What Does the Bible Say about the Role of a Husband?

happy husband looking at bride

Ladies,

I laid the groundwork for this entire discussion in the posts, “Are Men and Women Equal?” and “What Does the Bible Say about the Role of a Wife?

As I mentioned in those previous posts, there are many ways in which women and men are equal in the kingdom of God. God equally loves all of His precious children—sons and daughters.

We have:

  • Equal access to salvation.
  • Equal adoption into the family of God through Jesus and His work on the cross and our faith in His gift.
  • Equal access to God and prayer through Jesus.
  • Equal access to the promises, power, and Word of God through Jesus.
  • Equal status as joint-heirs in Christ through His finished work on our behalf.

But men and women are not the same. We are not identical or interchangeable.

We have different roles, functions, and types of authority in the church and family. This is a good thing.

God’s purpose for our differences is that is a man and woman might display a living picture of the gospel in the way they relate to each other in marriage. (Eph. 5:22-33)

  • The husband is to represent the strong, selfless, humble, loving leadership and sacrifice of Christ Jesus for His bride, the church.
  • The wife is to represent the respect, honor, faith, love, and cooperative spirit that the church has for Christ.

Today, let’s take a look at the role of a husband in Scripture. Again, we must be willing to look at this subject in the context of the bigger picture of:

All believers are called to holiness and to God’s high standard to:

  • Love God far above anyone or anything else, the Greatest Commandment—Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37)
  • Be Spirit-filled in all of our interactions with others—the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:22-23
  • Refuse to harm othersLove does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 10:13)
  • Love all people, the second greatest commandment—Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:39)
  • Love with God’s supernatural loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
  • Treat all people with honor and godly respectHonor one another above yourselves. (Rom. 12:10)

The Role of a Husband in Scripture

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:17-18  🕊

I am sharing this information for the sake of balance and the big picture. But the only One who can really always be all the perfect Husband to us is Jesus. Our husbands may fail us, and we may fail them, at times, too. But Jesus will never fail us.

CAUTION – For some wives, it can be upsetting to read about what a husband’s ideal roles are supposed to look like. If you know the basic role a husband is supposed to perform, and you know that it will upset you to read it, it is okay to skip the rest of this post.

I know for me, especially in the early years of my journey to become a more peaceful, godly wife, it was better for me to focus completely on what God called me to do. If I read about what husbands should do, I always wanted to try to focus on making my husband fulfill all of his roles, but that is not my job.

My job is to allow the Lord to transform me and to empower me to be the woman He calls me to be.

I want to simply present what Scripture says about a godly husband’s general role to get a broad overview of this topic directly from the Bible.

  1. A husband leaves his parents and clings to his wife and they are no longer two but one flesh, joined together by God. Nothing but death is supposed to separate them. They are united in a holy covenant. (Gen. 2:23-24, Mark 10:6-9)
  2. He has loving God-given authority (leadership) to humbly lead his wife according to God’s will. He never uses his strength to harm his wife. He uses his strength for her benefit: to provide for his wife, protect her, nourish her, and care for her— financially, spiritually, physically, etc… He does what is best for her (and their family) in God’s eyes, even if it is costly to him. (Gen. 2:23, Gen. 2:16-17, Eph.5:22-33, 1 Tim. 5:8)
  3. Godly leadership, in any arena in life (family, church, government, or community), is about servanthood, Christlikeness, dying to self, and seeking God’s will and His glory above all else. (Luke 22:25-27, Luke 22:42)
  4. He blesses and praises the good in his wife. (Prov. 31:28-31)
  5. He loves his wife in the power of God’s Spirit (with God’s agape love – 1 Cor. 13:4-8) and is not harsh with her. (Col. 3:19)
  6. He loves his wife with the same self-sacrificing love that Jesus has for His church in the way He gave Himself up for her. He loves his wife and cares for her as he does his own body. (Eph. 5:25, 28)
  7. A husband enjoys life with his wife even when life in this world is tough. (Eccl. 9:9)
  8. He humbly yields himself fully to the Lordship of Jesus and honors God’s spiritual chain of command in the family: God>Christ>husband>wife>underage children. He values his wife and family the way God does and wants to take the best care of them, knowing he answers to God for what he thinks, says, and does. He knows that only someone who is committed to absolute submission to the loving authority of Christ is truly equipped to lead well. He knows that that godly leadership is never about selfishness, abuse, or trying to control others. He seeks to love, lead by example, and point his wife and family to God’s way of Life and His wisdom. (1 Cor. 11:3Eph. 6:1)
  9. A husband is faithful to his wife and their marriage covenant, not cheating on her, not divorcing her, and not abandoning her. He does this out of reverence for the Lord and a commitment to his marriage covenant so that God will listen to his prayers and his children can be godly. His greatest loyalty is to God first. (Mal. 2:14-16)
  10. He does not look at another woman lustfully in his heart. (Matt. 5:28,)
  11. He honors the marriage bed and keeps it undefiled. (Heb. 13:4)
  12. He does not divorce his wife, except possibly if she breaks the marriage covenant in some way. (Matt. 5:32, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)
  13. He selflessly and generously gives his wife her conjugal rights (if his wife is not breaking their marriage covenant), meaning, he seeks to be available to her sexually whenever he possibly can. (1 Cor. 7:3)
  14. He lives with his wife in an understanding way, treating her with honor so that his prayers may not be hindered. (1 Pet. 3:7)
  15. He stays with and loves his wife, even if she is an unbeliever if she is willing to stay and is not breaking the marriage covenant. He prays that he might lead her to Christ with his love and godly example. (1 Cor. 7:12-16)
  16. A husband rejoices in his own wife, in his own marriage, in his wife’s body, and in their sexual intimacy alone. (Prov. 5:15-19)

Just a note—all of us, men and women, need the Holy Spirit’s power to help us be the people, spouses, parents, and everything that God calls us to be. None of us can meet these holy, perfect standards in our own strength. In our own power, we all fall short.

It all comes down to a willingness to yield ourselves completely to the Lordship of Christ.

We all need Jesus and His power to do anything He calls us to do!

God can use His glorious design for marriage to help us see how far we fall from His holy standard and how much we are dependent on Him. He can even use our spouse’s sins and annoying habits to help conform us to the image of Christ, which is His ultimate goal for His children.

Thankfully, whether a spouse is seeking to honor Christ or not, no one can stop us from deciding we are going to follow Christ and we are going to let Him transform and empower us to obey Him.

I’m so thankful that God uses ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). His good purpose for us is to make us more and more like Jesus, that we might bring great glory to Him and bring many into the kingdom (Rom. 8:29).

For more resources about a husband’s biblical role, please check out the list below. Please—always “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) of any author’s teaching, including mine, against the sound doctrine of the Bible.

NOTE— Ladies, if your husband doesn’t look exactly like Jesus right now, don’t be discouraged! None of us will look exactly like Jesus until we reach heaven.

Invite God to transform you into the woman and wife He calls you to be, that you might be a godly influence on your husband. Humble yourself and ask God to help you understand and do things His way.

Invite God to transform and empower your husband to become the man God desires him to be. Yield fully to God’s design and His calling for your life, no matter what your husband may choose to do, and you will be amazed at the power and love of God to do miracles in your life.

How to Influence an Unbelieving Husband for Christ

Much love in Christ!

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If you have read both the husband and wife’s role, what do you think? Who has the toughest shoes to fill? Or is it a tie?

What is easier to get excited about, what God calls your husband to do or what He calls you to do?

How does God’s design picture portray the gospel in tangible ways?

How does the picture of their parents’ godly marriage help children come to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord?

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Husbands? by www.openbible.info (list of verses)

What Are the Roles for Husband and Wife in a Family? by www.gotquestions.org

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Is Christian Submission Only for Wives? by Peaceful Wife

Articles on Husbands by www.desiringgod.org

The Secret to Greatness in God’s Kingdom

The Qualities of a Godly Mate by www.bible.org (scroll way down to find husband at the bottom)

God Empowers a Husband to Face a Fierce Storm

Are Men and Women Equal in God’s Eyes? by www.gotquestions.org

**1050 New Testament Commands for believers in Christ (I am endorsing this particular list because it was the most comprehensive one I could find, however I have not had time to research the rest of the site.) by CAI.

ABUSE IS ALWAYS SIN and NEVER GOD’S DESIGN

What Does the Bible Say about Verbal Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Emotional Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is a Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence? by www.gotquestions.org

Desiringgod.org posts on Abuse