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husband's duties

"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body."  (Ephesians 5:28-30 ESV) 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the duties of the husband toward his wife...

First of all, the husband must realize that his wife is part of himself.  He may not feel this instinctively; he has to be taught it; and the Bible in all its parts teaches it.  In other words, the husband must understand that he and his wife are not two: they are one.    

On the practical level, therefore, the whole of the husband's thinking must include his wife also.  He must never think of himself in isolation or in detachment... His thinking, therefore, must never be personal in the sense of being individualistic, and what he does involves of necessity the other half. 

[On Eph. 5:29] A man's attitude to his wife, says the Apostle, should be his attitude, as were, to his body.  That is the analogy -- and it is more than an analogy.  We have already considered the matter as it is taught at the end of Genesis chapter 2.  The woman was originally taken out of the man.  There we have the proof of the fact that she is a part of the man, and that describes the characteristic of the unity.  

It's the husband's duty to make coffee for his wife in the morning.

To sum it up, this is a great commandment to married men never to be selfish.  Neither must the wife be selfish, of course.  Everything applies on the other side, but here we are dealing particularly with husbands.  We have already said that the wife is to submit herself.  In doing so she has acted on the same principle;  this is now the husband's side of the matter.  He must therefore deliberately remind himself constantly of what is true of him in this married state, and that must govern and control all this thinking, all his wishing, all his desiring, indeed the totality of his life and activity.

The Apostle puts it in this form in order that a husband may see that he cannot detach himself from his wife.  You cannot detach yourself from your body, so you cannot detach yourself from your wife.  She is part of you, says the Apostle, so remember that always.  You cannot live in isolation, you cannot live in detachment.  If you realize that, there will be no danger of your thinking in detachment, no danger of your wishing and willing and desiring any detachment.  Still less can there be any antagonism or hatred. Notice how he puts it: 'No man', he says, to ridicule the thing, 'no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church'.  So any element of hatred between husband and wife is sheer madness; it shows that the man has no conception at all as to what marriage means.  

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in the Spirit (Baker Books, 1973) pp 212-214.

Hear MLJ's message, "The Husband's Duties" here, the sermon upon which this chapter is based.  


Unknown said…
Well put Sandy. Thank you for the reminder. The struggle to love my wife as much as my own body only seems to externally magnify the struggles within myself. Before I was married, I was faced with the struggle between the Spirit within me and the desires of my flesh. Like the apostle Paul, sometimes I would end up doing what I did not want to do and not doing what I wished to do. In the light of my new marriage, I now have a third part of me that does not always do as I wish and will do things that are contrary to my desires. This struggle is greater than the first for there are many additional challenges to my (our) development together that are foundational to external relationships. For example, verbal communication. To love myself, to encourage, promote, and develop myself now extends beyond the physical boundary of my skin and into the relational realm of community. To God, the perfect fulfillment of all relationships through the Body and blood of Jesus Christ, be all glory, power, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Sandy said…
Thanks, Reese! Yes, and well said!

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