“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:25-29)
The biblical view of God-ordained relationships between a husband and a wife could more accurately be called complementary rather than egalitarian. As each fills a complementary role to the other, the husband and the wife form a complete union. Today we will consider the biblical role of a husband.
Scripture indicates the husband is to provide for the health and well-being of the wife and family. If you are a husband, evaluate your care for your wife in the areas discussed below. If you are a wife or want to be a wife, I suggest you pray that your husband take on his God given responsibilities. But be careful that you don’t take it away again! So how does a husband provide for the family?
Material. The most obvious need is material. Paul wrote, “If anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). The husband is responsible to see that bread is on the table. That doesn’t mean the wife can’t earn money too, even more than he. But his is the final responsibility to guarantee family livelihood.
Spiritual. The husband is responsible to do all in his power to provide for a spiritually healthy family. Many husbands abdicate spiritual leadership of the home to their wives, not realizing they are forfeiting the benefits of solidarity in God. A marriage that isn’t founded on God and His Word is spiritually impotent. When problems arise, how sound can the solutions be if the couple doesn’t seek the Lord’s guidance? And what kind of message is the husband communicating to his children about the priority of a walk with God?
Intellectual. A husband is also to provide for his wife’s full intellectual development. It is selfish for a husband to go through school on the sacrificial labors of a loyal wife and then make no provision for her to maximize her potential, pursuing advanced education if she wishes.
Protection. Protect her in the demands on her time, safety in her life, finances and even in unhealthy relationships. Increasingly, the greatest need for protection is from the husband himself. Physical abuse should be unthinkable, and the standard must be never to touch the wife in anger.
Emotional. A husband is also responsible to protect his wife from other means of harm, such as verbal abuse and psychological wounds. Her emotional health is intertwined with her spiritual and intellectual well-being. If any marital relationship is being poisoned by emotional abuse, the husband should seek counseling. If he won’t seek help, the wife must. If she is intimidated or has a false view of loyalty that discourages her from taking action, church leaders must step in to prevent disaster.
Sexual. Another physical provision is for sexual fulfillment, Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4. A husband who is consistently gratified sexually but doesn’t take the time and care to provide fulfillment for his wife grievously wrongs her. After all, she owns his body. In the admonitions for the husband in this passage, we see the picture of a loving, sacrificial servant leader who takes responsibility for leading the home but is never domineering. Why? Because his leadership is to resemble that of Jesus, whose leadership of the church is sacrificial and caring (Ephesians 5:25,29). And remember that love colors everything about the husband’s leadership role (Ephesians 5:25,28).