What is the mark of a great husband? Is it financial responsibility, social prominence, strength and vigor, or being a successful father? As important as these areas are, there is a much greater issue. The mark of a great husband is an absolute, unfailing commitment to his wife.
A husband cannot bless his wife more than by loving her as a gift from God. Husbands who faithfully ask God for marital direction are rare indeed. As men, we often fail to recognize marriage as a covenant with our mate and with God.
THE MARRIAGE COVENANT
When a man marries, he makes a commitment, or covenant, with God and his wife to (1) oversee his family in order that they might reflect the image of God properly, (2) raise his children to love and follow the Lord, and (3) provide leadership in reigning over what God gives him. As God’s man, the husband is to be responsible to God for his wife and family.
Our Lord Jesus talked plainly about a man’s marriage covenant:
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
I feel deep fear in my heart when I think of men, especially Christian men, who break this covenant. Divorce is not God’s will. It’s always a poor solution with tremendous negative ramifications. Below is a vivid description of how God feels about a husband’s breaking that marriage vow through divorce.
The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself [or his wife] with violence as well as with his garment,” says (Malachi 2:14-16). the Lord Almighty. “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith”
God Himself is a witness and a participant in the covenant a husband makes with his wife. No man can break that covenant and be led by the Spirit of God. God not only hates divorce, but He will judge the one who does the wrong in the divorce. God considers a man’s responsibility toward his wife as a covenant with Him. He gave marriage to man as a blessing; therefore, the husband is responsible to be faithful to that covenant, no matter what the cost.
It is much more difficult to raise up godly offspring when there has been a divorce. God not only hates divorce because oneness is destroyed, but because children are irreversibly affected. Oneness is broken in divorce, resulting in great pain to both the couple and the children.
God takes His covenants seriously, and marriage is a covenant. If you want to be characterized as a great husband, put away any thoughts about divorce or finding a better mate. Place your faith in God and commit yourself to sacrificial love that will, over time, soften even the hardest heart.
If You Have to “Tough It Out”
James offered several instructions about responding to tough trials in James 1:2-7. Later he described godly responses to disagreements.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves(James 1:19 -22).
Based on James’ advice, here is a helpful list to remember during trying times in marriage. If there is a battle in your marriage, take note of the following:
1. Don’t react, but listen to your wife.
2. Don’t speak too quickly; wait for your emotions to subside.
3. Don’t explode in anger; nothing good ever comes from outbursts of anger.
4. Stop your immoral involvement such as lying, cheating, bad language, pornography, and so on.
5. Seek counsel if any of the above points (1-4) have become negative behavior or habits.
6. Humbly study God’s Word for the answers to your problems, seeking counsel when necessary.
7. Act on your faith, not on your feelings.
8. Boldly believe God, regardless of your wife’s response. This may include renewing your covenant with your mate. James 5:16 contains two final points of instruction:
“Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another.”
9. Confess your sins to your wife so both of you can be emotionally healed.
10. Pray earnestly. God has the ability and desire to change your life, motivate your wife, and remove your fears.
The sovereignty of God can motivate us as husbands. Just think: God is a partner with you in your marriage. That should inspire you to serve and please Him. Be aware that your marriage is part of God’s eternal plan. You have entered into a marriage covenant, or agreement, and God is a partner with you.
This article comes from the book, 2 Becoming One by Don and Sally Meredith, published by Christian Family Life, Inc. In this book Don and Sally share time-tested principles and practical insights that will help you build a Christ-centered marriage.
Don and Sally Meredith are marriage counselors who have taught relationship principles for married couples, parents, and adult singles for over 30 years. In 1971, they founded Christian Family Life, to further the training of lay people, and in 1976 co-founded the FamilyLife Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
— ALSO —
Another article, written by Roger Barrier, posted on the Crosswalk.com web site could give you additional insights on this issue, as you read: