[Since this post is so popular, I’ve taken the ideas in it and turned it into an entire book, which you can download free of charge right here (PDF file; 115 pages). The book is entitled A Help Meet For Him and discusses God’s will for wives – or, in other words, how to love your husband according to the Bible. I hope you enjoy it; think of it as my gift to you.]
The overwhelming majority of traffic I get to this blog comes from people who are searching for “How to love your husband according to the Bible”. I’m a bit amazed that people are searching for that, but if you want the answer then you have come to the right place! I’ll keep this short and to the point.
What the Bible has to say about how to be a godly wife is pretty simple. First of all – and this is something that is not very popular in our society today – Bible is clear that the husband is in charge. People these days like to talk about “mutual submission”, but that is not Biblical. The Bible teaches that the husband is the head of the family and the wife is to submit to her husband:
Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
I Peter 3:1: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
The reason I quoted all of these passages is to emphasize that the Bible is very clear about this. The Bible repeatedly commands wives to submit themselves to their husbands. Some might say “Oh, well, they only have to obey if their husbands aren’t saved”, but that’s not true. Look at I Peter 3:6 – Sarah obeyed Abraham, and it wasn’t because she was trying to convert him!
Many wives hate these verses, and the reason they hate them is because they want to be in charge. They do not like having anyone in authority over them. I realize how unpopular this is, but it’s what the Bible says. If you are trying to rule over your husband and force him to obey you then you are disobeying God. What you are doing is rebellion – and it is a serious sin. Wives, you really are supposed to obey your husband. God put him in charge of your family, not you. You are in a supporting role; your job is to support him.
One thing you need to realize is that women were created for men, not the other way around:
I Corinthians 11:7: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
Some will say, “But what if my husband isn’t a believer? Am I still supposed to obey him then?” Look at I Peter 3:1; when the husband is lost, the wife should especially submit then, because in doing so she might win his soul. Having a lost husband is no excuse.
Others will say, “I can’t obey my husband! What if he tells me to sin?” I have news for you: the odds are pretty good that your husband is not going to tell you to go rob a bank or go harvest someone’s organs. If he does then you need to divorce him, and fast. Do not follow your husband into a life of crime. I very seriously doubt, though, that your husband wants anything remotely like that. Yes, you should not obey him if he wants you to sin. But if he is leading you into sin or if he is abusing you, then why are you still married to him?
The wives that I know who refuse to obey their husbands are not doing so out of some high-minded righteousness. Their husbands are not monsters; they simply don’t want to obey. The real problem is a rebellious heart that “wants what it wants” instead of wanting what God wants.
Here is something to keep in mind: each and every one of us will stand before God and give an account for the way we lived our lives. If you spent your life rebelling against your husband and making his life a living hell, then you will answer for that and it will not be pretty. Refusing to submit to your husband is a sin.
There are some people who have told me “I reject Paul’s teachings on women because he had mommy issues.” It is hard for me to overstate the utter stupidity of that statement. The apostle Paul raised the dead; people could be healed by touching his handkerchief. He performed an astounding number of miracles, and God used him to write a massive portion of the New Testament. Paul’s apostleship – and the authority of all of his teachings – is beyond question. If you stand before God and tell him “I don’t have to listen to Paul because he had mommy issues”, I assure you that God is not going to be the least bit amused. You are not criticizing the apostle Paul; you are criticizing God’s Word, and God gets very upset when people do that. Do not despise His word; you absolutely do not want to face the wrath of an angry God.
Denying your husband sex is also a sin:
I Corinthains 7:2: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
The reason for this, as verse 5 explains, is sexual temptation. In this world there is an astounding amount of sexual temptation everywhere – on the internet, on television, in movies, and so forth. The world is also full of adulteresses and other women who will gladly tempt your husband into fornication. When you deny your husband sex (or vice versa), you are leaving him wide open to temptation. Since he can’t find satisfaction in you, the devil can tempt him to find satisfaction elsewhere.
The point is that when you married him, you gave him the permanent right to have sex with you. As verse 4 points out, you belong to him and he belongs to you. It upsets me to no end when wives refuse to have sex with their husbands for years on end, and then act all shocked when they catch their husbands looking at porn. What on earth did you think was going to happen? You denied him his only legitimate partner, and lo and behold he fell prey to temptation. Have you never heard of cause and effect?
Now, I am not at all excusing what he did, but look: when you decided you weren’t going to sleep with him anymore you opened him wide up to being tempted. You defrauded him. He is not alone in his sin; you played a role in getting him there. God is not going to hold you innocent in this. If you don’t want him to fall prey to temptation then don’t put him in that situation. Give him what God requires you to give him.
At this point, someone will say “I can’t always say yes! What about after pregnancy? What about medical issues?” Please, folks, be serious. Everyone understands that sometimes you aren’t physically able to do it. We get that. But we don’t believe that you have had a headache every night for three solid years. There are a whole lot of times when you are perfectly able to, but just decided you aren’t going to.
Some women love saying no to their husbands because it gives them tremendous power. Women love to withhold sex from their husbands and only give it to them if they do what they demand. “If you do what I tell you to and bow to my will, then I’ll agree to sleep with you”, they say. (Incidentally, there is a term for women who give sex in exchange for money or other favors. It’s not “wife”.) These women use sex as a weapon – and that is a very grave sin. Don’t do that. Denying your husband is a serious sin; it opens him up to a world of temptation. (The reverse is also true: husbands, don’t deny your wives.) I know you don’t always feel like it, but it is his right, and if you reject him he will be open to temptation – and sexual temptation has destroyed all sorts of mighty people (look at Samson, or King David).
Also, let me be clear: I do not believe that wives should be barefoot and pregnant. Women love to accuse men of this, but I’ve never met a man who thought that way. The Biblical woman is very impressive – just take a look at Proverbs 31:10-31! She’s not sitting at home watching television; instead she is working with her hands, buying fields, running her own business, selling her own line of clothing, and enriching her family. She has a lot going on. Just take a look and see for yourself.
She is not idle, and that is a big point. Women today seem to believe that housework is beneath them. I am not opposed to the husband helping out, but I am opposed to the husband doing every last bit of work around the house because the wife can’t be bothered. It is not your husband’s job to do the dishes, and take out the garbage, and sweep the floors, and clean the bathrooms, and do the laundry, and pay all of the bills, and do every single last thing, while you sit there and do nothing. Your job in life is not to be a parasite. Do not spend your life refusing to contribute anything to the marriage, and treating your husband like your own personal slave. If you do that he will come to hate you.
Love your husband. Cherish him. Read I Corinthians 13 and actually live it. Love does not seek its own welfare; instead it seeks the welfare of others. This isn’t hard and it isn’t rocket science. Instead of trying to rule over your husband, serve him. Instead of forcing him to do what you want, try pleasing him and making him happy. When he asks for sex, don’t turn him away. Be a blessing to him, not a curse. Don’t despise him; instead, show him respect. Is it really that hard to not be a selfish, spoiled brat? Honestly, that’s really all that most husbands want.