Man Up – Be the Husband That God Has Called You to Be

Man Up - Be the Husband That God Has Called You to Be

Man Up - Be the Husband That God Has Called You to Beblack t shirt

God’s Design for Marriage

The Bible is replete with Scriptures that speak to the institution and covenant of marriage: a few of these are Genesis 2: 20 – 25; Malachi 2:13 – 16; 1 Corinthians 7:1 – 6; Ephesians 5:22 -33; 1Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6 and Hebrews 13:4. From these Scriptures, we learn some important truths. Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman and is to be a permanent and monogamous institution. The law and society may want to redefine marriage, but God’s Word is clear as to what constitutes marriage. Any other construct is unbiblical, ungodly and demonic.

While God permitted polygamy, it was never His perfect will. Jesus clearly indicated in the Gospel of Matthew that God’s original intent was a union between one man and one woman: it is always man who attempts to pervert God’s ideal or to replace it with an inferior substitute. When two individuals are married, a new family unit is formed. The couple must put some distance between them and their previous family. Clear boundaries must be established so that there are no external influences to negatively affect the family. While divorce was permissible under Old Testament Law, Malachi shows that it is something that God hates; Jesus would later teach that divorce was allowed because of the hardness of human hearts. Apart from that, God’s desire is that a husband and wife remain together until separated by death.

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. Husbands must love their wives unconditionally. This is not a natural love, but must come from the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 gives us some of the principles of the kind of love that husbands should have for their wives. This love should also include romantic love: husbands need to keep the flame burning. The Bible encourages sexual intimacy: both the husband and the wife must recognize that their bodies belong to each other. Sex should not be arbitrarily withheld but should be regular and mutually satisfying.

Marriage is of such importance that it was mentioned in ministerial requirements. An overseer is to be the husband of one wife. This same principle held true for deacons and must apply to anyone who is involved in ministry, particularly in leadership positions. Further, the Bible shows that persons must have good and loving relationships at home. Too often we encounter situations where those involved in ministry have poor and dysfunctional family relationships.


Husbands, we need to ensure that our marriage is Christ centered: the lordship and kingdom of Christ must be established in our marriage. The first thing that we need to do is to ensure that we have an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and that our lives are saturated with the Holy Spirit. God has not called us to be religious, superficial or worldly. God has called us to have a growing relationship with Him, that the image of Christ is formed in us and that we experience the reality that the early church had. In Acts 2:42, we see that the saints were committed to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

We need to inspire our wives so that they are willing to follow our example. Husbands are called to be the priests of the home, providing spiritual leadership. In order to have a Christ centered marriage, we must have devotions with our wives. This has been difficult for many husbands, especially in a society that has become increasingly busy, with both the husband and wife working (at times working different shifts). Nevertheless, husbands need to make this a priority: we need to make the time. During our time of devotions, we can get into the Word of God and can pray. This simple activity will do much to bring about intimacy in the marriage, but will also see the blessings of God released in the home.

Christ centered marriages involve taking our needs and problems to God. It is a tragic mistake to go it alone, to depend on human ingenuity to tackle all of our problems. The Bible is clear that we are not to lean on our own understanding, but that we are to trust in the Lord with all our heart. When we do so, God has promised to direct our paths. Essentially, we need to allow Him to be Lord of everything in our home. That means that we pray for our marriage, we pray for our children, we pray for our finances, we pray for every aspect of the home so that we can see the hand of God at work in our lives.

Part of making our home Christ centered is attending and being actively involved in church. The early Christians were committed to the fellowship, which also included the corporate gathering of the saints and meeting in each other’s homes. There is a powerful dynamic that happens when the saints gather together. Jesus told us that He is present wherever two or three are gathered and that if two or three agree as touching anything, it will be done. The church setting provides an environment where we are ministered to and where we can minister to others. When linked with our personal devotions and our family devotions, church attendance and involvement will strengthen our marriage.


There are various levels of communication that have been identified. One of the lowest levels is the cliché level. This level is basically the kind of conversation that you would expect strangers to have. Other levels include facts, opinions, feelings and needs. The feelings and needs levels are the highest levels of communication based on this model. Some couples have serious challenges with communication. They may have been at the higher levels of communication, but over the years, they stopped taking the time to nurture intimate conversation. Perhaps when the children came along they became too busy to spend quality time with each other.

Husbands, ensure that your wife is your best friend by spending quality time together. Best friends enjoy each other’s company. They are excited to be together even though there may be times of disagreements. In those cases, best friends talk them through, forgive one another and continue the friendship. Best friends feel comfortable sharing secrets, sharing their successes and their problems, and generally just talking about life. Best friends feel comfortable baring their soul. Having your wife as your best friend doesn’t take away from being good friends with others. However, husbands must avoid having a female best friend other than their wife. Too often this has led to affairs. Sometimes it has led to emotional affairs where a husband is more comfortable sharing intimate secrets with another woman rather than with his wife.

Couples must learn to talk about everything especially those things that are most important. Let’s go back to the levels of communication. It is alright for husbands to share facts and opinions. Men often like to talk about societal issues, sports, cars and other practical things. Women also like to talk about various things. The ability to talk about these things makes for interesting conversation. Equally, there are serious things that must be discussed: we must talk about various aspects of the marriage, about raising the children, about finances, about work issues that have implications for home life, about our faith, about how we’re feeling, about our needs, about our problems. Communicating about everything is one of the ways to maintain a healthy marriage taking into consideration that good communication is both talking and listening (paying careful attention to what the other person is saying, understanding it, and responding appropriately.)

Some couples lose the ability to communicate. They become like “passing ships in the night.” They may continue to live together, but the marriage is essentially lifeless. This is unlikely to be something that happened all at once. It was a gradual process. Perhaps the husband or the wife became extremely busy with work, with church, or with various social activities. Perhaps the husband and wife began to work conflicting shifts that did not allow for quality time together. Perhaps there were unresolved issues that caused tension in the marriage. Perhaps more time was spent talking with people on the outside than with each other. There can be many reasons, but we have to ensure that doesn’t happen in our marriage. If it has happened, don’t be afraid to get help; all hope is not gone.

Let’s consider some of the ways in which we can improve communication. It is imperative that we make time to talk. We can get so busy with the cares and responsibilities of life that we fail to invest quality time in talking to our spouse. The same way we make time for the things that we deem important, we need to make time to talk to our wives. We need to be willing to listen and empathize. Sometimes, as men, we tend not to really listen, but are often quick to provide a solution (quick fix). Empathy is the ability to identify with what our wives are experiencing. It is listening in a sensitive and caring way.

We can share the experiences of the day. This could be a way to kick off a conversation. However, I would suggest that we don’t spend any excessive amount of time talking about work problems and situations. Give highlights, but leave the work at the office. Discuss problems. Unresolved problems destroy marriages. We have to talk about problems, pray about those problems and come up with appropriate solutions. Give undivided attention when talking. Reading the newspaper or watching television while your wife is talking to you may impress you with your ability to multitask, but it doesn’t facilitate quality communication. If you are having challenges with communication, there is help available through counseling and/or getting information from various sources.


God has ordained marriage to be a permanent and monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. Marriage is a covenant between a husband and a wife and with God. A husband must be faithful to his wife in thought, speech and actions. He must not think of another woman more than he thinks about his wife, not even his mother or his daughter. He must not think of another woman in a sexual way. Further, the husband must not communicate with another woman on an equal or more intimate level than with his wife. He also must not do anything sexual or otherwise that is an act of infidelity. He must be completely faithful to the covenant of marriage.

It is important that husbands understand the nature of temptation. The society that we live in is largely an immoral society where sex outside of marriage is accepted and often condoned. Even the traditional notion of marriage is being aggressively challenged. Relationships are sometimes seen as relationships of convenience – friends with benefits. Sex is something that is very natural and in the right context is God ordained. In other words, men are wired to desire sex. Additionally, we have to be aware of those moments of emotional vulnerability due to varying circumstances: problems at home, midlife crisis, work challenges, insecurity. During these low periods, men can make foolish mistakes with disastrous consequences. There is unfortunately the perennial struggle with lust, which is aggravated by a personal history of sexual immorality. The devil, then, does what he can to tempt us into a lifestyle of immorality.

Husbands, we need to take responsibility for being faithful to our wives. We need to avoid situations and locations that could potentially lead to infidelity. For example, men must avoid all sources of pornography, including what is called “soft porn:” swimsuit and lingerie websites. Husbands also need to avoid possible compromising situations with the opposite sex (unfortunately, now we may have to talk about this with the same sex). We are not supermen; we are not immune to temptation; why put such confidence in our flesh that we expose ourselves to wrong thinking and actions? It is better to be safe than sorry. We also need to be accountable to other spiritually mature men. Many of them go through the same struggles that we do, so mutual accountability can protect us from falling.

An integral part of being faithful is loving and appreciating our wives. The Bible challenges the husband to love the wife as Christ loves the church. Jesus demonstrated His love for the church by dying so that the church could be redeemed by His blood and reconciled to God. The love that we are to have for our wives is an unconditional love and not simply a friendship or erotic or romantic love: it is loving our wife even if she appears unlovable. It is loving our wife even when she starts to put on weight around the waist after having children. It is loving our wife even when her hair starts to turn gray and her skin begins to sag. Ultimately, love is not based on appearances; it is a divine reality that allows us to see our wife in the best possible way in spite of any physical changes. Love is characterized by both feelings and actions. Our wives are gifts from God: the man that finds a wife finds something good. The wife is called to be perfect companion to the husband: his helpmeet. Your wife is a unique creation of God that was given to you to complement you.


Every marriage will inevitably have some conflict or various other challenges to deal with. Carried along in the romantic euphoria of love, newly married couples may feel that there never will be any significant disagreements. They may feel that their love will be able to weather every conflict and adversity, that they will always be in love with each other, that they will never get tired of each other, or ever reach that point where they want to separate or divorce. Those of us who have been married for some time know otherwise.

Interestingly, anything can become a source of conflict or a reason to have a disagreement. The three most problematic areas are sex, money, and communication. For example, the husband may want to have sex every day; the wife feels as if her husband has a sex demon. This of course is a generalization. In the area of money, there may be conflict over who should manage the funds or how the money should be spent: one spouse may be a spender, the other may be a saver. Communication is perhaps the biggest challenge as it affects all areas of marriage. Two other significant areas of conflict are raising children and relating to in-laws.

Regardless of the source of conflict, it must be dealt with so that the marriage can be healthy and intimate. One of the qualities that is indispensable in dealing with conflict is humility. Proud people typically are self-centered, harsh, judgmental and inconsiderate. When we are humble, we will not only work toward the resolution of a conflict, we will also apologize when we are wrong. However, humility does not make us doormats to be taken advantage of. Another quality that is needed is empathy, the ability to put ourselves in our spouse’s shoes, to see their perspective. Empathy will lead to understanding, which could lead to appreciating our spouse’s views. We have to be very much aware of our fallibility: we are not always right. Couples who successfully navigate through the stormy seas of conflict are those who learn to talk through their problems and come to an agreeable resolution.

There are extreme situations that require serious intervention. Ongoing quarreling where a husband and wife are arguing every day is a cause for concern; it signals that there is something very wrong with the marriage. Conflict that is only “resolved” through control or manipulation is another huge problem. Shouting, emotional, physical and verbal abuse are other indications that conflict is out of control and that the relationship is dysfunctional. These types of problematic situations require a counselor to be involved and likely a number of counseling sessions.

Every family will have to deal with life challenges and these can have severe impacts on a marriage. How do you cope with the death of a child? How do you cope with a spouse who has manic depression or a terminal illness? How do you deal with the loss of a job or bankruptcy? How do you deal with victimization in the office? How do you deal with a church split? There are many situations that can impact families that have to be prayed over and discussed.


There is an old proverb that says, “Variety is the spice of life.” Life can easily become monotonous and boring. While some predictability and routine are needed, too much can negatively impact a marriage. God is the Creator, the God who created out of nothing. Creation is beautifully diverse: in humanity, animals, vegetation, terrain, weather. Marriage should reflect the creativity of God. It should be exciting, fulfilling and refreshing. It should be constantly growing. There ought to be something about your wife that makes your heart flutter, that confirms that she is the one and you would rather be with her than with anybody else.

There are multiple ways in which you can introduce creativity into your marriage. Husbands, we need to learn to romance our wives based on their love language. Each person has a way in which they feel most loved. Gary Chapman has identified five love languages: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and physical touch. Your wife may respond to all of these, but there is one that she absolutely cannot do without. She may love when you bring her flowers. She may love when you massage her feet. She may love when you prepare her a meal. She may love when you take her on a private picnic in some serene location. She may love when you hold her around her waist. She may love when you whisper in her ear how much you love her. She may love just knowing that you are next to her. One of the key things is that we must not take our wife for granted, but must keep on romancing her.


Husbands, God has called us to be the leaders in our home. We must demonstrate what it is to be godly. We must be the husbands and the fathers that He wants us to be. His Word is filled with principles that we can internalize. He has given us the Holy Spirit to cultivate the fruit and graces in our lives that we need. Our marriage doesn’t have to be unfulfilling, disappointing, or heading toward separation and divorce. It can be like the relationship between Christ and His church, an enduring and loving relationship.

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