Scott Slayton – Five Areas in Which Husbands Must Grow

Like most things in life, marriages are not static. It may feel like there are times when we settle into comfortable seasons, but marriages aren’t like McDonalds’ chicken nuggets. If we ignore them for a week, they will not look the same when we come back. Every marriage is growing stronger or weakening. There is no exception.

Marriages grow because the husband and wife are growing. Our marriages don’t exist in some strange limbo where they aren’t affected by our character, spiritual growth, and emotional maturity.

Husbands Must Grow in Their Walk with Jesus

A man’s walk with King Jesus sets the direction for everything else in his life. It does not guarantee that you will have a great marriage, but it will be the foundation upon which all of your growth will be built. When you have a growing walk with Jesus, you will be actively putting to death. Your sin is not only a dishonor to your Lord and a hindrance to your walk, but it also has negative consequences in your marriage. Therefore, a growing Christian man repents and seeks to cut the things out of his life that don’t look like Jesus.

To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.

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George Swinnock – A Husband’s Prayer

I pray that my love to my wife may be like Christ’s to His church, as well in its goodness as in its greatness; I mean, that my chiefest endeavor may be that she may be sanctified and cleansed and at last be presented to the blessed and beautiful bridegroom, a gracious and glorious spouse without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Oh, how industriously did my Redeemer endeavor His church’s renovation and sanctity! How affectionately doth He beseech her to be holy! How fervently doth He beg of His Father to make her holy! How willingly did He broach His heart and pour out His blood to wash her from her unholiness! How plentifully doth He pour down His Spirit to work her to holiness! His birth was that she might be born again, and born holy; His life was to set her a copy of holiness; His death was to purchase for her a new stock of holiness. He gave Himself for her that He might redeem her from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. His precepts, His prayers, His tears, His blood, His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, His intercession are all for her holiness and purity. His name is called Jesus because He saves His people, not in, but from, their sins and unholiness. He doth not think Himself [complete] until His body [the church] be in heaven.

To continue reading George Swinnock’s article, click here.

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Charles Spurgeon – The Master’s Example

Husbands, love your wives. Ephesians 5:25

What a golden example Christ gives to His disciples! There are few masters who could venture to say, “If you would practice my teaching, imitate my life.” But the life of Jesus is the exact transcript of perfect virtue, and therefore He can point to Himself as the paragon of holiness, as well as the teacher of it.

The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model. Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect the grace that was in Christ Jesus. Even as a husband, which is a relationship that the Christian sustains in common with the rest of men, he is to look upon Christ Jesus as being set before him as the picture, and he is to paint according to that copy. Christ Himself being the bridegroom of the church, the true Christian is to seek to be such a husband as Christ was to His spouse…Let the Christian then aspire to be like unto his Lord, Who is the Author and Finisher of his faith. And let him, as he runs the heavenly race, look unto Jesus and make the Apostle and High Priest of his profession (Heb. 3:1) his continual study, and aim to be changed into His image from glory unto glory (2 Cor 3:18).

To continue reading Charles Spurgeon’s article, click here.

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John Angell James – As Their Own Bodies

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Ephesians 5:28

man’s children are parts of himself; his wife is himself: “For they two shall be one flesh” (Eph 5:31). This is his duty and the measure of it too, which is so plain that, if he understands how he treats himself, there needs nothing be added concerning his demeanor towards her. For “what mighty care does he take of his body, and uses it with a delicate tenderness, and cares for it in all contingencies, and watches to keep it from all evils, and studies to make for it fair provisions, and is very often led by its inclinations and desires, and does never contradict its appetites but when they are evil, and then also not without some trouble and sorrow.” So, let a man love his wife as his own body.

Can it be necessary to apply the force of motives to produce an appropriate attention to such a duty? If so, I appeal to your sense of honor. Husbands, call to recollection the wakeful assiduities and the tender attentions by which you won the affection and the confidence of the woman, who forsook her father and her mother and the home of her childhood to find a resting place for her heart in your attachment. Will ye falsify the vows ye plighted and disappoint the hopes you raised?…That man has disgraced himself who furnishes just occasion to the partner of his days, to draw, with a sigh, a contrast between the affectionate attention she received as a lover and as a wife.

To continue reading John Angell James’ article, click here.

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Benjamin Palmer – The Force of Love

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Colossians 3:19

It is worthy of special notice that, in all the apostolic injunctions, the great duty enforced upon [the husband] is love. In addition to the testimony placed at the head of this chapter, the obligation is more fully expounded in the epistle to the Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself…For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church…Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself” (Eph 5:25, 28-29, 33).

But is not love as much the duty of the wife? Nay, in our philosophy, we would presume to say that it chiefly falls upon her to be the exponent of its mighty power. It is with some surprise that we find it set home upon the conscience of the husband as his paramount obligation, and we cannot rest until we discover the ground of this discrimination…The command to love is clearly designed to comprehend the entire office of the husband with its distinct functions. Are we able to trace the wisdom of the word?

To continue reading Benjamin Palmer’s article, click here.

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Tim Challies – What’s the Purpose of…Marriage?

Today I am kicking off a new series of articles that is going to ask the simplest of questions: “What’s the purpose of…?” Though the question is simple, the answers can be difficult and even controversial. We’ll begin with the home: What’s the purpose of marriage? What’s the purpose of sex? What’s the purpose of children? Then we’ll turn to the church: What’s the purpose of the church and its pastors? What’s the purpose of the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper? What’s the purpose of worship and baptism? These are questions that perplex many of those outside the church and just as many within. We will tackle these questions week by week, attempting to put to rest any lies and misconceptions and to bring to the light the divine truth. We begin with marriage.

What’s the Purpose of Marriage?

What’s the purpose of marriage? A brief search turns up a host of answers representing a multitude of worldviews. These answers reveal no end of confusion, but most perspectives can be summarized under two headings.

To continue reading Tim Challies’ article, click here.

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John Piper – Husband, Lift Up Your Eyes: Letter to a Would-Be Adulterer

Dear Husband,

You may think I am ill-suited to counsel a young man on how to be faithful to his wife, because, in almost fifty years with my wife, I have never felt enticed to be romantic or to have sex with another woman. However, it might be worth probing whether this (perhaps unusual) fact has causes which are transferrable to you.

Let me clarify. It’s not as good as it sounds. My eyes are as magnetized toward excessive female skin as most men’s. I am not designed for beach evangelism. I find airports to be problematic enough. I have zero tolerance for nudity in films — or even suggestiveness (which rules out almost all of them). One reason (among many) is that any sexually charged image lodges itself in my mind, with regrettable effects.

To read the rest of John Piper’s article, click here.

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Joel Beeke – Marital Love Must Be Superlative

Contrary to characatures, the Puritans had a lot to say about love, and marital love in particular. In our continuing series (post #1, post #2) we take up their teaching that marital love must be superlative.

A husband and wife are to love each other so dearly that both are persuaded that the other is “the only fit and good match that could be found under the sun for them,” William Whately (1583-1639) writes (A Bride-Bush, 8). Because of parental love, a godly parent would not trade his child for another parent’s child, even if that child were better-looking and had more ability or gifts; similarly, a godly husband and wife would not trade each other for a better-looking and more gifted spouse (A Bride-Bush, 8). Whately concludes: “Marriage-love admits of no equal, but placeth the yoke-fellow next of all to the soul of the party loving; it will know none dearer, none so dear” (A Bride-Bush, 9).

Surely, a wife is a man’s best companion and friend. Thomas Gataker (1574–1654) suggested that Adam was truly happy in Eden, but he was not fully happy until God had provided him with a wife, and he was joined to the woman as his closest friend and companion in all of life. Gataker said, “There is no society more near, more entire, more needful, more kindly, more delightful, more comfortable, more constant, more continual, than the society of man and wife” (Certain Sermons, 2:161). He was convinced that a house was “half unfurnished and unfinished, and not fully happy but half happy, though otherwise never so happy,” until it was completed with a wife (Certain Sermons, 2:161).

The Puritan ideal of superlative marital love appears in the poems that Anne Bradstreet (1612–1672) wrote to express her longing for her husband when he traveled away from home. She wrote to him,
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man was lov’d by wife, then thee….
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense. (Quoted in Nichols, Anne Bradstreet, 118)

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Nick Batzig – 7 Ways to Care for Your Wife

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 us to ask question, “What does it look like to biblically care about the needs of my wife?” That is a question that I feel as though I am just beginning to learn how to answer 11 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 7 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.

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Joel Beeke – Marital Love Must Be Spiritual

Continuing with our series on the Puritans’ views of marital love (see introduction) we come to the theme of the spirituality of marital love, that is, that is must be in Christ and in accord with God’s commandments. Love must be rooted in the experience of being equally yoked together spiritually as believers. Richard Baxter (1615–1691) said that husbands and wives have the responsibility “especially to be helpers of each other’s salvation: to stir up each other to faith, love, and obedience, and good works: to warn and help each other against sin, and all temptations: to join in God’s worship in the family, and in private: to prepare each other for the approach of death, and comfort each other in the hopes of life eternal” (Practical Works, 4:234).

Although marriage is a universal institution ordained by God for the whole human race regardless of whether they are saved or not, marriage fulfils its deepest purpose and achieves its greatest stability only when grounded in Christian faith and the fear of God. If built on the sandy foundation of physical beauty or exceptional gifts and talents, it can easily be blown away by some storm.

The Spiritual Duties of the Husband

Marital love should be profoundly spiritual because, as William Gouge (1575-1653) observed, Christian marriage should conform to the pattern of Christ and His church. As Christ loves His church, so the husband must love his wife. He is to love her absolutely (v. 25), purposefully (v. 26), realistically (v. 27), and sacrificially (vv. 28–29). He must exercise a “true, free, pure, exceeding, constant love” to his wife, nourishing and cherishing her as Christ does His gathered people (v. 29) (Of Domestical Duties, 31).

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