What Kind of Husband Are You?
IF YOU are a married man, you know that being a good husband is not easy. One reason is that it does not come by “instinct.” Skill in marriage is similar to skill in any other field of endeavor—it must be acquired. And that takes time, thought and effort.
But what is the right kind of husband? True, you can read many books about this written by doctors, psychiatrists and marriage counselors, and these books no doubt contain valuable information. But often such persons give conflicting advice. Whose advice will you follow?
Does it not make more sense to turn to the One who originated marriage to get information about the subject? That One is Jehovah God. He created man and woman—and originated marriage.—Gen. 2:22-24.
When we study the matter from God’s viewpoint, we quickly see that the role of the husband is in certain respects more difficult than that of the wife. Why? Because God’s Word states: “A husband is head of his wife.” (Eph. 5:23) God has assigned the man the leading role in marriage, that of headship. So his role is more complex.
Being the head means that you as the husband have the main role in providing for your family materially, spiritually and emotionally. You are the one who should make the major decisions and take the initiative in doing things for the good of the family.
When you take the right kind of lead, your wife does not find it burdensome to “be in subjection” to you as her husband. (1 Pet. 3:1) She is happier because she is able to concentrate on the role that Jehovah equipped her for so admirably, that of being a helper and companion for you, making your home a good place to live, and caring for the children.
Yet, any husband will come into difficulty if he thinks that his divinely appointed role as head means that he is authorized to be a dictator. When headship is exercised in that way, then the wife will show the strain, since nobody respects a tyrant.
A man could not be tyrannical and be the right kind of husband, for Jehovah’s Word says: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies.” (Eph. 5:28) Just how far should you go in dealing lovingly with your wife? While you are the head of your wife, still the Bible, at 1 Peter 3:7, says: “You husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with [your wives] according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one.”
How do you honor persons you know? You usually speak well of them, do things for them, and consider their feelings, views and wishes. The same is true in assigning honor to your wife. Essential here is communicating with your wife, that is, having mutual exchanges of views. Often, information that a wife has enables her husband to make better decisions. And although as the head he has the final say in matters, a husband who ‘assigns his wife honor’ will often allow her preference to prevail above his when there is no issue at stake.
The right kind of husband appreciates what his wife does in the home. Why, it would cost a small fortune to hire people to cook, clean, sew, iron, take care of children and do the many other things that a wife does! Hence, why not at times express appreciation for her hard work? True, at times words of correction may be necessary, but if this is what the wife always hears without any upbuilding commendation, then her attitude can sour.
Just as husbands need a break from their daily routine, so do wives. Recognizing this need, why not take the initiative and suggest that you and your wife do something different together at times? Perhaps eating out, enjoying upbuilding entertainment, visiting others, or even taking a walk together would be appreciated by her.
Every husband who is also a father knows the large role his wife plays in raising children. Her tenderness and love, her motherly qualities, all show clearly that Jehovah created her for this role. But you should not expect your wife to do everything for the children. Actually, you should play the key role in their mental and spiritual development, for the Bible counsels: “Fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah.” (Eph. 6:4) This is why Christian fathers do well to conduct regular Bible studies with the family and guide them in the worship of Jehovah.
There are many other times when you can help with the children too. For instance, when the entire family is away from home in the company of other people, you can show consideration for your wife by assisting in handling the children, instead of directing all your attention to other people. This is a loving thing to do, and it shows that you appreciate your responsibilities as a family head.
The right kind of husband also considers his wife’s emotional makeup. As the “weaker vessel” she has her physical cycles, which make her more emotionally inclined than her husband. On certain days when she is not feeling well, the considerate husband avoids inviting company over or expecting too much from his wife.
All this consideration has a very desirable influence. The wife that is dealt with in this way will usually respond in a positive way. She will have deeper respect and love for her husband, a greater willingness to do things for him. And even if she does not, the right kind of husband will continue to deal with his wife in this loving manner. Why? Because it is the right way, the way Jehovah approves.—Eph. 5:25.