How to be a good husband to your wife.
The first duty of a man to his wife is to “be her husband”! A man can only be the “husband” of a woman if he performs some duties or plays particular roles in her life – to the extent that she is happy and feel special. The first role and duty of a husband to his (own) wife is to love her. To say that a man loves his wife is to talk about the sacrifice he makes for her. Ephesians 5:25 says it clearly: “Husbands, love your own wives, as Christ loved Church and gave his life for it…” God instituted marriage and cast it on Love. A husband should be his wife’s “Saviour, Deliverer and Solution-Provider. A man’s love for his wife/woman can only be measured in terms of the size of the cross he’s carrying for her betterment. A woman’s “love” is a consequence of the man’s love (sacrifice) towards her and the fulfillment she derives from his loving actions. Simply put, loving one’s wife is sacrificing for her, providing for her, bearing the Cross for her and taking care of her.
When a man takes a wife, he takes her along with her life-baggage – her history which includes her good, bad, and not-so-good aspects. Many of the good parts he already knows and the bad and not-so-good he will learn as the journey progresses. Same applies to the woman and underscores the “for better, for worse” aspect of their marriage vow. Where is the husband in this situation? He takes his wife with all the inadequacies and fashion-out the wife-of-his-desire out of her. This is where “loving her” comes to play! Wedding is only the beginning of the love journey in marriage. As one expert puts it, “the job of the man is to take it from where it is to where it ought to go because he is the Sanctifier”. A wife does not come ready-made. The husband fixes and sanctifies her for the role he wants her to play in his life. He loves his way through!
A man is the source of encouragement to his wife. A husband’s job is to work with his wife in such a way that she sees a cleanup, new life take place in her life. When she needs strength, he is her strength. When she needs encouragement, he is her encouragement. When she needs joy, he is her joy. When she needs peace, he is her peace. So that no matter how old she gets, she’s kept eternally young because she’s got a “Sanctifier” in the husband. Her husband is her makeup. When the world crashes in on her, the husband is there. He is her power-base and strength. When she loses control, he controls and calms her down.
Being a husband is a life of total commitment to one’s wife, hence it is difficult to be a “scriptural husband” and have time for other women or infidelity. A man begins the journey into infidelity because his is not prepared to be the husband he is to be. He lacks the courage to fashion out the woman he wants out of the woman he has! He runs away from a life of commitment, escaping from the need to satisfy one wife and delving into the imaginary world of satisfying multiple women. The real man sticks around his wife, loving, sacrificing and nourishing her into what he wants. The wife on her part remains caring, supportive, loyal, submissive and grateful to her husband.
A husband takes his wife home! He takes her to his home, where he eventually dwells with her. In the home, he makes her a helpmate. The idea of being a helpmate is not that the job in the house or family responsibilities should be divided among them or that each should contribute quotas to family upkeep. Both contribute according to the man’s needs. It is the man who takes care of the wife and the family. The Bible tells us that a man who cannot take care of his wife is worse than an infidel. The wife contributes to her husband’s efforts to ensure success of the family. She knows and understands this unique role and her husband must encourage and appreciate her for helping.
A good husband must be present in the home and in the wife’s life all the time. Physical presence is very crucial. However, in the face of unavoidable constraints which see husband and wife live apart, (sometimes in different continents) presence then transcends the physical. The man must be present in many fronts. He must devise a suitable ways to satisfy his wife’s requirements – companionship, romance, feelings and others. How he handles this goes a long way in determining his success as a husband and their marriage. In all these, a husband must work with his wife. Communication must be free. He must understand her and she must have a feeling of belonging, of being loved, cherished and honoured.
Every wife wants to be treated in a special and exclusive manner by her husband. She wants to be treated like a queen, not like just any other woman. She must feel special! Many men withdraw this special treatment as a protest or retaliation for her wrongdoings. This is wrong! She deserves that special treatment. Some men would jettison some “little little” pecks they were freely giving their wives prior to wedlock. They would stop taking her out, stop serving her breakfast on bed, stop telling her she is beautiful, stop sending her love notes, stop telling her how beautiful she is, stop opening door of the car for them then but now compel her to struggle with getting in before the car drives off!” Love is a continuum! When love dies, marriage dies. Many husbands kill their marriages by this singular act – they stop honoring their wives after they get married to them. They leave their wives to fend for themselves!
Men must try their best to make their marriages succeed by loving their wives in very clear, practical manner – sacrificial love. Oftentimes, marriages fail due to poor communication, wrong attitude and the man’s inability to cope with the baggage of the woman. The woman should also know that her husband has limitations beyond what he made her understand at the onset of their relationship. She must trust the man to lead her. She must be a helpmate to her husband. She must support him in everything he does towards making her his “queen” and the family happy. Appreciation is very important. Submissiveness is vital! Words and acts of gratitude go a long way. Each one should appreciate each one. But, all said and done, a man must lead with sacrificial, unconditional love. Anything short will be an invitation to chaos and failure.
Marriage is not easy and nobody ever said it would be. It is a union of two imperfect persons determined to make it work together in spite of their imperfections. It is a union that is guided by religious and traditional norms and prescriptions. No matter our individual opinions about marriage, there are certain roles couples must play in the life of their marriages. Most of the “terms and conditions” are well known to both men and women prior to marriage, but once they get into it, rather than seek coping methods and strategies, they turn towards escapism. No man can claim perfection. No woman too. However, a man is the head of the wife. The fish gets rotten from the head! Someone needs to take responsibility for failure in marriage. First is the man; then the woman follows.
Ike Ezugwu wrote this with the help of many online materials. However, special gratitude to ecclesia.org; Richard Baxter; The Holy Bible and Wikipedia.com.