Monday, January 04, 2010

What Scripture Says About Being a Good Husband

The scriptures say a lot about how to be good at being a husband. Here are some of the principles it lays out, with citations to the relevant scriptures. Copies of the translations of those verses that strike me as making those points most clearly are set out below. The hyperlinks will take you to other translations.


Here are those principles, listed in no particular order:

1. A husband is to cherish, savor, his wife, really appreciate the best in her; treat/look at her as a gift from God. Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14, Proverbs 31:10-11, Proverbs 31:30-31, Sirach 26:1-4, Sirach 26:13-14.

2. A husband is to be patient with his wife and avoid sliding into negative attitudes towards/about her. Sirach 7:26, Ephesians 5:28-30, Colossians 3:19, I Peter 3:7.

3. A husband should be completely open towards, really bond with, his wife. Genesis 2:24-25.

4. A husband is to enjoy, revel in, take pleasure from, his relationship/life with his wife. Proverbs 5:18-19, Quo 9:9.

5. A husband is to enjoy and maintain a mutually pleasing sexual relationship with his wife. Deuteronomy 24:5, Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, 1 Corinthians 7:36.

6. A husband should keep his focus on his wife. He should not be open to relationships with other women or be unduly distracted by other things in his life. Deuteronomy 24:5, Proverbs 5:16-17, Sirach 9:1-9.

7. A husband should deal with his wife in good faith. Proverbs 31:30-31, Sirach 7:19, Malachi 2:15-16, 1 Corinthians 7:33.

8. A husband is to take care of/provide for his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:33.

9. A husband must think, be intentional, about how he deals with his wife and how to strengthen his marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:33, I Peter 3:7.

10. A husband should recognize, give his wife credit for, her good work/features. Proverbs 31:30-31.

11. A husband is to consider more than his wife’s physical attractiveness. Proverbs 31:30-31.

12. A husband is to stick with his wife over the long haul—divorce is not an option. Proverbs 31:30-31, Sirach 7:19, Malachi 2:15-16, Mathew 19:3-9, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, 1 Corinthians 7:27.

13. A husband is to sacrifice, subordinate his interests, to those of his wife. Ephesians 5:25.

14. A husband should affirmatively seek to benefit, improve, grow his wife. Ephesians 5:25-30.

Genesis 2:24-25 (ESV)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Deuteronomy 24:5 (NASB)
When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

Proverbs 5:16-19 (ESV)
Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.18Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

Proverbs 12:4 (NIV)
A wife of noble character is her husband's crown

Proverbs 18:22 (NASB)
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 19:14 (NIV)
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Proverbs 31:10-11 (NLT)
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

Proverbs 31:30-31 (NLT)
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Quo 9:9 (NASB)
Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Sirach 7:19 (NJB)
Do not turn against a wise and good wife; her gracious presence is worth more than gold.

Sirach 7:26 (NAB)
If you have a wife, let her not seem odious to you.

Sirach 7:26 (NJB)
Have you a wife to your liking? Do not turn her out.

Sirach 9:1-9 (NJB)
Do not be jealous of the wife you love, do not teach her lessons in how to harm you.
2 Do not put yourself in a woman's hands or she may come to dominate you completely.
3 Do not keep company with a prostitute, in case you get entangled in her snares.
4 Do not dally with a singing girl, in case you get caught by her wiles.
5 Do not stare at a pretty girl, in case you and she incur the same punishment.
6 Do not give your heart to whores, or you will ruin your inheritance.
7 Keep your eyes to yourself in the streets of a town, do not prowl about its unfrequented quarters.
8 Turn your eyes away from a handsome woman, do not stare at a beauty belonging to someone else. Because of a woman's beauty, many have been undone; this makes passion flare up like a fire.
9 Never sit down with a married woman, or sit at table with her drinking wine, in case you let your heart succumb to her and you lose all self-control and slide to disaster.

Sirach 26:1-4 (NJB)
How blessed is the husband of a really good wife; the number of his days will be doubled.
2 A perfect wife is the joy of her husband, he will live out the years of his life in peace.
3 A good wife is the best of portions, reserved for those who fear the Lord;
4 rich or poor, their hearts will be glad, their faces cheerful, whatever the season.

Sirach 26:13-18 (NJB)
The grace of a wife will charm her husband, her understanding will make him the stronger.
14 A silent wife is a gift from the Lord, no price can be put on a well-trained character.
15 A modest wife is a boon twice over, a chaste character cannot be over-valued.
16 Like the sun rising over the mountains of the Lord, such is the beauty of a good wife in a well-run house.
17 Like a lamp shining on the sacred lamp-stand, such is a beautiful face on a well-proportioned body.
18 Like golden pillars on a silver base, such are shapely legs on firm-set heels.

Malachi 2:15-16 (NJB)
Have respect for your own life then, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
16 For I hate divorce, says Yahweh, God of Israel, and people concealing their cruelty under a cloak, says Yahweh Sabaoth. Have respect for your own life then, and do not break faith.

Mathew 19:3-9 (ESV)
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?" 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." 7They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" 8He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (ESV)
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NIV)
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): … a husband must not divorce his wife.

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 (ESV)
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[ to peace. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1 Corinthians 7:27 (ESV)
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free.

1 Corinthians 7:33 (NLT)
But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife.

1 Corinthians 7:36 (NLT)
But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancĂ©e improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin.

Ephesians 5:25-32 (NIV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Colossians 3:19 (NASB)
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.


Two times in the last month God has let me unambiguously experience His acting in otherwise ordinary circumstances. Let me describe them and try to explain what I think the lesson is.

Several weeks ago I was coming home from work and came across a disabled fellow parishioner whose car had broken down on a busy road at a time when his cell phone wasn’t working. I was able to push his car to the berm and we used my cell phone to get AAA on the case. That had to be God—one member of His body at the right time and place with the right resources to help another.

Today Dave, one of the guys that rotates as a teacher in our adult Sunday school class, was teaching. It was my week off, so I did not prepare and in fact slept in too late to pray/read the Bible before class.  But God got Dave and I into a groove that could only be the work of His Holy Spirit. Dave would make a point in his lesson, and I would be lead to a verse that dealt with the same concept in a just different enough way to perfectly complement Dave’s point. And to top it off, we had a full house, including several new folks.  That too had to be God.

So what’s my point?

I’m not totally sure, but I think it shows how God gets things done and how we should react.  He unexpectedly, but unmistakably, uses us to deliver very good things in otherwise ordinary circumstances, and then life moves on. No burning bush,  no pillar of fire, no blinding light, just God’s good stuff being delivered in ways that are unmistakably beyond our own plans or abilities. I guess we just need to open our eyes and realize it’s happening.