3 Characteristics of a Godly Husband and a Godly Wife
1. The Husband Submits to God, The Wife Submits to Her Husband
One of the main reasons God designed marriage, is to demonstrate the relationship between the Church and Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, the husband is the head of the wife. When we look at the life of Jesus during His time on earth as a man, we are shown how the head is supposed to be. Jesus served others, helped those in need, cared for and loved the outcasts, and humbled Himself. Being the head does not mean being a tyrant or dictator, it does not mean bossing the wife around and forcing her to do something. Being the head means to be humble, loving, servent-minded, caring, and wise. The wife is to submit to her husband, just as we submit to God. If the husband is being the head as Christ is the head of the Church, then the wife submitting to him will not be a difficult role. She will be trusting in his decisions, understanding in his motives, and assured of his love. However, if the husband is not being the head as God intended, the wife is still responsible for submitting to him and should pray for him and be an example through her life with meekness of spirit that will hopefully lead him to Christ or to be the head as he was designed to be. Read 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
Note: God and His Word always come first, hence why the Bible reminds us that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. If the man is not obeying Christ, the woman is to obey Christ above man, God is our first and final authority. There are a few examples of this in the Bible, read Exodus 22:24-26, Moses did not obey God in circumcising his son, therefore God was going to kill him. Moses' wife, Zipporah, intervened and immediately circumcised their son so God's wrath would depart from Moses. Also, read 1 Samuel 25:2-42, Nabal, one of the wealthiest men of that day, would not help David, God's chosen king. David was angry and was on his way to destroy Nabal and his people when Nabal's wife, Abigail, intervened and did as she ought to. This not only speared her life and the life of her people but after her husband died, she became a wife to David.
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. - Ephesians 5:22-24
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. - 1 Corinthians 11:3
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. - 1 Peter 3:1-6
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. - Colossians 3:18
2. The Husband Loves His Wife as Christ Loves the Church, The Wife Loves and Respects Her Husband
The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. This is a sacrificial love, a fervent love that has her best interests at the forefront. Jesus loves us unconditionally, He died for us although He was without sin, He washes us clean from our filthy stains, Jesus Christ makes us a new creation in Him. Just as Christ removes our stains and frees us from sin, the husband is to honor his wife and sanctify her through his leadership and love. The wife is to love and respect her husband. The Bible mentions that older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands. Men desire to be respected, it is created in them just as women desire to be loved. When the wife respects her husband, it is fulfilling that desire and need just as when the husband loves his wife. Marriage should be centered on God, and the husband and wife should be a unit building one another up so they both walk with God and draw close to God together each day.
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. - Ephesians 5:25-27
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. - Ephesians 5:28-30
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and thetwo 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. - Ephesians 5:31-33
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. - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. - Titus 2:1-6-8
3. The Husband Provides For and Protects His Wife, The Wife is the Helpmeet and Honors Her Husband.
The husband is to provide for his wife, for all of her needs as Christ provides for all of the needs of the Church. Man was created to work and be the provider and protector of his family. We already discussed physical protection, risking his life for her, but this also means to protect her completely (emotionally and spiritually). He is to protect her mind by speaking words of affirmation, giving wise and godly instruction, speaking God's Word, and encouraging her. He is to protect her emotionally, listening to her concerns, comforting her, and speaking gently. Women are the weaker gender, all humans are equal in value as we are all created by God, but women were created to be the gentle and tender gender while men are stronger to provide for and protect their families. Men are to toil, which is part of their curse, he is to lead and not be lazy, leaving the hard work for the wife. Just as we value gems, the man is to value and protect his wife.
Women give birth (painfully which is part of their curse) and are the helpmeet (helpmate) to the man. This does not mean women cannot work, on the contrary, women are to help provide for their family and be a helper to her husband just as the virtuous woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 worked to provide for her family. However, the man has a greater responsibility to take care of and provide for his family. The wife is to help the husband. This means, encouraging him, giving wise and godly advice, speaking God's Word, being meek in spirit, and doing her part in taking care of the family. Women are to honor their husbands, this means living righteously and blamelessly. Nagging and being argumentative is not an honorable characteristic and the Bible mentions it many times, stating that it is better to live in the desert than live with an argumentative wife. Wives are to be meek in spirit (humbly patient or quiet in nature, gentle, kind) and filled with godly wisdom. Take a look at Ruth, Esther, and Mary (Jesus' mother) all of these women were God-fearing, honorable, meek, and wise. They obeyed God, sought God's wisdom, and handled difficult situations with patience and kindness. They respected and loved their spouses.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” - Genesis 2:18
And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home - 1 Corinthians 14:35a (husbands are to study the word of God so they can answer questions their wife may have)
Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman. - Proverbs 21:19
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. - Proverbs 31:30
in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. - 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (dress in a way that pleases God and does not dishonor your husband. A godly woman should be more concerned about her relationship with God and her husband's honor than her outward appearance. This does not mean women are not to take care of their appearance or can't dress up, on the contrary, women and men should be clean and take care of their appearance this verse is simple saying that the spiritual is more important and should be more desireable than the physcial appearance.)
God designed marriage to be one man and one woman, both must be loyal and faithful to each other and protect their marriage and covenant by setting boundaries as needed and live with the best in mind for one another. Just as God always desires our best, they must be a blessing to one another and bring honor and glory to God through the relationship and how they live.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. - Colossians 3:19
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. - 1 Peter 3:7
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. - Proverbs 31:10
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, - Proverbs 12:4
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. - Proverbs 18:22