Godly Masculinity – Husband of One Wife

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to doAn overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3:1-7

As we continue this study of Godly masculinity we come to the quality of husband of one wife. Today’s society has gotten away from a committed marriage. We live in a world where infidelity is common. We have websites such as Ashley Madison that promote affairs. We have easy access to porn sites. There are divorce attorneys on every corner. In fact divorce attorneys are more prominent than marriage counselors. Godly masculinity is when we as men stay faithful to our wives and live up to the commitment we make to our wives.

The following is from a paper I wrote on Ephesians 5:22-33. Men we need to love our wives like Christ loves his church. In verses twenty-five through thirty Paul gives the husband instruction. He tells the husbands that they should do four things when it comes to their wives. Husbands should love their wives, sacrifice for their wives, help them become pure, and care for their wives unconditionally. By the husband treating a marriage like this, one can see that husbands are not to rule their wives, but be equally the same in the relationship.

In verses twenty-two to twenty-four wives are urged to submit to their husband because the husband is the head of the house. This is based on Christ being the head of the church. Paul starts his instruction to the husband by urging the husband to love his wife just as Christ loves the church.[1] This love is a sacrificial love. This was not something that was commonly seen in marriages that were based on property and contractual agreements. The rise in divorce rate was also an indication that sacrificial love was not prominent in marriage. Paul was exhorting the husbands to sacrificially love their wives and be less self-centered.

When looking at the household code that Paul was advocating we see that the husband was in a position of authority that is not seen outside of Christ.[2] It is an honor to be labeled as the head of the household. This position is one that the servant waits on. This was very common especially among the families that were able to afford servants. In the household of God it was the exact opposite. The head is the one that sacrifices. Again this goes against cultural norms and was a different way of thinking.[3]

The sacrificial love that Christ has for the church is the same love that husbands are to have for their wives. Husbands must be willing to continually make sacrifices for their brides. The husband should ask what is best for his wife. When a husband can answer that question and is willing to do what is best for his wife, he then can say he sacrificially loves her. Paul is calling for mutual submission in a marriage and this is how the husband fulfills his part.

In order for mutual submission to work the husband must be willing to forgo his position as the patriarch and become a servant leader.[4] He must not rule over his wife but lead her through sacrificial love and servitude. This must be in all aspects of the relationship. The wife must also honor her husband in everything she does. The wife must be willing to give her husband everything that he needs such as a feeling of support.

Christ’s sacrificial love for the church included His plan to sanctify her in order to present her without wrinkles and blemish. A husband is not going to be able to sanctify his wife in the way Christ will do with His bride. A husband should however do all that is within his powers to help his wife feel beautiful both on the inside and the outside. The husband must also do what he can to keep impurities out of the marriage. In order to do this the husband has to keep a pure heart and pure mind. He cannot allow impure items to enter the marriage and if it does he must take action to bring the focus back on purity. Just as women are to help men accomplish God’s will, husbands are to help their wives stay pure.

Paul says that husbands must love their wives as their own bodies and that if he loves his wife he loves himself. Paul is showing that there is a unity involved when two souls come together in marriage. This unity is seen among Christ and the church. The church is told that the church is the body of Christ.[5] A union such as this creates one and for this reason when a husband loves his wife he loves his own body because she is a part of him.

When one loves their self they are going to take care of their body. Loving your body is not about being self-centered, it is about self-preservation.[6] This means that one is going to take care of their body spiritually and physically. It is human nature that one takes care of their self properly. Since a wife is a part of the husband, he should care for her out of love. The model for marriage comes from Christ and His church. Christ cares for the body and subsequently the husband must care for his wife.

 

[1] Merkle, Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament, 180.

[2] Gibson, “Ephesians 5:21-33,” 176.

[3] Gibson, “Ephesians 5:21-33,” 176.

[4] Curle, “Towards a Theology of Authority and Submission in Marriage,” 134.

[5] 1 Corinthians 12:27, NASB.

[6] Barton et al, Life Application Bible Commentary, 117.

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