In every wedding I perform, I love taking a moment to truly challenge the groom in what it means to be a husband. By the way, I do a great wedding (inside joke)! After the ceremony is over, it never fails that there are one or two people who want to comment about the “husband challenge.” Sometimes it’s a wife who says, “I wish my husband could have been here to hear that.” Sometimes it’s a husband standing with his wife who says, “Thanks, I needed to hear this today!” And sometimes it’s a fellow Christian who simply wants to encourage me to “keep calling men to embrace the role of a godly husband.”
I’m always honored by those statements of encouragement. However, I guess in some ways the “husband challenge” is a round about way of reminding myself of what God has called me to and a chance to recommit to the high calling of a husband. So this post is another version of the “husband challenge” Hopefully it will encourage and guide some husbands out there as well as the wives who live life alongside them.
Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This simple sentence is the great calling of husbands. The idea is that we are to live our lives emulating our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Specifically, what is alluded to here is Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. In all my years of doing weddings, I’ve never met a groom who was not willing to die for the woman he loves. In fact, that kind of sacrifice is kinda cool. It’s noble. It’s exactly what we expect from a man in love. However, there’s the other side of sacrifice we rarely mention. Living for her. Dying for her is built in, but living for her is different. Make no mistake, Jesus did both! That is why we celebrate both the death AND resurrection of Jesus. He died for His bride, the Church, and by the power of God, He lives for her as well.
Living FOR your wife almost sounds sacrilegious. I mean, aren’t we called to live for Christ!? Of course, we are. However, in our living FOR Christ we also live FOR others and there is no other person who ought to rank as highly to a man as a his wife.
Here are three ways you can start living FOR your wife today!
1. Be the provider.
I use this word more broadly than most think. I believe there is plenty of room in a God-honoring marriage for a wife to provide an income. Provision goes well beyond bringing home the bacon! Providing involves working and generating an income certainly. In fact, men are made to work and generate an income. You should always be about the business of using your effort and labor to improve the well-being of your family. This also means that you should be prepared to take on the sole income provision for your family as desired or needed. Beyond income, being a provider means providing the environment for your wife to thrive. It involves providing space and opportunity for your wife to express her God-given gifts, talents and strengths. You provide to survive and hopefully to thrive!
2. Be the protector.
Men, one of the primary roles of a husband is to ensure the protection of his wife (and kids), as far as it depends upon him. This is where we live in the balance of trusting God’s sovereignty and personal responsibility. You must be mindful about the security and safety of your wife. This means a lot more than owning a gun and setting the alarm on your house at night. Being protector means, protecting her reputation. You are the guardian of her heart and you must protect her emotions. It’s counter-intuitive for many men (myself included) but sitting and listening to your wife is a form of protection because that is one way to understand her emotions. You must protect your wife by protecting your time. You must learn to hold non-essential things loosely. FYI - work is essential! You gotta go to work! Good communication also protects a woman’s emotions. She feels safer when she knows how you are doing, so it may be time to do the difficult work of opening up to your wife!
3. Be the playmate.
Be an advocate for fun. Never underestimate having fun together. Don’t delegate fun solely to your wife or kids, you need to be your wife’s playmate. She needs to know she can cut loose around you. There needs to be experiences that you share together, outside the bedroom, that no one else gets to be part of. The more your home is full of laughter, the more love you feel. It’s really hard to feel love when there’s no fun! When was the last time you made your wife laugh? What is the most fun experience you have had together? Maybe surprise her with some unexpected fun and remind her that you are the husband she can enjoy being married to.
So here is my challenge to you, husbands: Love your wife as Christ loved the Church. He died for her but he also lived for her!