The One Thing About Marriage That Should Make Every Husband Tremble

The One Thing About Marriage That Should Make Every Husband Tremble
April 18, 2016 Matthew L. Jacobson

In my experience, there’s just far too much talk in Christian circles about how wives need to submit to their husbands and far too few husbands shaking in their boots with terror at how God said He wants them to treat their wives.

An overstatement? Maybe, but Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. In other words, doing what we are instructed to do is a demonstration of our love for Jesus Christ. If you don’t love Jesus, no problem (for now!). Don’t bother doing what He says.

Wait a minute . . . of course I love Jesus.

Really? How much time have you thought about  – really thought about – how you are told in the Scriptures to interact with your wife . . . how you are loving and leading her, by example?

For many husbands who call themselves “Christian” it’s time for a little fear.

As one brother pointed out, the Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear”  . . . yes, but that Scripture is talking about the dirty fear of the Enemy. That’s not what we’re speaking of here. The Scriptures say, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever,” Psalm 19:9. We’re also told in 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” The clean, reverential fear of the Lord results in the obedience of His people.

Are you truly seeking to walk in obedience to the Word? Excellent! But, if you’re a Christian husband and are blowing past the direct statements made to you regarding your wife, it’s time to sober up. “Love your wife as Christ loved the Church,” should strike fear – reverential, godly fear – into your chest. It’s one of the most frightful requirements made in the entire Bible. To love as Christ loves? Seriously? 

Certainly, the Scriptures instruct both husbands and wives on their proper attentions to each other but our focus, here, is that guy we see in the mirror every morning. And, of course, we can’t do this on our own – it’s happening only by the power of the Holy Spirit – but, have we thought at all about the implications of this statement?

If men would take 3 seconds to ponder what God is really saying, after wiping the sweat from their foreheads, there would be a lot less discussion in the Church about what women need to be doing and a whole lot more humility and focus by pastors and the men they lead on the standard God established for them (us!).

And, while we’re on the subject of pastors – If you are a pastor and you can’t stand before your congregation on Sunday morning and say, without hypocrisy, “Follow the example I set in loving my wife,” then you are unqualified to shepherd a Church, you have no spiritual authority, you are destroying the work of the Spirit in that assembly, and you should step down until such time as you are qualified.

Men, have you truly taken seriously the way God has called you to interact with your wife? Like a popular preacher often says, “If you can’t say “Amen” say “Ouch!”” and then repent before the Lord and show your wife what love really looks like, Jesus Style.

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28 Comments

  1. Mike 7 months ago

    Hi Matthew,

    As a guy, I am saddened by how few men have commented on this article thanking you for writing it. To me, this just helps prove your point even further.

    I have been working through marriage issues with a number of different couples and have seen exactly what you are talking about in so many in the patriarchal and home school circles. I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote and want to thank you for writing it.

    To the men who complain that women get it easy in the Church today, it is obvious that there is some issue that causes you to lash out at women instead of wanting to protect and love them. I pray that God heals those issues in you life. But if you read this article again from a perspective of “what can I do to fix the problem” and if you have a heart to love, cherish, serve and even lay down your life for your wife no matter what she does to you or says to you or about you (just like Jesus has done for you) and if you take time every day to pray for her. I think you will find with time, that your marriage will begin to heal and your wife will start to change. Regardless of whether it changes or not though, this is what Jesus did for us and it is what He calls us as husbands to do for our wives. We should do this because we love God and our wives, not so our wives will change.

    • Author

      Thanks for your kind words, Brother, and “Amen!” to all else you said.

  2. Kristi 1 year ago

    I love this…as a wife whose marriage is in big trouble, I’ve spent hours daily studying and praying to be the wife God intended me to be. I’ve made needed changes…and have every book I can find regarding how to pray for my husband, how pray to be a better wife, how to pray to change my marriage. And I’ve been religiously doing it all. BUT…I get a continual nagging in my head questioning what HIS role is? And why he’s not doing it? While I’m learning to love my husband for who is and have stopped trying to change him…I often wonder what HIS part is??? I can only control my end…but this breaks the husbands role down pretty clearly. If only he’d read it. Lol.

  3. Beth B 1 year ago

    Wonderful article! Thanks for reminding Christian men of their scriptural responsibility in marriage. And you make. a great point that pastors should lead by example in sacrificially loving their wives…thankfully, my own pastor exhibits such love for his.

  4. Michelle 1 year ago

    Your comments about pastors is so off base! Shame on you. Comments like that are the legalism in the church that cause Godly people to hide their sin and fake it instead of walking along side them.

    Signed a pastor’s wife

    • Author

      Michelle,

      I am a pastor. I’m not sure what you’re taking exception to since you didn’t make a logical point but reacted to the following:

      If men would take 3 seconds to ponder what God is really saying, after wiping the sweat from their foreheads, there would be a lot less discussion in the Church about what women need to be doing and a whole lot more humility and focus by pastors and the men they lead on the standard God established for them (us!).

      And, while we’re on the subject of pastors – If you are a pastor and you can’t stand before your congregation on Sunday morning and say, without hypocrisy, “Follow the example I set in loving my wife,” then you are unqualified to shepherd a Church, you have no spiritual authority, you are destroying the work of the Spirit in that assembly, and you should step down until such time as you are qualified.”

      Surely you don’t take exception to the challenge that Shepherds of a local fellowship be able to lead by example. This is the Scriptural teaching on eldership. Please notice that the woman’s responsibility is not sidestepped but expanded upon in other articles. One can’t deal with every facet of a subject in a single, short article.

  5. Jason 1 year ago

    love your wife as Christ loves the church means today: do as you wife says

    I belong to a ‘evangelical’ and ‘fundamentalist’ church, and I have never heard a sermon addressing women to submit to their husbands. i hear all the time that men are never doing enough for their wives. loving your wife means happiness, an upper-middle class lifestyle and a good job today……and if a man doesn’t ‘provide’ that somehow he is failing his wife and God.

    i have never heard any sermons telling women to submit to their husbands.

  6. craig 2 years ago

    Where are all these churches harping on women’s submission? Seriously, where? I haven’t heard sermons such as that in my lifetime, and I’m over 50.

    It seems to me that in the bulk of contemporary Christianity, the opposite problem attends: all the premises of secular feminism have crept into the churches. Young women are encouraged to keep men at arm’s length, even after marriage. They are exhorted to delay marriage, focus on career and self-reliance, and implicitly to waste their youth chasing worldly experiences — “having it all” in secular terms. These women are taught to value men as optional accessories and to reject the principle that any woman needs a man — attitudes that carry forward into marriage.

    Christian men are exhorted to sacrifice for their wives, to take responsibility for her emotional and spiritual well-being, and even to lead their wives, yet they are simultaneously told that it is abusive to lead her where she is uncomfortable going. Christian women are taught that deference to their husbands in trivialities is OK (as that makes him feel in charge), but in serious matters is suspect (as that would make her a “doormat”). It seems as if modern Christians have taken the New Testament exhortations explicitly given to wives (e.g. in 1 Peter 3) and redirected them toward husbands!

    • Author

      Principally the Patriarchy movement, fundamentalist Churches, and in many homeschool circles. Please note, the article didn’t dismiss the teaching of the Word on the topic . . .

      In one short article, it is impossible to address every angle of an issue. This article’s purpose was to emphasize the requirement placed on husbands.

      I agree with you that the 21st Century Christian religion is largely uninterested in what the Bible says to and about men and women. The Bible instructs Christian women to reverentially defer to their husbands (the actual meaning of Ephesians 5:33) and to submit to them as if they are submitting to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22) – Pure fighting words in the public square.

    • Kortnaa Krogen 2 years ago

      Totally agree! I’m almost 30, and it’s sad to see the shape of marriages today. Marriage is made to look like an afterthought, that it’s after you’ve had your dun in life. Men are being told to be more “sensitive” in the feminist movement, which is not how God designed them. I love the book,Love and Respect by Dr Emmerson Eggerich. It plainly shows through scripture our God given roles as husband and wife, which makes marriage work. Husband’s are called to love their wives, and women to respect their husbands. I even have non Christian friends that are having their marriages changed because their eyes have been opened to this “new” way of thinking, which is how Christ designed marriage for success. Believe me, I want my husband to be gentle and loving with me, but when I honor him and show him respect, it does wonders to energize our marriage <3

  7. Boitumelo 2 years ago

    I wish I met people like you before I got married.anyway I am learning how to love and respect my husband again and learning how to pray for him and our marriage.

    Where can I get your books in South Africa

  8. LonelyInMyMarriage 2 years ago

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Thank you for highlighting this issue. I am a wife who has a difficult time submitting to my husband, as he does not love me as Christ loves the church. He resents and judges me, and is highly offended if I have an opinion that is different from his. As long as I do what he wants and agrees with him on everything, all is well. This has been the story of our almost 10 year marriage and after seeking (Christian) counselors – 4 to be exact, I realize that he is not going to change. Although he claims to be a Christian and has all the “church-speak” ready at a moment’s notice in order to keep up appearances for everyone outside of our marriage, it is nothing more than a facade. He is a man of all talk and no action. It is a very sad story and I’m sad to say that this will not last much longer. Thank you for your article.

  9. Rosa 2 years ago

    Yes, Matthew you are correct. It has to be husband and wife on the same page wanting what Jesus wants. What if they are not?

  10. Ann Healthy 2 years ago

    Finally, a man who is calling husbands to be responsible and accountable.

    My husband would say, ““Follow the example I set in loving my wife,”
    but is a total hypocrite and liar. After 27 years of unhappy marriage with a emotionally destructive husband, I am waking up. I tried to wake up 20 years ago but got sidetracked. This time there is no going back to accepting an emotionally destructive marriage. And it doesn’t pay to pretnend and have health problems because of it.

  11. Melissa 2 years ago

    Thank you Matthew! This is so true. I am getting a little tired of hearing about women needing to submit to men when they are treating their wives like garbage. Porn addicted, abusive men and we are still told to submit, submit, submit. I so badly am longing for the church to stand up and fight for women. We are being used and abused even in the churches. Men are just full of excuses and women put up with too much.

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