Preparing to be a godly husband
When I was a kid and people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say a husband and a dad. When I became a Christian, my desire for these things grew even stronger as I gained more understanding of God as a perfect Father, and Jesus as the bridegroom of his bride, the church. Especially now, as I struggle to grow as a godly husband and new father, I am confident that the best way to prepare for being a godly husband is to know God’s design for marriage from his word. In general, God designed and gifted men to be leaders, protectors, and workers. In marriage specifically, God calls husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives.
SACRIFICIAL LOVE AND LEADERSHIP
Husbands are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph. 5:25). How did Christ love the church? He came from heaven to earth, and died for us on a cross to save us and bring us into a relationship with himself. An old hymn from the 1800’s says it this way:
From heaven he came and sought her,
to be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.
Jesus gave his life for his bride, the church. God calls husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives as Christ lovingly sacrificed his life for the church on the cross. The way that loving, sacrificial leadership works out in marriage is called headship.
How do heads and bodies work? The head receives and processes signals from the body, then makes decisions on how to satisfy the needs of the body to grow healthy and strong. The husband is the head, given authority and leadership responsibility, and the wife is the body, submitting to her husband’s leadership and communicating with him to help. God calls husbands, as the head, to “nourish and cherish” our wives (Eph. 5:29). Practically, that breaks down into protecting, providing, and pursuing our wives as we lead them spiritually.
PROTECT, PROVIDE, PURSUE
Protect – In the most extreme sense, this means that you give your life to protect hers. Jesus died to save us. Husbands must be willing to die to protect their wives. In more normal situations, it means you look out for her general well being. Lock the doors at night and make sure she has a car charger and full tank of gas so she doesn’t get stranded somewhere. Put your arm around her when you’re walking around at night so she feels safe.
Provide – This doesn’t mean you have to make a million dollars and buy lake houses and jet skis; it means you are responsible for making sure your wife and family have food, shelter, and clothing. These are all you need to be content (1 Tim. 6:8), and if you don’t make sure your family is taken care of than you are worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8).
This means you are not lazy! Be a hard worker! Lazy men have miserable families. It is your responsibility to provide for your family. Have a budget and a plan for how to do this. If you have no idea how to do that, download the Mint app free right now and learn. Ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help, but there is shame in not providing for your family.
Pursue – Paul says a husband should “cherish” his wife (Eph. 5:29). That means you don’t just tolerate her or take her for granted, but rather you see her as special, surpassing all others (Pr. 31:29), perfect in beauty (So. 6:9). It means you prioritize quality time with her. You don’t stop dating when you get married; you plan date nights every week that you fight for and protect where you shut off your phone and pursue her heart.
Not only do you pursue her heart, but you pursue the Lord with her. You hold her hand and pray with her. When there’s conflict, you love her, forgive her, initiate reconciliation, and gently point her to Jesus. You read the word to her and with her. As Jesus sanctifies us by the “washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26), we lead spiritually and pursue our wives’ hearts by making the word of God central in our marriage and in our home.
HOW TO PREPARE
So, single men wanting to get married, here’s how you can start preparing for marriage now!
Who to be – Being a husband means sacrificially loving and leading. That means you prepare for that by sacrificially loving others now, and working hard to be a godly example now.
- Are you lazy, or are you a hard worker?
- Are you a sacrificial giver or do you spend all your money on yourself?
- Do you serve whole-heartedly in your church?
- Do you prioritize time with God in prayer and in his word, or is that secondary to other interests?
Who not to marry – Do not marry a woman who doesn’t love Jesus. If you are following Jesus, you will ultimately be heading in the opposite direction in life as your wife who does not follow Jesus. This will lead to friction and frustration. It’s possible she could get saved through your marriage, but you don’t know God’s will and can’t control that.
Who to marry – Marry a woman who loves Jesus, and who is someone that you want to serve the rest of your life. Remember that “charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Pr. 31:30). A woman of God who follows hard after Jesus will sharpen you and strengthen you in your faith. And if she is following Jesus, and you are following Jesus, then she will find it a joy to follow your leadership as you follow Christ.
Even when you really submit to Jesus, and marry a godly woman who loves Jesus, you will have issues. We will never be perfect until Jesus comes back, and therefore there will be sin, struggles, conflict, and trials in your marriage. You need Jesus. You need his grace and forgiveness he offered on the cross, and you need to have faith in him and the power of his resurrection. Build your life on Jesus, and you will have a firm foundation for your marriage.