By Sarah Logan, Contributing Writer
Some are of the impression that changing from single to married, by process of ceremony, official documents and a piece of metal on one’s finger somehow has an impact on his attitudes, actions and character. This applies as much to wives as to husbands I suppose. But let me just address this to the men who take the title ‘husband.‘These days the word ‘husband’ has fallen on hard times. Being a writer, I like words. Now we prefer words like, partner, spouse, mate, significant other, my man, my guy… you get the picture. What happened to ‘husband’?! The word itself almost reminds us of an age-old institution: marriage. But there is one other common use of the word ‘husband’ and there is some overlap. Let’s explore.
Farmers often undertake what is known as animal husbandry. Now, before you balk at the connections, let’s take a little inventory of what it takes to be a good farmer who engages in animal husbandry. In this context, it takes care, concern, labour, service, dedication, lost-sleep (at times), oversight. The goal is to have healthy, thriving, producing animals. The goal is for the animals under your care to trust you and produce healthy offspring. The aim in animal husbandry is the flourishing of their animals.
Sometimes men decide it would be beneficial to enter marriage. They see the benefits, joys, and potential harmonious future and say, ‘Sign me up!’ Somewhere along the line, they may have thought that a piece of paper and a ring would transform them into a true Husband. Not so fast.
I like the word ‘husband’ because of its parallels to animal husbandry. I am married to a fine husband who looks out for my needs, seeks my health and trust, loses sleep over my needs, aims to care for any small detail that would please me, pursues my wellbeing – at great cost to himself. He gives up his life for me - daily. He carries this ‘burden’ with joy and deep love in his heart. THIS is what it means to be a husband.
A paper and a ring are mere outward signs – reminders even – of what we have undertaken. I daresay a wife is an entirely different thing to a husband, which is why I am focusing on the men here. When Sam married me, he began his journey of being a husband. He was not perfect then, nor now, but he takes his job as a husband seriously. Do you?
We like to read about, look into, study and examine all the different relational strategies to emerge with better marriages. Sometimes we need to just start at the very beginning (…a very good place to start! ). Your status on your wedding day changed from single to married. For men, you acquired the name ‘husband.’ Have you taken time to examine what being a husband might entail? Have you considered how you are meeting your wife’s needs? Do you lay aside your own desires, needs, concerns, wishes, habits, in order to prefer hers? Do you give day in and day out (not just when the mood hits, or you’re feeling particularly generous) to her? Do you wait for praise or approval and decide then whether to give more? Do you seek ways to preserve your self-interests and withdraw from your wife?
Side Note about Love:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” ~ Ephesians 5:25
I have always struggled with the love commands in Scripture. This comes from a confusion about what love is – our modern concepts have muddied the waters here. How can God command us to love? What if I don’t have it in me? What if I look at my spouse and just groan? (‘You want me to love her? I just can’t! I just don’t! It’s not my fault!’) We misunderstand what love is when we think we cannot do what God commands. He says to love. If I don’t feel it then love must be something beyond my feelings. This should warrant careful examination – what does God mean when He tells us to love? He must mean that we act in certain ways and take a certain attitude towards another. Regardless of how I feel.
A paper and a ring…these did not make you a husband. And wearing the title doesn’t either. Earn your title, men. Step up to the plate, fill yourself with love that only God can produce in you and serve and give and joyfully love your wife. Like it or not, your calling was made crystal clear the day you married – and it is a calling to sacrifice and service. Don’t shrink from it! Being a husband is a high and noble state!
If you aren’t prepared to give endlessly, day in and day out, you wear the title ‘husband’ as a hypocrite. No-one should call themselves a husband who isn’t willing to undertake the duties that come with the name. If you don’t seek the best for your wife, looking out for her desires, interests, needs and cares, you ought to reconsider your position.
Scripture is clear:
“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” ~ Ephesians 5:28
I’m not trying to be harsh on you men. I’m just saying it IS possible to be what God calls you to be. And I can only say this because I observe it every single day.