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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Role of a Husband – Part 3

It would seem obvious from these three responsibilities that one of the primary jobs of a husband is to provide for his wife (and family) (1 Tim. 5:8). God calls husbands to be the “head”, and, in that, the provider. We are the responsible party, the one whom God expects to manage things. Wives may certainly contribute (as in the Proverbs 31 example of a good wife), but it is not her God-given task to do so – it is the husband’s.

Solomon calls us to enjoy life with your wife (Eccl. 9:9), to “rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Prov. 5:18). Of course that would require that we be faithful to her; this should go without saying. But it takes it a step further. Enjoy life with the woman you love. Drink from your own cisterns (Prov. 5:15). In Solomon’s own graphic words:

Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love (Prov 5:19).

This seems such a simple request, but the fact is that husbands spend much of their time in fantasy. Perhaps it isn’t “evil” fantasy – “Oh, I wish I could be with her.” More often it is more “benign” – “I wish my wife was more like her.” But it is in direct opposition to these commands to enjoy your own wife. It is, therefore, wrong to think in those terms. Let me state that in another way: It is sin to think in those terms. Instead we are to heed Paul’s instructions on thought-life:
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Phil 4:8).

Note that there is nothing in that list about “If only she was more …” or the like. This is a call to a radically different thought process for most husbands.

“Now, you know there will always be issues when it comes to sex.”

I won’t spend a lot of time here. I think the previous information – loving her as you love yourself, placing her interests before your own, being responsible to God, etc. – should really answer most of these questions. If they don’t, you haven’t been paying attention. Go back to the beginning. I do need to bring up one other pertinent, important passage for us to consider:
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Cor 7:3-5).

Our first response is to read the “wife’s body does not belong to her” and get enthusiastic. But remember, I’m not talking to wives here. I’m talking to husbands. Thus we must see most clearly “the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” When this sinks in, it might radically alter your bedroom approach. Your body does not belong to you! Biblically, sexual relations between husband and wife are a surrendering, not a taking. Let that sink in. (How often is the complaint “She doesn’t want to do what I want to do in bed”?)

This theme runs far beyond the bedroom, too. Your body does not belong to you! She needs someone to help her and your body will do fine. She needs someone to clean toilets and your body will do fine. She needs a hand with dishes and your hands will do fine. Just as we are to love as Christ loves, surrendering our lives, we are also to surrender our bodies as Christ did. It isn’t about our egos or preferences or wishes. It’s about our responsibility to God in regards to this wife that He has given us.

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