The Role of the Husband in a Christian Marriage

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

Being a follower of Jesus Christ changes a person.  It changes the believer’s priorities and focus, it changes the way in which the believer relates to others, it changes everything about how the believer lives.  Therefore, the believing husband should have distinct characteristics evident in his marriage, characteristics that come from his relationship with Jesus.  I certainly do not claim to be an expert on marriage, just ask my wife, but by following God’s guiding, any man can be a better husband.  Let us examine these characteristics.

A husband should be self-sacrificing

The Bible tells husbands to love their wives in a very special way, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up of her…” (Ephesians 5:25 ESV).  This passage tells us that husbands are to be self-sacrificing for their wives.  Husbands are not to expect their wives to be slaves that exist merely to do the man’s bidding.  In fact, this same passage says, “In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29, 33a ESV).

A husband should be dedicated to his wife

From the moment of birth, one’s relationship with one’s parents is vitally important.  Your parents nurtured you when you were incapable of taking care of yourself.  They taught you what they knew, and protected you from things harmful to you.  Without them, or someone like them, you would not be here today.

Nevertheless, the husband is told, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31ESV).  Although a man should continue to show his parents the honor they deserve (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4, 19:19; Mark 7:10, 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2), he is also to separate from them and become one with his wife (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16b; Ephesians 5:31).  This emphasizes the importance of the marriage relationship.

The husband should be faithful to his wife

Marriage is a covenant relationship; the husband and wife promise to be faithful to one another

In the Old Testament book of Malachi, as God chastises the disobedience of His people, He also expresses His view of the sanctity of marriage,“[The] Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?  And what was the one God seeking?  Godly offspring.  So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:14-16).  Several things are brought out in this passage:

(1) marriage is a covenant relationship; the husband and wife promise to be faithful to one another,

(2) this covenant is made in cooperation with God’s Spirit [one might wonder about the legitimacy of marriage for those who reject God]; and

(3) it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their children are raised in a God-honoring manner.

The husband should be very careful to be faithful to his wife in his thought life also.  Too many husbands think that, as long as they are faithful in their external relationship, they can entertain a less-than-faithful internal thought life.  However, Jesus tells us that it is possible to be an adulterer in our hearts, even if the sin is never acted out, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28 ESV).

The husband should provide for his wife

There may be circumstances in which the husband is unable to provide for his wife and family, but as a general principle, the husband should provide for his wife, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8 ESV).  The husband should not carry out this duty grudgingly, but out of love for his wife and family…and out of gratefulness to God.

The husband should make sure he lets his wife know she is loved, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28 ESV).  Too often, we husbands do not tell our wives how much they mean to us.  We know how we feel about them in our hearts, but we do not express it to them enough.  Often, men do not like to share their feelings because of some misguided man-code, or the simple fact that we are uncomfortable expressing emotions.  Nevertheless, we need to tell our wives how much we love them and how important they are to us.  It is the right thing to do, and she will love you even more for doing it.

The husband should be kind to his wife

There is no excuse for a husband to be hurtful to his wife, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19).  We have already read the biblical mandate that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the church (see above).  Jesus does not treat His church in hurtful ways; rather, He treats them with love.  In order for husbands to treat their wives with love, the husband must first be filled with the love that only comes from God.  The Bible even ties our relationship with our wives to the success of our prayers, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).  Our marriage relationship has a great affect on our whole life.


A Christian husband should love his wife with the love of Jesus Christ; his marriage relationship should be the most important relationship he has, except for his relationship with Jesus.  He must give himself to his wife in a self-sacrificing way and strive to love her as Christ loves the church.  He should guard his heart and mind, so that he is able to resist temptations that are sure to come at him in our culture.

Husbands should remember these wise words from King Lemuel, “An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10 ESV).

Here are some related articles you might also like to read:


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheri Hart January 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

I really enjoy reading teachings like this. I dont know why because I have been divorced almost 16yrs. now, and have never re~married. Ive waned to, but I seem to never find a true loving man who is not abusive eventually, or has anger issues after I know them a while.. I do, however, love God for what he has done for me. I daydream of a real husband. I was married 19yrs. I sttill am lost, but the abuse and fighting have stopped. I hate being alone. So I daydream about…. What if?? :o\


Robert January 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Ask Him to show you if, and to whom, you should marry. He will never let you down. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,


Jenny January 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I have been married 4 times.
Only my 4th husband is a real Christian. The others just faked it.
He is everything this articles talks about. We will celebrate our 17 year anniversary next month.
Don’t give up Sheri I didn’t.


Robert January 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

It is my studied observation (because I’m old) that the only way to be the husband (or wife) that we are meant to be is if we first have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Sounds like you know that, though. May God continue to bless your marriage.
Yours in Christ,


Jack Wellman January 12, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Superbly done again my brother. One of the hardest things for me to do is to love my wife like Christ loves the church (Eph 5) because I see her imperfections, yet I see more in myself. I know that every marriage is really a miracle in that we are so different, men and women, but I thank God for her. Thank you for these lessons I truly need to take to heart Robert.


Robert January 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Thank you for the kind words, Jack.
I think one of Satan’s main targets is the Christian marriage. If he can mess that up, he can mess up our witness. Let us all stay strong in the Lord in our marriages.
Yours in Christ,


Carey January 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I totally LOVE this article. Very biblical and well-written. Husbands are surely called to emulate Christ in His love for His bride, the church. In my experience as a Pastor and in counseling over the years, too many are ignorant of these truths and responsibilities. Thanks for sharing the truth.


Robert January 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

So many marriages could be saved by simply putting God first and following His design found in the Bible. Keep up the good work, brother.
Yours in Christ,


Gerardo January 20, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Where can I find these teaching or help teach my wife this type of teaching, she is from Mexico and we always fight a lot and I’m trying to be a better husband but its just more and more fighting, sometimes I’m ready to just give up


Robert January 21, 2013 at 7:18 am

Hi Gerardo,
Everything in my article can be found in the Bible. It is the Christians life-manual, if you will. I would also suggest an article on this site by Pamela Rose Williams entitled The Role of the Wife in a Christian Marriage. It can be found on the home page of this site. Gerardo, I just want to encourage you to trust God in this, and all, matters and seek to honor and worship Him. I pray that both you and your wife are Christians; if not, it would be a very important first step to turn you life over to Jesus, trusting in Him for your salvation. God bless you, Gerardo.
Yours in Christ,


Patti D January 28, 2013 at 7:56 am

I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband like you. You have been a blessing and wonderful role model for our children. I am so thankful that God brought us together and that he is using you to be a blessing to others. Keep up the good work. I love you with all my heart.
Patti Driskell


Robert January 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thank you, dear. God is good, and we’ve seen Him work in our lives enough to know that as an experienced fact. I would certainly encourage other husbands and wives to place their marriages in God’s hands, no matter what condition their marriage is in right now. He is the source of love. (Also, you’ve been a bit of an inspiration too, dear) I love you, too.
Yours in Christ,


Esi March 8, 2013 at 6:21 am

I very much enjoyed this article. My marriage was a disaster but armed with these biblical principles i am trusting God….What if!

Reply April 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first
comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.


Georgie April 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I am a heart-broken christian wife married to the same man for 30 years. We had two separations, then got back together.
The big problem is that we just do not talk anymore. My husband told me once that he does not like confrontation. So I have given up ever talking to him in a gentle way, about the problems in our marriage and how I believe God would like us to work on them. We do not have a real marriage, we just sort of “live as room-mates.” It is a very sad situation. If only we could turn back the clock to when we first married, I would have nipped things in the bud then, but regretfully, it seems too late now to fix anything that has been broken. May God forgive us our trespasses. Don’t let too much time slip by you when adversity in your marriage comes up. The married will have many troubles as it says in I Corinthians chapter 7. Take heed and work through it.


Robert April 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

I am sorry to hear about the trouble in your marriage. On the other hand, you’re still together, so it’s not too late. The Bible says that nothing is impossible for God. If you and your husband put God at the center of your lives, individually and collectively, He can heal your relationship. Is your husband a Christian? If he is, then he is clearly out of God’s will by not caring about his relationship with you. If he is not a Christian, the best thing you can do (it sounds like) is to pray for him in earnest. God can change his heart, but not if he is rejecting God’s lordship over his life. I will be praying for you, Georgie, and for your marriage, and for strength for you to be strong. It’s not too late.
Yours in Christ,


Missy May 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

I have been legally married for 14 years. I say that because he has worked as an over the road truck driver for 10 years. He is barely home 24 hours a week, if i’m lucky. We rarely talk all week and when we do we usually end up argueing because I am so miserable. It is my opinion that he lives like a single guy. Do you have any advise for this kind of situation. I have read your marriage articles and I just can’t find anything that relates to what I am going thru. I am gong to give some of your suggestions a try but I am running low on strength and faith. I hate the idea of divorce but it’s not like I have a real marriage here. I have been praying, studying the Bible, reading marriage books, gone to counseling, etc. for 5 years and things have only gotten worse. Not quite what I was hoping for.


Robert May 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

Hi Missy,
I’m sorry to hear about your marriage issues. Is your husband a Christian? Do you have a church home?
Yours in Christ,


rollaine July 31, 2013 at 5:23 am

i am blessed to have a real man of God in the house…God gave me someone who i had never ever imagined having in my life…its just amazing how God can surprise you


Marlene Ross Haddock April 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I have been married for 10yrs, My husband is not a christian. He will be 72 in May. I am a Christian. He owns a country store. He rents it out to his daughter. She has a job at ECU univerity. She hires people to work there. Her husband wors there. He is older than Kim.About 15 yrs older. He is older than me. He is always talking to me ugly. He tries to make me fell bad in front of people.I don’t know why. I have never give him a reason to do that. He is older than me. He is not a Christian or his wife. My husband will not say anything to him.People in the store notice it. My husband has been pulling away from me . In December he went and got a new truck never said anything to me 42,000.00 dollars. He told me he didn’t like to talk,visit,and don’t ask him to go to church. I didn’t know what was going on. He doesn’t like to talk about things. Then he pulled away from me. Every Friday night they have karreo misspelled. Alot of Christians go there and have seafood and sing. It’s church songs and country. His exwife comes home on the week-end from her job. She started getting around him and looking at us. They have 3 kids. All married. She got up one day as if she was going to work and did not come back. She left with a married man. They didn;t know where she was for 2 yrs. their children were 7, 10 13. she moved back her husband had a heart attack and died. This has been before we got married. I left Valentines day. I was gone for 10 days. Went out of town and stayed with my son. he called me back about the 7th day, wanted me to come back. I did. But he treated me the same. I told him if I left again I would not come back. Other things went on, I know you are tried of reading.He did not pay me any attention. I have lost almost 30pds. Could not get my food down. He never said a word about it. This other girl that he knew left her husband. She was already small. My friend heard him say to her one Friday night. Are you alright. I ask him about it, he said he was talking about her losing weight. She might have lost 5 pds.weeks have gone by he does not talk to me hardly or take me anywhere. I have a brother that has cancer. He has hospice to come out. he is not married, we have always been close.I am with him almost every day. My husband never shows me any affection. I have had to mput my two dogs to sleep within months apart. Inside dogs. I have had them for 14yrs. Saturday night he wanted to sit close to me, put his arm around me . This has not happened for about 6 months.I don’t know what to think about this. I know this is a lot and out of order, I pray to God for a answer. thanks for caring.


Jack Wellman April 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Hello Mrs. Haddock. I am so sorry that you are in such a hard place. Think of this….when Jesus returns, your husband will be sent to a place of torment for all eternity (Rev 20:11-15) and so he cannot behave as a good husband without the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God can change even a pagan king’s heart (Prov 21:1) so let’s pray about this first. He is lost. Christ will come back at a time when no one expects…and your husband will suffer for eternity. I know its hard but think of his eternity when compared to yours. Jesus will welcome you into His arms at His return but cast your husband into the lake of fire. We need to pray for him…pray for him like Jesus said to pray even for our enemies because God loved us while we were still yet sinners and enemies of His, right? Talk to your pastor to about this. That is what I would do right away. Love your husband unconditionally, even though he doesn’t deserve it because God loved us while we didn’t deserve it and died for us while still His enemy. Talk to your pastor to…and let’s commit this to prayer.


Pamela January 9, 2015 at 8:01 am

Dear Robert, I decided to look up what God expected of what husbands and wives responsibilities were after hearing stories of how Muslim men treat their wives. I think I was scared that perhaps that what they are doing was God’s will but now reading this site I am quite relieved it isn’t. I have been happily married to my husband for 42 years. We were both virgins when we got together but made love just before we took our marriage vows. Neither of us has ever made love with anyone else. I became a Christian in my early 20’s and always believed that the man was the Head of the house as God is the head of the Church. We have had troubles in our marriage like most people but I have always left my husband to have the last word on major decisions. It just seemed natural to me. My husband worked very hard to provide for us but I eventually had to go back to work to make ends meet. We are both retired now and in our 60’s and are closer to the Lord than ever before. We see him in our lovely garden, in the animals and insects that share it with us, the changing of the seasons and are so grateful to every day that the Lord gives us. We are poor financially but thanks to our beautiful daughter who rents out her investment property for us at a lower rate we have a roof over our heads forever. We are very rich in love, our children and grandchildren, family and close friends. If the Lord takes me tomorrow I know I have tried to be the best person I can be, not faultless by any means but trying to be a better person one day at a time. It is wonderful knowing that God has a place for me in Heaven when it is my time and that all I have to do is enjoy each day from now until then. Thank you so much for your wisdom, I don’t read books but since the computer has been invented it’s so helpful for me to ask anything I want about the Lord by just asking a question on google. I get a daily Bible reading posted to my facebook which I share which is wonderful too – this technology will make the Lord’s word so more available to people and that’s wonderful.


Robert January 9, 2015 at 8:29 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will be an encouragement for many others. As you say, we will have struggles in this life; but, there is no better way to live than with Jesus as our Lord. May God bless you and your family richly.
Yours in Christ,


bonnie June 9, 2015 at 10:28 am

I net my husband 7 years ago online. he was in WV I was from CA I moved to east coast. we where both in the process of divorce. a year later we married. he and I are christian after 4 1/2 years we moved back to ca .through our whole marriage he seems distance. he does not give hug kisses or conversation freely i have to start conversations ask for kisses reach out to hold hand it feels like I cant stand him he is angry most of the time i see no joy in him I have 3 daughters 4 grand kids he has no children I love God my church my friends he says he has 1 friend a woman co worker whom he text all day he loans her money. he says nothing is going on with very defensive eyes. am tired I feel I should have not married his way of communication worry’s me x military man. the more i pray the more i want out. how shall i deal with this we do seek counseling.


Robert June 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I am always hesitant to give marital advice to people I do not personally know; therefore, I will be brief. Counseling would probably be a good idea if (1) you find a Christian counsellor and (2) your husband is willing to accompany you.
Do you have a church home and a pastor? If so, talk to your pastor. If not, it would be a good idea to begin attending a church where you can fellowship with other believers (I wouldn’t rush into sharing your story too quickly with anyone but the pastor though, until you get to know some of the people better).
Most of all, stay close to God: pray, study His Word, know that He loves you and cares for you. Now this doesn’t mean that he will force your husband to act right; but it does mean that He will take care of you no matter what you have to go through.
Pray for your husband, and show him love as much as he will let you. I don’t mean that you need to be his slave; but show him the kind of love Jesus shows us…an unselfish love that seeks to do more for the other person than for our self.
I hope this helps. I sense your frustration; however, the Bible tells us that, as long as we stay close to God, He will never give us any more than we (operating in His power) can handle (I Corinthians 10:13).
Yours in Christ,


DL April 18, 2016 at 2:44 pm


I’m protestant and my wife is Catholic, why do I never feel right after intimacy? I truly want to love her with all that I am regardless of which path shes on and I think I do try there always but somethings just not right after we get together.. The next day I always feel condemned and like I cannot be heard by God or here from him.. I know there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ, who do not walk after the flesh but after the spirit.. I am always in the Word and in prayer.. I need to know if you have any suggestions… I desire a pure heart and mind.. thank you for any input!


Roy April 27, 2016 at 12:39 am

I wish I knew how to love but instead I hurt the one who loved me.


Natalia February 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

Thank you for helping people to see their roles throught Gods words.
But may i ask You,when it is written HUSBAND it is only for man that having wife? my BF always says to act like this he has to be my husband,is he correct?


Jack Wellman February 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Hello Natalia. Yes, you are right. These verses are not for boyfriends and girlfriend relationships but for husbands and wives. Your boyfriend has no authority over you but only if you are married does the wife need to submit to her husband but only “as unto the Lord” so it is restricted from her being submissive for doing evil. I have concerns that if your boyfriend is trying to be this controlling now, what would he be like if you ever married? It could be like a dictator. Please talk to your pastor about this relationship. I have concerns about it.


Natalia February 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Thank you for Your quick reply.Unfortunately i do not trust my pastor in advice regarding our relation.
It is more to understand should Man honor his woman while in courtship,should he love her and honor like Jesus did to church?What is a Man behavior in courtship?


Jack Wellman February 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Oh, I see. I am sorry. You don’t trust your pastor’s advice? Why not? Why wouldn’t you trust your pastor? That surprises me. Anyway, the man should show honor to his woman but not only to her but to all people but the Bible does not say treat your girlfriends with honor. That is for married couples to honor and cherish one another. A man should be polite, open doors for the woman, and so on, but never touch her in places that are not right and to abstain from sexual immorality and even touching in the wrong places. The relationship between the church and Jesus has to do with a husband and wife and not ever a man and woman who are boyfriends and girlfriends. This verse is not for those in your situation.


Brian Thomas April 22, 2017 at 11:54 pm

There is a lack of teaching in the body of Christ about really loving your wife the way God loves them. The bible says Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. If more pastors teach on this subject, faith will come in that particular topic to men in the body of Christ.


African November 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Oh dear! My husband is the total opposite of this. He claims that I’m his helper, meaning that I should help him financially to maintain the household. Failure to fulfill certain duties leads to physical and emotional abuse. I work hectic hours I don’t have time for my myself, him and my two kids. I’m always exhausted from work. Lord help me cause I cannot go on like this!


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