George is a financially successful Christian businessman in his fifties who is a prominent leader in his church. He has been married to Claire for thirty-three years. They have two grown daughters and three beautiful grandchildren. Sounds like another wonderful Christian marriage, right? Wrong! Claire has just informed George that she doesn’t want to be married anymore and is moving out. George is shocked, as he thought they had a pretty good marriage, compared to most. When asked why she is leaving, Claire sites many reasons that boil down to George was not a godly husband.
This is a fictional story, but one that rings with truth derived from my own marriage and counseling with other couples. Christian marriages are under heavy attack by our enemy, the devil and the primary reason why he’s winning is that men have not been taught how to be godly husbands. I know, because I was one of those men and over the last few years God has taught me the virtues necessary to become a godly husband.
For many years, I would put on my “church face” after arguing with my wife all the way to church. To those around me, I seemed like a godly man on Sunday, but the rest of the week, I was a man of the world. Because of this my marriage was on the rocks regularly, my children were struggling, and at times our life was a living hell.
This all changed in the spring of 1997, when I attended a Promise Keepers stadium event. God got my attention and began teaching me how to be a godly husband. Karen, my wife will tell you that I came home from that event a different man, but there were still struggles, as the change was not instant. It took God several years to transform me into the man I am today. During those years He showed me seven virtues of a godly husband. Today, I have the most amazing marriage and God is now calling me to teach what I have learned to other men. Here are the seven virtues, as God taught them to me.
Virtue One: Selfless
Men, in general, tend to be selfish and it is one of the reasons that marriages are failing at greater rates. A godly husband is selfless, like Jesus. He never focused attention onto himself, but rather always on the Father and then His bride (the church). A godly husband will follow that example by focusing his attention on God first and then his wife.
Jesus taught husbands how to be servant leaders and that is what every marriage needs. Let us learn from Jesus, as He would first go to the Father for instructions and then focus on the needs of the people. As I started going to God every morning for instructions, He would help me to see how I could serve my wife every day, by showing me what I could do that day to make my wife’s life more enjoyable. I would listen and do what He told me. My reward has been a wife who wants to serve me and an incredible, loving, passionate marriage.
Virtue Two: Humble
As a whole, men tend to be prideful. We are taught from an early age to be strong and self-reliant. Yet, God isn’t looking for self-made men, He’s looking for men who will humble themselves to His will, just like Jesus did. Jesus humbled himself and set aside His God-nature in order to be a man.
In order to become a godly husband, I had to put my pride and ego aside, and submit myself first to God and then to my wife. Instead of lifting myself up as the priest of the household, I began to honor my wife and exalt her as a beautiful and wonderful God-given helper. Godly men are humble servants to God and their wives.
Virtue Three: Loving
In my counseling, I often hear a man say that he has fallen out of love with his wife. This is because they are trying to love their wives with a worldly love. The Apostle Paul taught about a different kind of love in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This is a spiritual love that is unconditional and sacrificial and only available from God.
In my quest to become a godly husband, God taught me that in order to love my wife the way Jesus loved the church, I must first come to Him and get filled with His love. Then I could go to my wife and let His love flow into her. We love each other more today then the day we married.
Virtue Four: Kind
Wife abuse has become a huge problem in the world, even in Christian marriages. I have never hit my wife, but like many husbands I was an emotional abuser. I didn’t use my fists, but I did use my tongue. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) reads, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Husbands can speak life or death to their wives with the words they use. As I learned to be a godly husband, the Lord taught me to engage my spirit before letting my tongue loose.
Kindness is a real key to becoming a godly husband. Each day you should strive to be kind to your wife. Compliment her looks, surprise her with flowers, a gift, or fix her dinner. Give her short love notes and special cards that tell her how special she is to you. Take her on creative dates and every once in awhile do the chores she usually does in your house. A godly husband realizes how kind God has been to him and funnels that kindness to his wife.
Virtue Five: Gentle
The world’s image of a man is rough and tough – the Marlboro Man, but a wife would rather have a gentle husband. Jesus modeled the perfect man by being both strong and gentle. As husbands we are called to be the same.
Many men struggle with control and anger problems. I was one of those who needed to be in control and when I wasn’t I would explode like a volcano, permanently damaging anyone who was around me. My wife forgave the words and actions, but it took a long time for her to forget. In order to become a godly husband, the Lord had to teach me first that He is the only one truly in control and then how to let my emotions out in other ways – through conversation, prayer, and even tears. Yes, real men do cry! Over time, God removed the anger and filled me with His peace that resulted in a more gentle nature.
Virtue Six: Honest
Our world is full of dishonesty and so are many marriages. Trust is a huge area for women and most husbands have done things that have strained that trust. Some women, like my wife, come into marriage with trust issues from previous relationships. Unfortunately, I did things that added to those trust issues and it took God many years to break through in that area.
A godly husband will always tell the truth. Little white lies will damage a marriage, as will leaving out key details that you feel she doesn’t need to know. Anything that even looks remotely dishonest to your wife, will damage your marriage.
Godly husbands will be honest and up-front with their wives in all areas. They realize that God made her as a helper and in order for a wife to do that, there can be nothing hidden.
Virtue Seven: Faithful
Infidelity, even in Christian marriages, is on the rise. Unfaithfulness falls into two categories – physical and emotional. Most often, men think of physical unfaithfulness as a sexual affair, however, this area also encompasses relationships with other women where you are sharing intimate information that should only be shared with your wife. This area would also include visiting strip clubs, massager parlors, and meet-ups. A godly husband never shares his body, or mind with a woman other than his wife.
The second is emotional unfaithfulness. Many husbands get to a point in marriage where they don’t feel sexually fulfilled and rather than discuss it with their wives, they turn to pornography. Because there is no physical contact, it seems ok. However, Jesus said that if we look at women with lust, we have committed adultery. Pornography is rampant, even in Christian marriages and it is tearing them apart.
If you are struggling with any of these areas of unfaithfulness, you need to seek help from a Pastor and become accountable to one or two godly men. Immediately get a computer/phone/tablet filter like Covenant Eyes and set it up for accountability with several other people. Also, go to www.Revive40.com and learn about a ministry that can help you get free!
A godly husband makes a life-long commitment to give himself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to his wife alone.
The devil is doing his best to tear down marriages and his focus is on the husband, as he is the priest of the household. God is also working hard to teach men how to be godly husbands, so that they can enjoy a loving, passionate marriage. The key is you and which route you chose. Will you chose to spend time in the world and let the devil tear your marriage apart or will you invest time with God and let Him teach you how to be a godly husband and enjoy a wonderful, fulfilling marriage? The choice is yours!
Seven Virtues of a Godly Husband
There are many husbands, but very few godly husbands. Which are you?