All of these things must, of course, be pursued in the context of our own relationship with Christ. It is only through union with Jesus—in his death and resurrection—that you will ever be able to begin to love and care for your wife in these ways. When we fail (and we will most certainly fail), we go back to the Lord in brokenness and contrition. We confess our sin to him and ask him for grace to grow in these areas.
In that extremely complex and, at times, hard to understand section of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we come across the comparison between the married and the unmarried (1 Cor. 7). In short, the apostle insists that marriage is good (and the norm), but that it brings with it a division of attention. Those who are married have a preoccupation with their spouse. Those who are unmarried are free to more fully “care about the things of the Lord” while “the married man cares about…how to please his wife” and “the married woman cares about…how to please her husband.”
This forces Christian husbands to ask the question, “What does it look like to biblically care about the needs of my wife?” This is a question that I feel as though I am just beginning to learn how to answer eleven years into marriage. While there is no silver bullet, there are many things that the Scriptures teach us in order to help guide the process of learning to love your spouse. Here are seven basic biblical ways that the married man can seek to please his wife:
1. Lead her in worship.
Whether this occurs one-on-one or in the context of family worship, a godly husband will seek to “wash his wife with the water of the word” and to lead her “to the throne of grace” that they might together receive grace and mercy to help in time of need. A man who truly loves his wife will want to sing God’s praises with his wife and to encourage her with God’s word.
This is the most foundational way that a godly husband can love and serve his wife. Everything else in the marriage is secondary to—and will necessary wax and wane commensurate with—this all-important calling. God has given a believing husband his wife so that he might shepherd her soul to glory.
2. Carry her burdens.
One of the apostolic words to husbands regarding the way in which they are to love their wives is that they are to “dwell with them with understanding” (1 Pet. 3:7). A loving husband will seek to be gentle toward his wife. A truly loving husband will seek to listen to his wife as she relays her burdens. He will be patient with her when she seems to be folding under the pressures of life. He will seek to understand why she is struggling even when he doesn’t have the same burdens.
3. Provide for her.
A man who truly loves his wife will be a man who labors diligently to provide for his wife. The loving husband will be a hard-working husband. This doesn’t mean that he will make lots of money; but it does mean that his priority is to “provide for his own” (1 Tim. 5:8). He will work as many jobs as might be necessary in order to provide for his wife. Being a provider is something to which a loving husband must be committed.
4. Serve her in the home.
I don’t know if it is possible for someone to hate folding laundry as much as I hate folding laundry.