My marriage is far from perfect and if you were to ask my wife, she’d tell you that I am anything but the model Christian husband. No, this isn’t me trying to be humble, nor is it any sort of a tactic, it’s just the honest to God truth. I am publishing this on Valentine’s Day because why not? Seriously though, it’s that one day where many men (mostly, likely some women too) think that their yearlong failure to be the spouse they ought to be, can be covered up with chocolate and roses, may be a nice dinner and night out – all of which screams cliché!
After reading this article, I hope that you will be able to understand what it takes to be a godly husband or wife, which in turn can help you have a God honouring marriage. Even if you are not a Christian and don’t follow Jesus, I believe that you will gain something of value.
God’s Definition of Marriage
God not only created Adam and Eve, He also defined what marriage is.
In Genesis 2:23-24, it is written:
And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
God recognised that Adam was lonely and created Eve so that they can be there for each other and best children. Biblical God approved marriage is the union of a man and a woman (neither are already married or divorced, except because of infidelity).
Same-sex marriage is allowed by legislation in some countries, but it contradicts God’s intention for and definition of marriage. I respect the law and won’t stand in the way of people making a freewill choice BUT I cannot in good conscience agree with or support same-sex marriage because I serve the LORD (not any government) and same-sex marriage is unbiblical.
Marriage, as defined by God, is a beautiful and holy blessing and should not be taken lightly by anyone who professes to be a Christian.
Jesus, the Ultimate Example
In order to determine what a godly Christian husband or wife ought to be, we must first focus on Jesus.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, it is written
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (emphasis mine)
It is impossible to be a Christian unless we focus on Jesus and is dependent on Him.
In John 15:5-6, Jesus Himself had this to say:
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Not only does Jesus tell us that we can do nothing without Him, He also makes it very clear that those who claim to be Christian but don’t bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, will be destroyed.
So, what can we learn from Jesus that’ll help us be the husbands and wives we ought to be?
In 1 John 4:7-8, it is written:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (emphasis mine)
On our own, we don’t have the ability to love like we should. You may have an idea of what love is like (based on your own ideas or popular culture) but unless you know God, the Author of love, who is love Himself, you don’t know what real love is. What you know and express is likely a good (or cheap) imitation of the real thing.
Expanding further on the fact that God is love, we cannot ignore God’s unconditional love towards us. This is evident in many parts of the Scriptures but I will highlight just two verses. No doubt, you are already familiar with John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In Romans 5:8, the depth of God’s love is even clearer.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus didn’t die for us after we began a self-improvement process or tried to become good on our own, He chose to sacrifice Himself when we were most unworthy.
My friends, how can we be a godly husband or wife unless we have God’s self-sacrificial, unconditional love, within us? It is impossible to have this love, let alone towards our spouses, unless the Spirit of God dwells in us. The Spirit of God will not dwell in us unless we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus.
The key to being a good husband or wife, is Jesus!
It is impossible to be a godly husband or wife without humility and no One can ever be humbler than Jesus! While there are several verses that tell us about the humility of Christ, I believe Philippians 2:5-8 captures it best.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, took on human form and endured so much, even death on a cross, for you and me!
It is also important to point out Jesus’s servant heart. While He could very well have asked the disciples to serve Him, in Matthew 20:27-28, Jesus had this to say.
And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Christ once again demonstrated His humility in a practical manner in John John 13:1-17 when He washed the disciples feet after the last supper.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
How wonderful would marriages be if husbands and wives humbled themselves before each other, just as Christ did for all of our sake? Rather than trying to lord it over each other, imagine husbands and wives serving each other in love, just as Lord Jesus did? It is impossible to have the humility of Christ without the Holy Spirit of Christ!
Where unforgiveness is a resident, there you will find an unhappy and toxic marriage.
While He walked on earth, Christ healed numerous people and forgave their sins.
When the religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman caught committing adultery (John 8:1-11), they asked Him whether she should be stoned according to the law of Moses. Jesus told them that those without any sin can cast the first stone. Everyone walked away because they knew they were sinners. Jesus, the ONLY person there who met this condition and could’ve stoned the woman, had this to say to her.
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
I cannot imagine how that woman must have felt. While this is a wonderful example of the love and forgiveness of Christ, Luke 23:33-34 is perhaps the greatest public demonstration of His forgiveness.
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
After being brutally beaten by the Roman soldiers, Jesus was crucified and as He hung there, the religious leaders and many others jeering Him, His own creation insulting Him, Christ asked God the Father to forgive them.
How would your marriage look like if you forgave your spouse as often as needed, as opposed to holding grudges and giving them the silent treatment (I am guilty of this) or worse? Isn’t it amazing how we forget the fact that in Christ, we are forgiven BUT we have no problems being unforgiving towards others, especially our spouses? When you confess Christ as Lord and allow His Spirit to be the Lord of your life, it is possible to forgive like Jesus!
The Godly Husband / Wife
Either you are a follower of Jesus or you are not.
Galatians 5:19-23 is a pretty good summary of the difference between the two.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
If you don’t know Jesus, then you are the boss of you and you can do whatever you want. Of course, when you look at the list above, it’s clear to see why this wouldn’t lead to a happy marriage. On the other hand, if you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and when you deny yourself and submit to the Spirit, He will bear fruit in you. Imagine what your marriage would be like if each one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit kept maturing in you?
It is not unusual to find 1 Corinthians 13 featured in a Christian wedding and for good reason. Apostle Paul is writing to the Christians in Corinth and explaining to them that a Christian without love is not a Christian at all, which makes sense because we know God is love.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
In the Scriptures above, if you were to replace your name wherever “love” appears, would it be truthful? What would your marriage look like if you and your spouse sought the Lord to help you love like this? In Christ alone, this is possible!
If we were to put all the above together, what would it look like?
I think Ephesians 5:22-23 summarises everything quite well!
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Some Christian husbands/men have used these verses to lord it over their wives, causing lot of hurt and led to broken families.
If we are to carefully consider Ephesians 5:22-23 against the points I have made above, it becomes very clear what God expects of Christian husbands and wives.
A Christian husband who loves Jesus will rely on the Holy Spirit to practically reflect Jesus in all aspects of his life. Will he fail? Yes. Should that cause the Christian wife to lose hope and give up? No. A Christian wife who loves Jesus will have no issues submitting to and respecting her Christian husband who himself submits to Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus, a real Christian, the Scriptures are rife with God’s truth that’ll help you be a godly husband or wife.
If you don’t know Jesus, you might still think that you’re a good husband or wife but the reality is that unless God’s love is in you, your love is incomplete and your marriage will not be as strong as it can be with Christ at the centre of it.
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to show that you love your spouse. As cliched as this may sound, if you love your spouse the way God loves them, with Christ in your heart, everyday can be like Valentine’s Day!
God bless you.Thank Sri 🙂