God has placed the husband as the head within the family. Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” See also 1 Corinthians 11:3. A husband may take that authority and abuse it in how he treats his wife and family. This should never be the case with a Christian husband. Instead, he should see his position as a great responsibility and an opportunity to let the light of Christ shine through him.
Husbands are to love their wives. Ephesians 5:25-33 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” This scripture is very powerful in describing how a husband is to treat his wife.
A husband is to love his wife just as Christ loved the church. How much did Christ love the church? He gave His very life for the church. In the same way, a husband needs to be willing to give his very life for his wife. Christ wants to present the church as a glorious church that it should be holy and without blemish. A husband should want to honor his wife and present her in the best way. A husband should love his wife as he loves himself; they are one flesh. The wife’s body is his body. Normal people do not intentionally harm their own body. A loving husband will not intentionally harm his wife physically or emotionally. Instead, he will nourish and cherish his wife just as he does his own body. This is also how the Lord takes care of the church. A husband is to love his own wife as himself.
The union of a man and a woman in marriage is a physical union. Together they procreate children. The sexual desire should be satisfied in marriage as well as the desire for companionship and affection. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” A husband should not make inappropriate physical demands of his wife that he loves, nor should he withhold from his wife the things that she needs that he can give her. The writer in 1 Corinthians tells husbands and wives to not deprive one another except by consent for a time. When a wife does not have her needs met by her husband, she may be tempted to find another man and commit adultery. A husband therefore has a responsibility to meet the needs of his wife.
One of the major responsibilities of a husband is to provide for his family. 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Any husband who willfully neglects his duty to provide for his family is said to be worse than an unbeliever.
A husband and a wife are two separate individuals. They are physically different and they have different hormones and emotions. They may not think alike; they may not act alike; they may have different needs; they may have different priorities; they won’t always agree. Typically, the husband is physically stronger than his wife; she may be stronger than he is in other ways because they have different strengths and weaknesses. A man may say that he doesn’t understand women. But women can be understood. 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” By having good communication with his wife, a man can come to understand her and give her honor for what she is. Together they should work together to receive the inheritance that God has promised us.
Because of the differences between a husband and his wife, there may be conflict in the marriage. Conflict can destroy love and lead to bitterness or harshness. Bitterness comes when you harbor bad feelings and you don’t forgive. Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” Husbands here are commanded to love their wives and get rid of bitterness or harshness. That means that a husband must forgive his wife when there is conflict. His love for her should dominate their relationship.
My encouragement to each husband is to love your wife. As a husband, you are the head of your wife, but you also have great responsibilities toward her. Seek to understand her. Meet her needs. Do not be bitter or harsh toward her. Again I say, love your wife.