What to expect of husband

Revealing what a wife should expect of her husband is a tricky thing!  Yes, we should expect our husbands to love us, and even to sacrifice their interests for ours.  The Bible says so.  It’s in Ephesians 5, in case you want to look it up for yourself 🙂  It says in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

The tricky thing is that no husband can perfectly live up to that expectation.  Therein lies the challenge.  As wives, we yearn for a perfect husband who cherishes us, adores us, romances us, sacrifices himself for us, shares his feelings with us, courageously protects us, diligently provides for us, tenderly raises children with us, spiritually leads us, and on and on.  Whew! That’s a long list!  Frankly, only Jesus could hit the mark on all those expectations, and guess what?  Your husband isn’t Jesus.

So, back to the original question.  What should we expect of our husbands?  I believe we should expect our husbands to strive to be the kind of husband described in Ephesians 5:25, while at the same time we need to realize that he will fall short of that mark because he’s human.  That’s where we need to take on the character of Christ ourselves, striving to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8)

What to expect of Christian husband

Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands.  In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband?  Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.

Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands.  It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Wow!  That’s a pretty high standard!  Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church.   My husband Raul was pretty amazing but he still had some flaws, and I bet your husband isn’t perfect either.  However, the Christian husband should be seeking to become more like Jesus every day.  This means a husband should look out for the best interest of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!

That being said, NO Christian husband is as perfect as Jesus!  Don’t expect your husband to model Christ’s behavior every single minute of every single day.  Your husband is human, and he WILL make mistakes.  He will stumble in his attempt to display godly behavior each day.  So be thankful if you see him at least trying to follow and obey the Lord, even though he will fall short at times.  As believers, we should ALL be seeking to honor and obey the Lord each day.

Submit to my husband?!? What?!

I don’t claim to be the authority on the Bible’s instruction for wives to submit to their husbands, but after spending considerable time studying God’s Word, here’s what I have come to believe on this controversial subject.  God definitely plans for all of us to live under authority.  I would imagine He knows this prevents chaos from breaking loose!  So, in a family unit, God has placed the man as the authority, and the wife and children are under his authority.  If we used a business analogy, it’s rather like your husband is the general manager who must make the major decisions on the policy and ground rules for how the business will operate.

So what does this look like for a wife?   This means choosing to treat your husband respectfully and allowing your husband to lead you and your family.  Instead of you jumping into to take over leadership, and instead of you deciding how everything should go, you allow your husband to lead.  However, just as in a business, a wise husband will value the input and sage counsel of the wife who is usually more intimately involved with handling family matters each day.  

Now, where “submitting” to your husband can go haywire is when the husband veers off course morally or Biblically.  When the husband starts leading the family (or requesting the family) to engage or support wrong behavior, then the wife need not submit to such decisions.  Her first allegiance is to God and His commands.  God is the ultimate authority.   I believe that is why the Bible includes a “qualifier” in one of the instructions for the wife to submit to her husband.  It is found in Colossians 3:18, which says “the wife must submit to her husband, as is fitting in the Lord.   If your husband is asking you to do something that is not “fitting in the Lord”, I don’t believe you must submit to such leadership.  I believe a wife can respectfully draw the line.   In addition, it’s my belief, from studying all of God’s Word, that “submission” does not mean the wife must be a doormat who tolerates disrespectful or even abusive behavior by her husband.  Such behavior by the husband is not “fitting in the Lord” either.   Submission is not being a doormat. 

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12 words a wife shouldn’t say!

Husbands battle the world every day at their jobs.  Co-workers stab them in the back.  Other men put them down in order to look more important.  The culture tells your man he is a failure if he doesn’t own a Mercedes and he can’t dunk like LeBron James.

So when your man comes home to you, the last thing he needs is to feel like a failure in your eyes too.  However, our words often unintentionally communicate just that!  Perhaps this is why God felt it necessary to actually instruct wives in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife must respect her husband”. 

Even if your husband has disappointed you, you can still be respectful as you address his behavior, request changes, and establish boundaries.  However, if you condemn him and belittle him in that moment of disappointment, you shred his heart.  As a result, he will likely turn his heart away from you, self-medicate his pain in destructive ways, or simply stop trying to be a good man since you don’t see anything good in him anyway!

With the need to respect your husband in mind, here are 12 words you should never say to your man:

  1. You always….(insert complaint)
  2. You never… (insert complaint)
  3. Why don’t you ever…?
  4. I don’t respect you
  5. I feel like your mother
  6. If people only knew what you are really like
  7. You don’t make enough money
  8. How many times do I have to tell you…?
  9. That’s not the right way to do it
  10. I don’t need you
  11. I’ll never be able to trust you
  12. You’re a jerk

How to talk about your husband

It’s actually a really awesome thing when you talk about your husband in public!  Well, it’s really awesome if what you’re sharing is complimentary!  In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your husband.  Men are wired to crave respect and affirmation.  That’s why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to respect their husbands.  I saw my husband begin glowing (in a masculine sort of way!) when I affirmed him in front of his friends or our family members.

However, there is a flip side to this business of speaking publicly about your man.  My husband always told me one of the very worst things a wife can do is to disclose some of her husband’s failures, character deficiencies or mistakes in front of other people.  He said when a wife shares her husband’s personal failings, he is absolutely devastated and emasculated.  Don’t emasculate your man! Don’t cross that boundary when speaking about him in front of others! If he begins feeling emasculated, he will likely subconsciously gravitate toward another woman who will build him up instead of tearing him down.

What to expect of husband

Revealing what a wife should expect of her husband is a tricky thing!  Yes, we should expect our husbands to love us, and even to sacrifice their interests for ours.  The Bible says so.  It’s in Ephesians 5, in case you want to look it up for yourself 🙂  It says in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

The tricky thing is that no husband can perfectly live up to that expectation.  Therein lies the challenge.  As wives, we yearn for a perfect husband who cherishes us, adores us, romances us, sacrifices himself for us, shares his feelings with us, courageously protects us, diligently provides for us, tenderly raises children with us, spiritually leads us, and on and on.  Whew! That’s a long list!  Frankly, only Jesus could hit the mark on all those expectations, and guess what?  Your husband isn’t Jesus.

So, back to the original question.  What should we expect of our husbands?  I believe we should expect our husbands to strive to be the kind of husband described in Ephesians 5:25, while at the same time we need to realize that he will fall short of that mark because he’s human.  That’s where we need to take on the character of Christ ourselves, striving to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8)

Don’t confide in your relatives

I’ve learned something pivotal over my many years of helping women navigate marriage problems.  In general, don’t share your husband’s faults and failures with your family of origin!  The reason is simple.  Your parents, siblings and grandparents not only love you, but are often overly-protective when it comes to you.   They can’t stand the thought of anyone wounding a member of their family.  Now don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However, their allegiance to you can often turn into the vilification of your husband!

Allow me to explain.  Once a wife openly shares the faults, failures or sins of her husband with her relatives, he may be forever stained in their eyes.  Many parents and siblings will begin treating the husband as the enemy.  Sometimes, those relatives develop deep resentment toward the husband.  Once those strong feelings have developed, it’s often hard to turn that ship around, even if the husband has repented of wrong-doing!  He will always have a black mark next to his name.

This is what I would suggest doing.  You definitely SHOULD seek advice and wise counsel as you’re working through difficult seasons in your marriage, but, in general, avoid confiding in your relatives.  If you sense that your relatives are quick to forgive and refuse to hold onto resentment, perhaps you can safely confide in them.  Otherwise, seek counsel elsewhere, such as a women’s ministry leader, Christian counselor, or wise older Christian woman in your life.  You need the kind of wisdom described in James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

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