We intentionally named this website The Covenant Herald because we want to bring attention to the Covenant we have with God and its various implications. Though it may not be expressly stated, every article we post relates to that covenant—some more broadly than others. Today I hope to bring attention to a different covenant many of us have made; a covenant many of us neglect, overlook, and even intentionally break. This is the covenant you have with your spouse.
You may not know that what you and your spouse have together is a covenant. Most of us do not look at our relationship with our spouse as a covenant. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we are made to believe that what we have with our spouse is purely and simply a pledge given that demonstrates a commitment. The difference is that when God created marriage, he made it much more than a pledge or settlement; He made it a covenant. Therefore, we are to seek to serve our spouse by fulfilling our covenant with them. In this article, I hope to establish the framework for what the Bible says a husband’s role is in marriage so that in a second article, I can demonstrate how this is functionally applied.
The reason I want to bring attention to this covenant is because of the grave disobedience that Christian men have shown to the word of God in marriage—myself included. Being in a seminary town, I see so many men who say they are called to “ministry” and use it as a license to make their wife work to provide for the household while the men take classes for seminary. Thus, they ignore a direct command from God expressly stated in Scripture (provide) in order to pursue a theoretical calling that may or may not be true for the individual. Even more, we have men who sacrifice their wife on the altar of work, money, hobbies, children, or even ministry itself. This should not be so. I am ashamed of myself for believing so many lies. Yet we have a God who shows grace and teaches how to live according to His word.
It must first be noted that the role of the husband goes much further than the role with any other member of the body of Christ. Though this sounds obvious, I’m not sure we realize why it’s obvious. The relationship that you have with your wife goes further because she is both your wife and your sister in Christ. This means that every “brethren” verse applies to your wife as well as every “spouse” verse. When making a list of how to serve, love, and cherish your wife, you must first make the list of how to treat your brothers and sisters in the Lord. After this, you can take this list and add to the bottom of it the many more things that you can do in serving your spouse.
I say this because we oftentimes feel that if we gossip about, gossip with, hurt, taunt, or mislead our spouse, we are somehow exempt because she is just a spouse. We feel license to be lazy around our spouse where we would never be lazy around other members of the body of Christ. We would help our neighbors move furniture into their house but cannot pick up our socks in our own house.
Next, we must note that our relationship with our spouse transcends our relationship with our children and parents. Your covenant was first made to your wife and your allegiance is to her first. Christians should not have children-focused households. When both parents look to the children, the marriage is neglected.
With this information in mind, I have listed a few verses below that should help us see how to lead our marriage. These are not verses on marriage in the general sense or verses that are about being a husband in general. These are verses that specifically state how the husband is to act in relation to his wife. I hope this can serve as a strong foundation for part two of this article.
As a husband here is how the Bible says you relate to your wife
You are to:
Rejoice with her (Prov 5:18)
Live joyfully with her (Ecc 9:9)
Be faithful to her (Mal 2:15)
Be her head (1 Cor 11:3)
Leave your father and mother and cleave to her. (Gen 2; Matt 19)
Love her as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. (Eph 5: 25)
Sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word (Eph 5:26)
Love her as your own body (Eph 5:28)
Love her (Col 3:19)
Do not be bitter against her (Col 3:19)
Dwell with her wisely, giving honor unto her as the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7)
Fulfill your “marital responsibility” and do not deprive her of it (1 Cor 7: 3)
Provide for her (1 Tim 5:8)