Being a husband is a high calling, and should be treated as such. It is a wonderful role with many benefits and joys that go along with it. But being a husband also comes with a lot of responsibilities. It takes a character that has been molded by God and is in the process of continual improvement in order to successfully juggle the responsibilities and expectations that God has placed on husbands.
Here is a list of 5 marks that men should work on and pray for God’s help in cultivating that will enable them to be biblical husbands.
Stewardship is the quality of one’s maturity and character, and how that maturity and character are acted out on a daily basis. One of the most common complaints wives have of their husbands is that they are not consistent with their roles and responsibilities within their marriage.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” ~ 1 Peter 4:10
Essentially, stewardship means faithfully handling all that God has entrusted you here on earth. Within the marriage relationship, that is a lot. As husbands, God has given us a wife, children, money, time, possessions, and many more things that we are to steward faithfully.
I am not referring to romantic feelings, or sex, or physical attraction, which are often thought of as synonymous with love. These often make up what people refer to as being “in love.” While these things can be great, they will ebb and flow with time. They are all wonderful things to have in a marriage, but none of them are unconditional.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” ~ Ephesians 5:25
True biblical love is like Christ’s love for the Church. Stuart Scott defines this type of love in The Exemplary Husband as “A selfless and enduring commitment of the will to care about benefit another person by righteous, truthful, and compassionate thoughts, words and actions.”
Biblical love has no ulterior motive, nor is it a feeling. It is always thinking of the other person, which in this case is the wife.
God makes it clear in the Bible that the husband is to be the leader in the marriage relationship. This is not worldly leadership, typified by the CEO of a company, or a military general, but Christ-like leadership, as modeled by Jesus in the scriptures.
A husband’s leadership is very different from worldly leadership. This is primarily because a biblical husband is a servant-leader, as exemplified by Christ. Although this sounds paradoxical, servanthood and leadership coalesce very naturally. Christ was the perfect model of a servant while at the same time being the ideal leader.
“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
This service oriented type of leadership that husbands are to display should be sacrificial in nature, and includes the ability to be decisive and to take action when needed. The primary purpose of a husband’s leadership should be to guide his family in righteousness.
Simply put, service is humbly putting your wife’s needs before your own, consistently prioritizing her in the marriage relationship. A Godly husband is praying regularly for the ability to put aside his natural pride, and focusing on providing for the needs of his wife.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
As was the case with the mark of leadership, Jesus is once again a perfect model for humble service. A husband should seek to have the mindset of Christ, that is, a focus on others without a desire for recognition or approval. Christ was always seeking to glorify God by selflessly serving others with no thought of his own needs. This is the mindset that a biblical husband should strive to have toward his wife.
This is a critical element, as poor communication is one of the biggest obstacles to a good marriage. The quality of a couple’s marriage is only as good as their ability to send and receive the correct message, right?
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
There are many components that make up good communication, both on the giving and the receiving end. However, I have found that husbands may tend to struggle in particular on the receiving end. We don’t listen well. That may be because we have a one-track mind, so when our wives start talking to us while we are otherwise occupied (watching the game, reading the news), and we simply don’t retain what they are saying. Or, it may be because we are so busy thinking about what our response is going to be that we don’t fully hear what they just finished saying.
Whatever the reason, listening is an important part of communication, and a husband endeavoring to develop good communication within their marriage should develop the ability to concentrate on what their wife is saying, refrain from interrupting, and carefully consider everything that is said.
It should be clear that the list below is in no way exhaustive. There are many characteristics of Biblical husbands that are not listed below. Neither is this list comprehensive. It is simply a high level overview of 5 key marks to get you started.
An excellent resource on the topic of being a Biblical husband is the book The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott. The 5 characteristics discussed above, along with a whole host more are looked at in great detail in the book. I highly recommend The Exemplary Husband to any man committed to improving his marriage and desiring to bring it closer in line with God’s design.