Biblical Husband and Wife

When we talk about biblical husbands and wives, we are talking about biblical marriage. Marriage is commonly defined as a union of man and woman. But that definition is lacking. It is a union of a man and woman who are sinners.

Just because two Christians are married doesn’t mean that their marriage is automatically a Christian marriage. They can be true Christians while at the same time their Christianity is not applied to their marriage. The Christian home must conform to the biblical standards. Biblical marriage must be in accord with the Scriptures.

As the husband goes, so the family goes. The exercise of godly leadership determines godly homes. The husband sets the standards according to God’s Word, the wife sets the atmosphere by God’s grace.


The verse is clear that God set His love. Love is a commitment to choose to love, not just to fall in love. The husband is the head; he must be a loving head of the wife. The standard is not other husbands who have many shortcomings, but Christ who perfectly loves the imperfect and unloving church.

The husband’s position is a position of headship. The husband is the head of the wife, not the other way around. This relationship reflects Christ’s relationship with the church.

Eph 2:22-33 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

The husband and wife’s relationship should be a vivid illustration of the Christ-church relationship. We must make sure that our marriage represents the gospel. To do otherwise is to misrepresent the gospel.

The temptation to husband is to be passive, “come what may”, but this calling is irrevocable. But this is indicative. It is a stated fact not a command. It does not say, husband, be the head of your wife. It says the husband is the head of the wife. (Eph 5:23).

The husband is God’s representative at home (1 Cor 11:3). We see a clear hierarchy here. The direct representative of God at home is none other than the husband. His primary relationship is to his head, the lord Jesus christ. If His relationship with Christ does not grow, his relationship with his wife won’t grow.

Eph 5:32-33 speaks of the husband’s pursuit. This is a husband’s daily pursuit, to love his wife. There is a tendency for a husband to be unloving. There is a tendency for a wife to be unsubmissive. This is the wife’s primary pursuit.

Men tend to be independent, and to be unloving and feel no need for close relationships. But the husband’s standard in loving the wife is the unconditional love of Christ for the church. He did not give anything else but His life. It is self-giving and sacrificial love. This is the love of Christ for the church shown in v. 28, and 33.

Husbands, this must be our daily and perpetual pursuit. Not seasonal or occasional, but a daily and persistent pursuit to love our wives. Husbands should not neglect their wives. This is a weighty and difficult call. This is what we call self-denial. We must do this by God’s grace because this is what Christ did.

1 Cor 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is not a sentimental gushy feeling. But it is primarily a command, an action word. The husband loves the wife even as Christ loves the church. It is a decision.

Deut 7:7-8 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

The verse is clear that God set His love. Love is a commitment to choose to love, not just to fall in love. The husband is the head; he must be a loving head of the wife. The standard is not other husbands who have many shortcomings, but Christ who perfectly loves the imperfect and unloving church. Your wife may have lots of shortcomings, but you are commanded to love her. Christ loves the unlovable, so should you.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It says when we were sinners, not when we were holy and blameless. As Christ cherishes His wife, so the husband his wife. This involves devoting time with her. It is the love of Christ to His church that makes the church attractive to Him. The love of Christ makes the church beautiful. The love of the husband for the wife makes the wife beautiful. Our love produces loveliness in our wives. We must cultivate greater beauty in her. We make our wife beautiful by loving her unconditionally. Tell her she’s beautiful and beautiful she’ll be.

Proverbs 31:28-29
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
   but you surpass them all.”

The husband should support the wife, the weaker vessel. His prayers may be hindered because he is not fulfilling his role to his wife.

1 Pe 3:7 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.

The husband should be the teacher and spiritual mentor of the wife. The husband can only do this by being a diligent student of the Word. This comes with time and effort. Less time with your hobbies and more time reading theology books.

2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

You must know your wife’s weakness and spiritual development. It takes proactive steps to know her. What is she besetting sin? Are you ensuring that she has a devotional life?

The husband should protect her wife from danger. You may not know that she embraces erroneous theology. You may not know that she is having difficulty at home.

Family worship is not optional in family Christian homes. You may lead the worship, but how about your activities at home?


What’s the motivation of the wife in submitting to her husband? Her motivation is Jesus Christ.

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

It is easy for the wife to say that she submits to the LORD, but if she does not submit to her husband whom she can see, how will she submit to Christ whom she cannot see. This is a Christ-centered perspective of marriage.

Your husband is worthy of submission. Even your husband is not, you should submit to him for Christ’s sake. A wife who does not submit to her husband does not only damage her reputation but also mars her relationship with Christ and the gospel.

Titus 2:4-5 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

The consequence of the wife’s insubordination is a distortion of the gospel. The wife’s submission to her husband illustrates the church’s submission to Christ. Wives, following your husbands boils down to trusting God.

Yes. We admit that most of the time (if not always), the wife has more wisdom in so many practical things. But how should a wife address her husband’s lack of wisdom or wrong decisions? Should she shout at her and ridicule her publicly? Should she show that she has greater wisdom and take over her husband? Imagine a secretary shouting at her boss. This should not be the attitude that a wife must show to her husband. It must be shown with humility. The position of the husband as the head must be acknowledged always. This is a position that is designated not just by anyone, but by God.

When it comes to major decisions, the wife can defer her judgment and ask the husband. She must listen to him and suggest (not command) thoughts that the husband may have not considered. This must be done so that the husband, after the talk, be the one to have the final say according to the wisdom of God that He has given to him with the wife’s support.

Since the fall, the temptation for the wife is not submitting to the husband. Rebellion to her husband is a curse. But when she submits by God’s grace, it is prompted by the work of the Spirit. Obedience is motivated not by duty but by her love for the LORD and the husband (see: Pr 21:19, 27:15, 18:22, and 31:10-12).

The orientation of the vocation of the wife is husband-oriented. The wife’s pursuit is to please her husband. This is not being a people-pleaser. By submitting to and pleasing your husband, you are pleasing Christ.

The attitude of the wife’s service to the husband is not to get but to give. The wife’s role is a “help-meet”. She is created and designed to be the man’s support (1 Cor 11:8, 1 Tim 2:13-14).

Men and women are equal in God’s status, but when it comes to roles, women are in subjection. To embrace this role is to embrace God’s wisdom. The marital subjection is unique. A wife must be subject to her husband not to any other men but to the husband alone.

The chief priority of the wife is towards the home. First things first. Relating to your earthly husband is one more way of walking with your heavenly husband.


After all that we’ve talked about, we should, with Apostle Paul ask, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). We are in full bankruptcy. None of us is sufficient in ourselves (2 Cor. 3:5), but our sufficiency is from God. We must be led to live upon God’s love and grace. The grace of God in Christ alone sustains and adorns our marriage.

To God be the glory!

Image by Hollybee310  from

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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