We all have in our minds what a perfect spouse looks like, and it is often a picture we get from the world’s superficial value system rather than from God. The Bible says that people tend to look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. He doesn’t measure the worth of a husband or wife by how much money he might have in the bank or by how much she weighs. It’s an issue of the heart, and he has given us a clear path to follow.
(This list below of the 5 keys to being a great husband and the 5 keys to being a great wife was originally published in my book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships.)
For husbands, our role model is Jesus. You might be thinking, “Wait a minute. I didn’t think Jesus was ever even married?”
Yes, you’re right, but Jesus is often referred to as the bridegroom, and husbands are called to imitate the relationship Jesus has with his bride, the church. Based on that example, here are a few key roles that every husband must strive to fill each and every day:
- A husband loves his wife passionately and selflessly.
Jesus was the embodiment of love, and he showed us that love is much more about action and commitment than it is about feeling. He pursued us passionately and then displayed the ultimate love by dying in our place on the cross. The Bible specifically calls husbands to love their wives with that same type of selfless love.
- A husband serves his wife.
Jesus was a king, but he laid down his rights to be served and instead served others. As husbands, we are called to serve our wives and families. In practical terms, this means placing their needs ahead of our wants. It means prioritizing them ahead of our hobbies or even our careers. It means being willing to do dishes, fold laundry, or whatever else is needed to support our families.
- A husband protects his wife.
Jesus was described as a shepherd. In his culture, a shepherd was one who would protect the sheep from any form of attack, even if it meant risking his own life in the process. As husbands, we are called to be the protectors of our wives and children. God gave you those manly muscles for a reason!
Physical protection is one part of the equation, but we all need to be emotional and spiritual protectors as well. This means speaking words of encouragement and hope instead of belittlement or demand. It also means accepting God’s call to lead our families into deeper spiritual maturity.
- A husband provides for his wife.
Jesus provides every need both great and small. He set the example of the husband as provider by giving sight to a blind man, giving food to the hungry masses that hadn’t eaten lunch, providing wine at a wedding banquet, and even giving his own life to bring salvation.
Providing financially is one part of this, but don’t use that as an excuse to work so much that you are absent from your family. The greatest gift Jesus provided was himself, and the greatest gift you can provide is the gift of yourself. Part of providing means simply providing your own presence. Your wife and family can do with less of almost anything if it means having more of you.
- A husband communicates openly and honestly with his wife.
Most frustrations in marriage come either directly or indirectly from a breakdown in communication between husband and wife. Men and women both contribute to the communication breakdown in different ways. For men, the breakdown often comes through a lack of communication.
Our wives need for us to talk to them, and not just the way we talk about the weather or football with our guy friends. They need us to share the details of our day and listen carefully to what they are trying to communicate to us. Speak with truth and love, and listen with respect and compassion. If you’ll make communication a priority, I believe every other aspect of your marriage will begin to improve.
The “Perfect” Wife: Man’s View vs. God’s ViewIn our culture, a “trophy wife” is one whose husband wants to show her off as a symbol of status. She’s typically portrayed as a much younger woman with a perfect figure, designer clothes, and not a hair out of place. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with beauty or fitness, God defines a good wife in terms of her character. The example of this “wife of noble character” is outlined in chapter thirty-one of the Bible’s Book of Proverbs, and her character traits are listed below.
I’m truly thankful for the character of my wife, Ashley. I can honestly say that she embodies these traits better than anyone I know, and she inspires me to be the best husband, father, and man I can be. Next to God’s grace, she is the greatest gift in my life. Strive to be that kind of blessing to your husband, and your marriage will thrive.
- A wife brings respect to her husband.
Notice that she doesn’t just give respect, but she actually brings respect. Your words and actions toward him actually have the power to either build him up or tear him down. Proverbs paints a picture of a man being more respected and more respectable because of the honor his wife has brought to him. Be the kind of wife who brings honor and respect to your husband and your family because of the investment you have made in their lives.
- A wife provides a safe home for her husband.
A wife of noble character will make it her mission to have a home full of peace and joy. There will always be moments of chaos along the way because that’s just how life works, but strive to create a life-giving environment. The wife is the heart of the home, and she is the person most capable of creating the mood and climate in the home. So create a good one!
I am so thankful for the atmosphere that Ashley has created in our home. Her warmth, kind spirit, and eye for interior design have created a beautiful oasis for our children and for me. No matter how stressful a day I’ve had, when I walk through the door, I feel peace, and she is the reason why.
- A wife provides sexual intimacy for her husband*.
The number one physical and emotional need for most men is sex. A wife should realize the power of sex and strive to make it a priority. An enriching sex life will ultimately enrich every other aspect of the marriage. It is a God-given gift meant to create a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond between husband and wife. What happens in the bedroom has the power to set the tone for the entire marriage.
*A vibrant sex life is the responsibility of BOTH spouses and for ways you can connect on a more intimate level both inside and outside the bedroom, check out our video course on sex and intimacy in marriage.
- A wife looks her best for her husband*.
While outward appearance isn’t everything, a wife must realize that God created men to be visual creatures, and you honor your husband and your marriage when you strive to look your best. It will also increase your own confidence, health, and well-being.
*This one isn’t meant to call women to a different physical standard than men. Obviously, men need to take care of themselves and be healthy and try to look their best as well. With that being said, research has shown a distinctive difference in the visual nature of men compared to women. For more research and insight into this, please check out the book “Through a Man’s Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross.
- A wife provides companionship for her husband.
One of the most important roles for a wife is simply to be a best friend to her husband. He desires your companionship. Create opportunities for the two of you to share new adventures and new experiences. As you grow in your friendship with each other, you’ll also be growing in your love for each other. At the core of every healthy marriage is a healthy friendship.
For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, check out our new 30-Day Marriage Challenge (by clicking here).
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