What Is the Husband’s Responsibility In a Marriage?
Women are complicated, am I right? Wouldn’t it be nice if the One who designed marriage left an instruction manual? Crave for it no more! He did! There are quite a few Scriptures instructing husbands and wives how to love and treat one another. The longest and most thorough section of the Bible discussing the marriage relationship is twelve verses long, found in Ephesians 5:22-33. Of these twelve verses, the first three are directed to wives, leaving the remaining nine for the husbands. Could it be that the husband has greater responsibility when it comes to setting the atmosphere and the bond of the marriage relationship?
Let’s check out these instructions for the husband regarding the marriage relationship in Ephesians and break it down verse by verse. To start off, verse 25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” How did Christ love His bride, the church? He served her. He was willing to sacrifice anything and everything for her to the extent of His own life. If the husband is to love his wife in the same way as Christ loved the church, that means he sacrifices himself, even to the death if needed.
You might be thinking, I would die for her in a heartbeat, but what about dying to your own desires on a daily basis? For instance, doing the dishes instead of watching tv (who said it was solely the woman’s job?), setting aside guys’ night if she needs a shoulder to cry on, letting her decide on the next family car, running every little decision past her - letting, “Hang on, I want to ask my wife what she thinks,” be your typical response, grabbing her a coffee when you grab one for yourself, admitting when you were wrong and she was right, telling her the details of your day even when you’re tired and not in the mood for conversation, checking off the honey-do list on your day off work, etc… These simple, practical ways of considering her needs above your own are small ways to love her like Christ.
Another way Christ loves the church is longing for companionship with her. He is not content with an aloof and detached association with her. He wants to bridge the gap of distance between Him and her. He desires intimacy with her and gently pushes for a united, harmonious bond.
You might say, But she isn’t acting loving toward me! Christ loved the church first, before she loved Him. He didn’t wait for the church to love Him before returning it. He was the pursuer. He was the One who ignited the spark. In following Christ’s example, the husband has great responsibility with initiating and cultivating a strong marriage bond.
We are commanded to do everything for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) And Jesus says when we serve others, we are doing it as if for Him. (Matthew 25:40) When a man serves his wife as if for Jesus, then his service to her is not dependent on how she treats him in response. He is faithfully serving her for Christ no matter the outcome.
Moving on to verses 26-27, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” If the husband is fully committed to the total well-being of his wife, this includes her spiritual well-being and growth as well. He encourages her in her walk with God, prays for her, spends time developing his own walk and faith and shares with her what he’s struggling with and in what ways he’s growing. He reminds her of God’s promises when she needs the encouragement and pushes her to keep going when she grows tired. He helps her to see spiritual attacks for what they are and regularly reminds her of God’s truth regarding her.
Scripture’s marriage guidance continues, verses 28-30 say, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.” A husband is to take care of his wife like he would his own body. When she’s sick, he tends to her needs. In danger, he goes before her, protecting and defending her. In our culture, women are not on a regular basis in physical danger, but they are often attacked emotionally by others. The husband’s protection and defense include verbal assaults and put downs.
Another way a man cares for his own body is to eat every day, making sure he’s putting in the nourishment to keep himself going. Usually, a man is content with hearing his wife say she loves him only every now and then. However, women typically need a steady dose of verbal affection and reassurance. God said about the woman in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire will be for your husband.” Naturally, women yearn for the love and admiration of their husbands. So, give it to her thoroughly and often. A woman is like a flower. Nourish her and she blooms. Neglect her and she dies - on the inside, to you.
There is a quote by Erik S. Gray describing how a woman multiplies whatever she is given. Due to language offensive to some, I will paraphrase it. If a woman is given a house, she will turn it into a home. If given groceries, she will make a meal. If given sperm, she will transform it into a baby. If given a smile, she gives her heart. But if she is given negativity, that also is returned manifold. Of course, this isn’t an excuse for women to return negativity. Dishing back grumbling, insults, contempt or a cold shoulder isn’t God’s way but the way of the sinful nature. However, the husband should not test and exhaust his wife. If he gives her the good, he will receive back the excellent!
Now, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a strong marriage. If your marriage has been on the rocks for months or even years, it takes time to repair. You can’t expect to be kind to your wife for one day and cause her to immediately melt into you. If sacrificing your wants and nourishing her with emotional affection have been meager for a long while, it will take weeks or months for her to be convinced of your attempts to renew the marriage. It takes time to rebuild her trust that she can cling to you for her needs. But the wait is worth it!
You may be thinking, I want to love her, serve her and nourish her emotionally, but I don’t know how to practically apply it in everyday life. That’s where we come in! At Marriage In Abundance, we provide you with simple ideas once a week to pursue her, ignite the spark and draw you closer together. Ideas like, while she’s doing the dishes, kiss her cheek and tell her to go sit down while you finish them, notice the details of her hard work and thank her for it, surprise her by grabbing her favorite snack on your way home from work, or hug her and whisper in her ear one of the reasons you fell for her.
In order to love your wife like Christ loved the church, pursue her, nourish her with affection, encourage her spiritually and sacrifice for her daily. Follow Scripture’s advice and watch love return exponentially and your marriage soar.