I am convinced basically from what I have read in the Bible that the foundation of the home is the responsibility of the woman, but that does not put off the truth that God expects the man to have some input in the building of a success home. The fact that the man is the head of the home makes him accountable for most of the issues of the home. His contributions are not limited to providing for the family because even the woman has also been saddled with the responsibility to provide for the family as we can see in Proverbs 31. So in order to understand well what God expects of the man in marriage we need to go back to the Bible.
Ephesians 5:25-31 (NIV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no-one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ the church - for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Colossians 3:19 (NIV)
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Just as I did when I discussed on the roles of the wife, I have gone back to passages in the Bible where God explicitly gave His instruction to the husband through Paul and Peter. The instruction for the husbands is first of all to love their wives just as Christ loved the church. If God had just told the husband to love his wife, it could be any kind of love, it could be half love or a quarter love, but God said the love of the husband to his wife should be in the pattern in which Christ loved the church. So any love short of this kind of love from the husband to his wife is not what God expects from a man to his wife.
The kind of love God expects from the husband to the wife is such that the husband should be ready to give himself up for his wife, it is a kind of love that unconditional. Just as the church has betrayed the trust of Christ so many times and yet He loves them, God expects that the husband should love his wife despite her shortfall.
Now speaking of shortfalls in the life of the wife, the book of Ephesians 3 tells us that Christ made the church holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and then presented her to himself as a radiant church without stain, wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. If the church was holy without Christ, there will be no need for Christ to make her holy because she would have been perfect as she was.
But due the imperfection of the church Christ had to put in efforts in making the church (His bride) holy and blameless, by the washing with the water through the word. And He did this just that He might present the church to HIMSELF as a radiant church. Christ didn’t take the pains to cleanse the church for any other person or purpose, but for His own personal pleasure.
This is the pattern that God has set before the man as the approved pattern for the husband in marriage. He has been mandated by God to love his wife unconditionally and then just like Christ did, make efforts at cleansing her and making her holy and blameless, then presenting her to himself and nobody else as a radiant bride. This the husband will do not for the pleasure of anyone else, but for himself alone. As a man, the unconditional love that you have been mandated by God to have for your wife is to propel you to bring out the radiance in her. Working to remove the shortfalls in her life that you might enjoy to the full advantage what God has deposited in the life of your wife for you.
God through Paul also instructed that the man is to love his wife as himself. He says the fact that you love your wife is an indication that you love yourself, and in as much as you cannot hate yourself, you ought not to hate your wife.
This sometimes look like not the case with many men and it appears very possible to love themselves yet not love their wives. But in order to understand this a little better I will want us to look at two more Bible passages.
Genesis 2:18 (NIV)
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Proverbs 18:22 (NIV)
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from God.
When Paul said the man who loves his wife loves himself, he was not speaking out of context. If God who made man in the beginning has declared that it is not good for the man to be alone, then that goes to tell us there is a missing link in the existence of man that only his wife who is the suitable help the Lord has made for him can fill. So to say that the existence of the man is not perfectly complete without the wife who is his suitable help. Nobody but God made it so.
The problem with the man who does not love his wife is that he has despised that which the Lord has provided for him to make him complete and perfect. The wife is not just an ordinary entity to the man, she is not just like any other person who appears in his life, she is a portion of him that the Lord placed in his life to complete and make perfect his existence. And so Paul says you as a man cannot claim to love yourself when you don't love your wife. And this is so true because your wife is part of you.
Just as I asked in my last blog post to the women, before you write your wife off as a thorn in your flesh, in what way have you attempted to cleanse her, thereby presenting her to yourself as a radiant bride in the same pattern as Christ did the church? Before you approach the divorce court to annul that marriage, what can you say has been your input in the life of your wife to make her a better person for your own pleasure? What are the good seeds that you have planted in the life of your wife that you have prayerfully watered and nurtured from which you expect the harvest of goodness from her life? If you have not been able to do the needful in the life of your wife, then you will be just as guilty when you proclaim that she has not been the wife you expect her to be. May the Lord help the husbands to be all that He expects them to be.
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