the peace planted by peacemakers. (James 3:13-18 GWT)
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
I love how God treats husbands and wives with reciprocity. The wife is to submit. The husband is to honor her because she is an equal partner. Thus, marriage should be a race to submit to one another. There is no excuse for overlording in the marriage relationship any more than in the church.
- Don’t be like the rulers of this world who lord it over their people, and officials who flaunt their authority over those under them, but it should be different among you. The greatest among you is the one who serves (Matthew 20:24-28; Mark 10:41-45; Luke 22:24-27)
- Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)
- Bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)
- All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
But, if that isn’t enough, Peter was supernaturally motivated to write that “your prayers will be hindered” if you don’t treat your wife as you should. This should cause every husband to stop short in his tracks, and ask the Lord for forgiveness, and ask his wife for forgiveness, and vow to do better.
Godly husbands recognize that they are going to be held responsible to God for the outcome of the marriage. They prepare, ahead of time, to do the right things, to have godly results. They guard themselves from doing the wrong things, to avoid ungodly results.
- Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4)
- “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully [stare with desire, focus my attention, or entertain thoughts] at a young woman. (Job 31:1)
- But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her [to desire her or to think about hooking up with her] has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
- But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. (James 1:14)
- For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. (Matthew 15:19)
Even if you have done everything up to here, you can ruin it all in a few seconds. Staring at another woman with desire, watching pornography, having sex with an artificially intelligent robot, or committing adultery with another woman, will negate and destroy everything we have talked about and prevent you from ever experiencing a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. Listen to these successful men of God and follow their example (1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Timothy 1:13).
Job, who was singled out by God from heaven, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8), said, “I promised myself never to stare with desire at a young woman.” (Job 31:1)
David, who was a man after God’s own heart but failed terribly in sins of the flesh, said, “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.” (Psalm 119:37) He could do this because he had confessed, repented, forsaken, and been forgiven of his sin (Psalm 51).
James, the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, said, “Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others. We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.” (James 1:13-15)
The Apostle Paul, who was commission by God (Acts 9:16) to present the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13), said, “But in order to avoid sexual sins, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2)
For deeper study:
Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s [sexual] needs. A wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 GWT)
I recommend reading Love Life for Every Married Couple (how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love) by Ed Wheat. It gives good practical instruction for husbands and wives, which you probably won’t learn from TV, movies, or romance books. I recommend reading the Song of Solomon in a modern Contemporary English Version (Song of Solomon) for God’s example of erotic sexual romance.
According to science, women take an average of 20 minutes to get aroused and peak to sexual climax and achieve an orgasm, which can last for several minutes, and is followed by a long time of sexual satisfaction that slowly fades. Men take an average of 8 minutes to get aroused and peak to sexual climax of ejaculation, which usually lasts for a few seconds, and is followed by a very short time of sexual satisfaction that fades away quickly. These different timeframes are the cause of most marital sexual problems.
Contrary to any video you have ever seen or any story you have ever read, most women cannot achieve an orgasm through internal stimulation of the vagina with the penis. If the husband does not provide external manual stimulation of the clitoris, most wives cannot achieve an orgasm. Consider how little fulfilment you would get from sex without ever ejaculating. Don’t ignore your wife’s needs. Learn to use your hands, your body, and your mouth to provide this external stimulation.
If a husband selfishly seeks to satisfy his own needs, his wife will never reach full sexual arousal, and will never peak to sexual climax, and never achieve an orgasm, and never experience sexual satisfaction. Such husbands often wonder why their wife is not interested. Such marriages will struggle.
If a husband unselfishly seeks to satisfy his wife’s needs first, his wife will reach full sexual arousal, and will peak to sexual climax, and will achieve an orgasm, and will experience sexual satisfaction. There’s nothing as sexy as experiencing your wife in the throes of ecstasy as she peaks and achieves orgasm resulting in sexual satisfaction. Therefore, it’s practically guaranteed that sometime during that time, sometimes sooner, and sometimes later, the husband will reach full sexual arousal, and will peak to sexual climax of ejaculation, and will achieve sexual satisfaction. Such marriages will thrive.
Fittingly, we close with the same concept as at the start. It’s all up to the husband. The wife can allow her husband to selfishly satisfy his own sexual needs, but the wife can’t force her husband to satisfy her sexual needs. Therefore, we end with the same concept: Husband love your wife … and give yourself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).
I am almost afraid to write this chapter because I fear ungodly husbands will blow past all the previous chapters on being a servant to find a justification for their aggressive, domineering, overlording, treatment of their wife and family. Don’t be that guy. God opposes the proud but favors the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:5).
However, it is important to be a servant and not a puppet because God ordained the headship of the husband (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:18-32; Matthew 20:25-28). The husband doesn’t need his wife to be a mother, he had one. The husband doesn’t need his wife to be a school teacher, he had one. The husband doesn’t need his wife to be a conscience, he has one. Therefore, the husband needs to exercise his headship with godly leadership. If you think this gives you an excuse to be boorish and overbearing, please go back and read all the previous chapters again.
Follow the example of Joshua
Near the end of his life, after successfully leading Israel on a campaign to conquer the promised land, Joshua reminded them to make a choice.
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.’ (Joshua 24:14-15 JPS)
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people: ‘Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke unto us; it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest ye deny your God.’ So Joshua sent the people away, every man unto his inheritance. (Joshua 24:25-28 JPS)
Will you make a choice to serve the Lord regardless of your family? Will you make a choice to hide God’s word in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11) so you won’t sin against him? Will you make a choice to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27)?
Follow the example of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a friend, father, and husband. Ephesians 5 uses his love for the church as an example of the love of a godly husband for his wife. Therefore, let’s consider his example.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10 ESV)
Are you suffering? Learn obedience to God. Go to church. Get involved. Are you a mature Christian? Become the source of eternal care and protection for your wife and family. Stop doing ungodly selfish things. Start taking care of your family.
- Stop doing these things (they will destroy the joy of your salvation)
- 7 ways to restore the joy of your salvation
- 10 Ways Prayers are Hindered (#5 is Shocking)
- 3 requirements for effectual fervent prayer: ask, seek, and knock
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 ESV)
Live as citizens who reflect the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come to see you or whether I stay away, I’ll hear all about you. I’ll hear that you are firmly united in spirit, united in fighting for the faith that the Good News brings. So don’t let your opponents intimidate you in any way. This is God’s way of showing them that they will be destroyed and that you will be saved. God has given you the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him. You are involved in the same struggle that you saw me having. Now you hear that I’m still involved in it. (Philippians 1:27-30 GWT)
The husband has a God-given need and responsibility to provide for his family. This includes: body, soul, and spirit. This means food, shelter, and clothing, but it also means peace and safety, as well as spiritual food and guidance. Get a job. Make a home. Provide food. Protect your family. Take them to church. Read the Bible with them. Nurture them.
And unto Adam He said: ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ And the man called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:17-21 JPS Tanakh 1917)
The Apostle Paul recognized this principle from the old scriptures.
I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. (1 Corinthians 7:32-25)
The Apostle Paul continued this thought in his instructions to the younger ministers Timothy and Titus. He warned that there would be men who not fulfil their responsibilities because of laziness or demon-inspired false doctrine. He knew this was dangerous for families and the community, so he wanted such men to be warned and disciplined.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NIV)
They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed. (Titus 1:16)
And, the Apostle John recorded this revelation from Jesus Christ about Christians who thought they were rich and had everything, but didn’t know their true condition. Don’t be like them.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. (Revelation 3:15-19 NLT)
If this study has made you realize you need to change, I fervently pray that you will allow God to change the way you think (Romans 12:1-2) so you can become the godly husband that Jesus Christ wants you to be. No one is too far gone for his love to reach them (Romans 8).
However, if you cannot make these changes on your own, or you need more guidance, please seek Bible-based counseling from someone with a successful marriage who has demonstrated by their life that they understand how to implement these principles. Your church should be able to recommend couples who can help. If not, find a better church.
I say that flippantly, but not without cause. If your church does not provide the godly Bible-based spiritual food (Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 3:2) that enables Christians to grow up to maturity (Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:1) so they can help one another (Galatians 6:1; Colossians 3:16; James 5:20), it is a very poor church (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:11).
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