Be Christ to Your Wife: a Challenge to Married Men

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10 mins read

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to offer this article by a new Men of the West author, El Borak, a long time friend of many of us here. El Borak is an historian by training, a project manager by vocation, and an author when the mood strikes him.  He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of more than 30 years. We welcome him to Men of the West, and look forward to his continuing contributions here.

Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
— 1Pet 3:7, NASB

If the West is going to be saved, the work of that saving will be done by men.  God made men his primary agents on this planet – Eve was designed as Adam’s helper, not his supervisor. Men have a duty to God and to others to lead and to build, to cultivate and to grow, especially in our churches and homes.
However, one of the frustrations that men of the West encounter is that there are times in which God does not seem to be helping us in these tasks. We pray, asking on bended knee over folded hands, that He clear this roadblock or smooth that path. And yet our progress is stymied. We win a battle to lose two quickly thereafter. We plant and nothing grows. It can be maddening and disheartening. It is also unnecessary.
I would like to suggest that this result arises not because God doesn’t want us to create a safe, prosperous, and godly West, but because our prayers to that effect are being hindered.  And one way that they are hindered, as the Apostle Peter warns us, is that we are not treating our wives properly. We are not following God’s will in this small but critical thing. How can he trust us with big things?
There are plenty of articles on marital responsibilities floating around the web’s Man Cave.  Unfortunately, most of them do men little good, as they are focused on the woman’s role in marriage, and specifically on her submission to her husband’s leadership.  Not one word of what has been written on this subject needs to be taken back.  But I say this imbalance is unfortunate because men need to concentrate on our own obedience to our Creator if we want His assistance in completing the work that we know must be done. We, as men and especially as husbands, need to begin with ourselves as representatives of Christ. When our own actions and attitudes conform to our King’s example and will, our relationships tend to fall into line as well.
Throughout the whole of scripture, husbands and fathers are directed and encouraged to take care of business at home, so that they might better take care of business elsewhere.  One of the most direct and complete admonitions comes from Ephesians, chapter 5:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
— Ephesians 5:25, NASB

Are you loving your wife like Christ loved the church? If you are a providing husband and father, you are making sacrifices every day that you go to work when you’d rather be fishing. But are you washing her feet? Or more practically, are you washing her dishes?  Do you help her in the little things she struggles with? Do you give her a break from the kids, protect her from the hassles of life and family, especially her in-laws, even when you’d rather not?
“That sounds like submission,” you might object.  It’s not. Remember what Christ said when he washed the feet of his disciples:

You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
— John 13:13-14, NASB

Washing his disciples’ feet did not change who Christ was, nor did it affect his authority one iota. But it did provide us with an example of how to meet the needs of those who rely on us.  We who seek to be conformed to His image should follow it.
Paul then expands upon his previous example:

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church…
— Ephesians 5:28-29, NASB

Are you nourishing your wife as you do your own body? This does not mean simply providing her daily bread – woman does not live on bread alone. Rather, are you meeting her emotional needs?  When she needs to talk out her fears and frustrations, do you listen? I mean really listen, not just grunt over the latest draft news on TV. Do you pray for her? Do you pray with her? To nourish your wife, you must provide her with everything she needs to flourish spiritually and emotionally under your protection. Yes, it takes work many men would rather not do or perhaps don’t know how to do. But the payoff is ours as well. What man would not rather live with a well-adjusted, stable, happy wife?
Are you cherishing your wife as a gift from God?  Are you gentle with this weaker vessel He has given to be your helper? Do you treasure her and honor her? Or do you ignore her, put her down, embarrass her publicly? It is in your power to make or break her, to see her flower or to watch her wither away. Your wife is a talent placed in your hands by a Man going on a long journey (Matt 25:14-30). How will you fare when He returns to settle accounts with you?
Finally, the Book of Proverbs reminds us of a duty that cuts away all the pretensions of our modern, degenerate culture:

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.
— Proverbs 5:18-9, NASB

Are you faithful to your wife? Are you as faithful to her as Christ is to the Church? The “forsaking all others” that you vowed on your wedding day did not come with an exemption for that cute little thing at the office. This is an area that has destroyed men as great as King David, and it will destroy you, your family, and your relationship with the Most High if you play with it. Flee sexual immorality in your personal life (1 Cor 6:18).
We men are going to fix our culture. We are going to fix our families, our churches, and our communities.  This we must do, and with God’s help we will do it. We will reconquer this entire land house by house if need be. But the first battle is the hardest, which is why we have put it off. That battle must be waged within our own homes and perhaps within our own hearts. Married men must be Christ to our wives before we can show Christ to the world.
 
 

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.

28 Comments

        • I generally find Glenn to be pretty solid. That said, I am even more skeptical of ‘new’ interpretations that just happen to coincide with the politics of the day.
          While it’s true that Paul does not literally say ‘obey,’ I have yet to see a type of submission that does not include obedience as a matter of course.
          Imagine the man who claimed to be in submission to Christ, yet never did what Christ commanded. You would say such a claim is nonsensical, for it is. It is simply impossible to submit in general without submitting your will to another, which is simply what obedience is.

  1. Excellent. The responsibility that men carry in marriage and family is weighty and magnificent but it is the role they were intended to carry.
    I find it awe inspiring to see men stand up and take it on with purpose. It is as though the childishness and self-absorption that society applies to men with a liberal (pun intended) brush in order to keep them weak and subjugated rolls away and their true faces show up.
    Every time I’ve seen men stand up and be Christ like in their homes, I’ve also watched them become profoundly more powerful and authoritative in the rest of their lives. A man who is respected at home and knows his family cares for him will be a man who does not need the affirmation of others in order to function as a dynamic and powerful man in other areas of his life.
    Excellent. Welcome to the MOTW. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  2. Great article, and fully true. Unfortunately, the men who need to read it won’t, because the men who are reading it already know it. You’re preaching to the choir here .
    Most of the men who are here aren’t too bad at all the things listed or who have gotten a lot better at them. They’re conscientious, attentive, kind, caring, industrious and Godly. Most of the women married to these men don’t know how good they have it, and ought be thanking their God in heaven they were blessed with the men they have.
    I know men need to be reminded of their marital duties. But most men who are already here are well aware of them.

    • I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.
      — 2Pet1:12
      Sometimes even the choir needs a little preaching.

  3. The thought occurred to me that one of the reasons we see an absence of this, especially within the auspices of organized religion, is that there is so little accurate and orthodox teaching of the nature and life of Christ that all the dudes are enthusiastically attempting to emulate “boyfriend Jesus” and have no idea that MAN Jesus actually exists!
    This would fundamentally undermine any attempt to understand the husband and protector of the home since neither of those ideas could be present in the boyfriend who exists outside of a covenantal relationship.

    • Another reason is that telling the wife to submit is offensive to modern ears, so we moderns incorporate verse 21 (mutual submission) into Paul’s teaching here. While assuaging the wife’s wrath, it simultaneously gelds the husband. Reason #147,932 that America is awash in gelded husbands.

  4. I would add one point of fine tuning. When your wife loves you, takes care of you, and is submissive, you should absolutely do on her and give her all the desires of her heart.

    • DS, yeah. I’ve had a few thoughts on submission and the role of the wife lately. One is my other article here, “A Truly Powerful Woman” and the other, is on my blog. It’s something like the Submission Myth Exposed or something. Anyway, it was an interesting topic to dive into and helped me recognize that after nearly 23 years of marriage, I’m still working on it. 🙂

  5. “Or more practically, are you washing her dishes?”
    It was difficult to conclude my reading after this. I understand that there are the literal and figurative interpretations of this comment, but let me make this very clear:
    Men who step into a wife’s role will lose her respect, her love, and her, eventually. Whatever you may say about the ideas and concepts of the manosphere there are some clear, evidence based precepts.
    One of those is to stay in your role.
    Fix the sink so the dishes can be done? That’s a man’s role. Do those dishes? No.
    When Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, was there ever a question that he was the boss? Did it happen every day? If it have any value it must be for its rarity and timing. Peter was strongly for Jesus, Yet Peter denied Christ three times. If a husband is to be the head, he must understand that his wife is not as strong as the church, not as strong as Peter, even in his denial. His leadership role is precious, and those he leads expects that he act like a leader, and leaders don’t peel potatoes or do laundry. A wife needs her husband to be strong in his role, and provide those moments of compassion.
    Those moments have value and mark the heart when they are significant, and memorable. Jesus wasn’t cooking every day. His disciples did. It was valuable work, needed work, but it’s a task for the right person. Leadership and headship are no different.
    The real risks of an article such as this is that it acts as entryism for the “woman is lord” heresy in Christianity. May I suggest an approach more rooted in how to lead than in calling down fire and brimstone for men’s “failures” in this matter? A great deal of the manosphere is dedicated to this. That’s another topic that’s too wide ranging to discuss here.

    • This is a very sad attitude to have. Part of a husband’s compassion could be coming home after a day at work and finding his wife has had a very hard day with the kids. Maybe they are sick, or maybe they are just running her ragged. Or maybe she has had to deal with some other kind of emergency. A proper Godly wife would never EVER lose respect for her husband if he indulged in the kindness of washing those dishes, and even taking over finishing dinner prep for the evening.
      As a woman who has been married for 40 years now, I never lost respect for my hubby when he jumped into the fray when the kids were young. It is the fact that he DID jump into the fray when needed that kept my respect, and even increased it twofold.
      Now to expect a man to do dishes on a regular basis, I would agree. But a man committing a random act of kindness for his wife should not cause him to lose any measure of respect. If it does result in a loss, then there is something else going on there that needs to be addressed.
      El Borak, this was a very good introduction article from you. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts in future articles.

    • I thought about this comment when I got home from a long day at work today.
      The first thing I noticed when I pulled in the drive was that her car was not here. Weird. But I meandered into the house to be greeted by the smells of English roast in the crock pot. The house was mostly clean, though the kitchen counter lay covered with a cutting board, knives, little carrot shavings; you know, all the leavings of a capital dinner.
      As I dropped my phone onto the counter, I noticed that little blue light blinking. Apparently, after my last meeting of the day I had forgotten to take the stupid thing off mute, so I missed her call. I read (I have one of those apps that transcribes voice mails more or less accurately) that she had loaded 7 kids into the van and driven to the nearest town to buy (with money she earned) eleven used cattle buckets for my container garden, that my dinner was ready, and that she was sorry she would be late but the road to (nearby town) was still flooded so she had to take the long way around.
      It took me 3.5 minutes to load the dishwasher before I sat down to eat and I laughed the whole time.

      • Thanks for the comments, Borak and Susan. I have 5 under 7, if you know what that means.
        The examples you quoted are compassionate, and good examples of wisely delivering extra care when needed. I use them myself.
        You both make a fundamental error: You, Borak, are not washing the dishes every day, and you, Susan, missed the same thing. Random acts of kindness are not done daily, and are therefore more significant, more valuable, and better reinforce those spousal bonds.
        This was the example set by Jesus many times, including the washing of the feet. Go and re-read my comment. That’s exactly what I discussed. You both then implied that the ideas were wrong, using the example of a “random act of kindness” or unusual situational compassion.
        My disagreement with you piece, as stated, is that it is in the same vein as Dalrock has noted many times: Christian men are castigated for failing to be “servant leaders”, make their wives’ happiness their primary goal, do women’s role tasks, and then those same women are encouraged to exercise the “nuclear option” of divorce if their man won’t “man up” and submit to the primacy of the woman’s happiness.
        This is why the Manosphere exists. It’s why Christianity has been converged with SJWs. It’s why female primacy has come to dominate Christianity. It’s important to avoid opening the door to such heresies, and that is the door that’s opened here with your article.
        I would encourage you to Investigate the work of Dalrock, Rollo Tomassi, and even Heartiste. Interactions between men and women are biological, and designed by God. The principles apply as much to virgins getting married in the church as to the most sinful player. Sexuality and male-female interaction are not sinful in and of themselves; it’s only in the timing. This is a lesson Christianity knew, but has lost amidst the equalist assault.

        • “My disagreement with you[r] piece, as stated, is that it is in the same vein as Dalrock has noted many times…”
          Well then I would only suggest that you have misread me. For I did not say “Do her dishes all the time” (Would they not then become *your* dishes?). Nor did I say you lead by serving. Nor did I say your wife’s happiness ought to be your primary goal. These are straw men, and I chose to ignore them in my initial response. I had already said that not one word of what has already been written about marital responsibilities in the manosphere (and yes, I have read them), needed to be repealed.
          Where you say “delivering extra care when needed”, I said “help her in the little things she struggles with,” and I clearly distinguished that from submission. So I am frankly not sure at all what your specific problem is with the piece, other than you seem to value “staying in your lane” more than I do.
          Pax.

          • Thanks. I’ll try to expand:
            “But are you washing her feet? Or more practically, are you washing her dishes? Do you help her in the little things she struggles with?”
            I think we both agree that the occasional act of helping with a wife’s role chores helps. My objection is that you’ve put an unbounded suggestion out there, one that has been used to successfully converge churches with SJWisms, and leads to things like this: http://www.medicaldaily.com/more-chores-husband-does-more-likely-marriage-will-end-divorce-242815.
            My suggestion: You put a floor in. Put a roof on also.
            “Rather, are you meeting her emotional needs? When she needs to talk out her fears and frustrations, do you listen?”
            It’s not about the nail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg
            My suggestion: Explain that a wife needs her husband to be a rock, as Christ is for the Church. Emotions don’t need solutions; most men make this mistake and offer them.
            ” Are you gentle with this weaker vessel He has given to be your helper? Do you treasure her and honor her?”
            My suggestion: Another open-topped idea that has been used to denigrate men in favor of women. Gentle, but firm. Treasure, but require value. Honor, but require respect. Too often men will let a wife get away with poor words or actions, or lack of good ones.
            This last has put our civilization where we are today.

        • It sounds like you are looking for a treatise on how to manage a wife rather than how to love one. I suppose that’s worthwhile, but it was not really my point. No apostle ever warned that your prayers might be hindered because you did the laundry too much.

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