Being a Christian husband is hard work. In fact, it is impossible to do on your own. The requirements of modeling the husbandry of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives is nothing short of staggering. However, Christian men are to be encouraged with the reality that God graciously supplies the supernatural fuel to accomplish such things.
Many times in talking with guys I have found them overwhelmed with this high calling. I have given this little sermonette on responsibilities of a godly husband countless times to my friends in Christ. So I share it here with an aim towards encouragement and the glory of God.
Husbands are to Love their Wife
It is interesting that God commands the Christian man to love his wife. In Ephesians 5 we see this result from being “filled with the Holy Spirit” (5.18). So, a fruit of being controlled by God the Holy Spirit is a persistent love for our wife.
The stakes are pretty high here though. We notice that the point of reference for the Christian man is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
The Christian man is to be continually engaged in the self-sacrificing, humble, heavenly love that so characterizes the Lord Jesus Christ. This particular love is to be unique to his wife and should be so radical and counter cultural that people scratch their heads with wonder as to the motive for such a love.
I am thankful that whether I am hurting, tired, wounded, despairing, overwhelmed, rejoicing, or excited, my Savior attends to my words, needs and cares. How convicting this is to the husband who so often look right through the eyes of his wife while she expresses her needs, or worse yet judge her needs of the moment as less than worthy of whatever happens to occupy his attention. Does not Jesus’ faithfulness to his bride not convict you?
Men, I want you to do something that has been helpful to me. Every time your wife calls you, whether verbally or on the phone, think of yourself calling upon Jesus for communion. You picture your Savior attending to your needs and you likewise attend to hers.
Further this duty for Christian husbands is not conditional! We are to love our wife…regardless of how lovely or unlovely she is! For sinners like us are the model, and Jesus has loved the horrifically unlovely, and is committed to making us lovely, even through the washing by his own blood.
Husbands are to Lead their Wife
One result of the fall is the inverted headship of the husband and wife. The man is too often content to indulge his flesh and let his wife run the show. Likewise, the wife, has a desire to rule her husband (Gen. 3.16—the word carries with it the meaning of wanting to rule or master..cf. Gen.4.7). Too often this Adamic epidemic pervades the home. The Bible is clear, the husband is the leader of the home. Therefore, he is to step up and lead like a man of God. This is not a shovenistic, suppressive, or cold leading, but rather a self-sacrificing leading that is fueled by heaven and characterized by love. Simply, this leading is supposed to look like Jesus leading the church. So men, you can be confident that when you pray for God to help you be a better leader in the home, you are praying according to the will of God.
Do not overlook the fact that we are accountable for this leading. We are not just supposed to be taking things as they come standing in a passive posture. Instead, we are supposed to be out front as leaders, ever mindful of our commission, responsibility and accountability before Almighty God.
Husbands are to Learn their Wife
This too, is often overlooked. Peter, as directed by God, commands us husbands:
husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Pet. 3.7)
The word for understanding is gnosis, often translated knowledge in the New Testament. We are to know our wives and live like it.
Well this is pretty simple right? How do you get to know your wife? For starters, you can talk to her. Spend some time getting to know her. In case you have not noticed your wife does not think or feel just like you. Thank God she is different…right?! I don’t know about you but I am thankful that my wife is different than me!
Sometimes Christie and I will be talking and one of us will use the phrase ‘disconnected’. This is an alarm for both of us that we need to sit down and talk. I need to hear what is on her heart, what is affecting her. In short we need to connect, to talk, simply for me to gain some understanding as to what she is thinking about/feeling.
The other side of this is that men are to be working hard at knowing about their wife. Some examples, to consider, what kind of hobbies does your wife have? What are her interests? Favorite food, games, music, style of clothes? Brand of make-up? Type of perfume? What is she afraid of? What makes her cry? What makes her laugh? This is just a list off the top of my head, make your own list of questions :/.
I have found that it is helpful to have a file on my wife. I am a perpetual student at the University of Christie. It is helpful to always try to have your ears open to gain new clues as to who your wife is. I have a file where I write stuff down, plan things, and evaluate our time together.
Man this is hard, but it is also fun. My wife is so different than me and really it is the differences that are so attractive. So buckle up men and be committed to learning your wife so that you may more effectively lead her and more thoughtfully love her.