Godly Wives: Love Their Husbands
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Godly Wives: Love Their Husbands With Love They Can Feel
There is only one chapter in the New Testament that explicitly describes God’s expectations for every man, every woman, every boy, and every girl who are part of Christ’s Church, and that is Titus 2.
As we turn there this Mother’s Day morning, each of us in our hearts hold such a special place for our moms. But whether you are a mom or not, married or not, or even if you are a part of the half of us who are men—the passage we are going to in God’s Word speaks to all of us.
Titus 2’s verses are a message from God to every man and woman, boy and girl in Christ’s Church. This morning we are specifically going to examine what God has set down as a pattern that every woman should have as the goal of her life.
Titus 2 records what the early church was commissioned by God, to teach among those who came to Christ. Paul explains a truth, a spiritual reality, and a wonderfully high calling: Godly women who are also godly wives will learn to love their husbands with a love they can feel.
Being a Titus 2 woman of godliness should be the desire of every woman for her life, every wife for her marriage, every mother for her daughters, every husband for his wife, and every child for their mother. Because:
Titus 2 is the Pattern God Gave
If you want to be vital in Christ’s church, useful in God’s Kingdom, rewarded at Christ’s Bema Seat Judgment these verses are your marching orders.
There is no clearer pattern for a godly woman in all of God’s Word than the twelve character qualities recorded in these verses. This is what God desires, explains, and expects from obedient and godly women.
If you are looking for a passage to study in depth that can change your life—here it is.
If you want a special passage to memorize and meditate upon that can transform your thinking and life’s direction—here it is.
And, if you want to go through life confident that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do each day—here it is.
Most of us struggle with purpose, wondering if our days are spent wisely.
The Pattern for Godly Living in this World
Titus 2 contains a lesson from God that you don’t have to go away to a far away place to accomplish. You do not have to get financial support to start, you don’t have to have any spectacular gifting—all you need is to love and follow the Lord and you can start down the Titus 2 track.
Now lest any of us men start feeling badly about such a wonderful God given way for women to invest their lives—there is also an equally clear 12-part mandate for Titus 2 men.
As we open our Bibles to Titus 2:1-5, listen to the very voice of God speaking not to a select few, but to all of us here today.
God is asking each of us to live in such a way that our life can become a pattern of His grace that can be used to mentor, encourage, coach, tutor, teach, train and guide another’s life towards Him.
There is nothing greater in life than to be useful for God, and Titus 2 explains exactly how to be useful every day God gives us to live here on Earth. Please stand as we listen to God speaking through Paul to those early believers in Titus 2:1-5:
Titus 2:1-5 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
A Christian home in a pagan culture was a radically new thing.
Young women saved out of paganism needed to get accustomed to a whole new set of priorities and privileges; and those who had unsaved husbands would need special encouragement.
God wants women who are beautiful in His sight to model His Titus Two Model. These Titus Two role models had the responsibility of training the younger women how to be successful wives, mothers, and housekeepers; and the younger women had the responsibility of listening and obeying.
Among the Bible believing wives of the first century there was a big challenge in “loving” their husbands. For various reasons and in various degrees those women found themselves with either minimal or no “feelings of love” for their husbands; but God commanded them in Titus 2, to learn to express love that can be felt. We have similar challenges facing every godly woman today, so these lessons are supracultural and timeless.
The Spiritual Priority of An Intimately Close Marriage
What was the first lesson Paul asks to be taught to the younger women?
Here was the precedent for all future generations of the church being laid down. God was giving what He wanted perpetuated in every church around the globe as a priority of spiritual nurture for all women that would ever come to Christ. Now that is a very big and heavy responsibility laid out for the Church.
And so, what was the first thing God wanted every young woman taught? Look back at Titus 2:4 “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
One word in the Greek text, philandrois is translated “love their husbands.” It means to be a woman totally devoted to one’s husband.
Some women say that their husbands are no longer lovable; but having that attitude is disobedience to the clear Word of God.
To help your attitude, keep in mind that loving your husband doesn’t mean you’ll always feel the rush of emotion that characterized your love at the beginning of your relationship. Marriage is a contented commitment that goes beyond feelings to a devotedness—to a level of friendship that is deep and satisfying.
If you don’t love your husband, you need to train yourself to love him. Serve him kindly and graciously day by day and soon you will make such a great investment in him, you will say to yourself, I’ve put too much of myself into this guy not to love him! It is a sin to disobey this command.
The best way to fill a home with joy and peace is to have a husband and wife who are best friends–intimately, emotionally, and spiritually.
In the First Century church, Christ told Paul to deploy a legion of older-in-the-faith, godly women, energized by the grace of God, to go from house to house, become a close and trusted friend of those young wives—and train them in how to become their husbands best, closest, dearest, and most-intimate friends.
This primary mandate was given because, the essence of what God expects is for a wife to offer: Love that can Be Felt
Those believing wives in the early church like wives today, almost always want to obey the Lord, thus they submit and fulfill their responsibilities to their husbands—but often only dutifully and not lovingly with respect and admiration.
It’s not just that loving your husband is a virtue; Paul says that (listen carefully) not loving him in a way that he can feel—is a sin!
The key to understanding this bold new dimension of the early church’s training is in the word Paul uses for love. Every believer has already repeatedly been commanded to “love” with agape love which is an action. We are commanded to act in a loving way towards each other, our saved and unsaved friends, and even our enemies. This agape love is not a feeling, it is an action.
Paul explains that husbands are to love their wives with agape love in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”; and Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them”… That means every believing husband is commanded by God to self-sacrificing actions towards their wife, prompted
by Christ’s love and example towards us His church.
Then Paul goes on to explain that wives are to obediently submit respectfully to their own husbands (Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord; Col. 3:18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.). Peter adds that they were to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit that was beautiful to God and of immense value in the marriage (I Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.). God desires these reciprocal relationships in a godly marriage on a behavioral level.
This commanded attitude and behavior of believers in marriage is the foundation and the formula for a Christian marriage. But so easily we slide back to dutiful, obedient, often unemotional, and detached relationships. So Paul says that it was imperative to go further.
Every church is to be sure that there are mature believers who nurture couples in closeness as couples. Titus is given the key to flourishing marriages and homes—train the younger women in how to cultivate a loving friendship (phileo) with their husbands. This is emotional love. And so the early church was filled with radiant advertisements for Divine love in a sin-sick world:
Husbands and Wives: Best and Closest Friends
Agape love is never used in the Bible to describe sexual love or responsibility because emotional love can’t be commanded. The beautiful, intoxicating love that God designed for marriages to have sexually is an emotional love, and those emotions can’t be commanded.
We can’t make someone feel a certain way; we can command them to “do” something but not “feel” a certain way. Genuine, Biblical, marital, sexual love is emotional intimacy in the highest degree. God commands willful, agape love; but the emotional phileo love of friendship and sexual intimacy can’t be commanded—it must be learned.
When the younger women saw how the older women loved, respected, admired, and were best friends with their husbands—they were encouraged that such a marriage was possible, and they drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were very profitable for daily life.
They learned how to respect, admire, and encourage their own husband; how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections; and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship.
In Paul’s day, men and women were saved out of a culture where romantic love usually did not exist in marriages. Wives were only seen as the trusted keepers of the home and bearers of the children. Emotional love, psychological needs, and sexual desires were satisfied by illicit relationships outside of marriage by most husbands. The opportunities for sexual liasons in the Roman world were endless.
For some women in the Roman world this was a relief as they did not have to “perform” sexually on a regular basis for their husbands. But the emotional and relational super-glue that the sexual dimension of the marital relationship produced was thus absent.
Salvation stopped the immorality in most believing men’s lives back then—but salvation did not make them or their wives instantly close, intimate, and life-sharing friends and lovers.
Just as modern pre-marital moral laxity has scarred many young couples into a troubled, often superficial marital relationship, so were most of the marriages of the New Testament church. What was Paul’s Spirit prompted answer? What was to be the way to solve the distant, detached, and constantly tempted husband daily buffeted with the overpowering allurements of the flagrantly immoral Roman culture?
Always remember that when God designed marriage in the Garden of Eden, it was to cause a man to “cleave” to his wife, which literally means to be glued together; and a sexual relationship in the context of a Biblical marriage literally cements a couple closer and closer, designed by God to be:
In our Western society, a man and a woman fall in love and then get married; but in the East, marriages were less romantic. Often the two got married and then had to learn to love each other. That is why the church was given Eph. 5:18–33, which is probably the best Scripture for a husband and wife who really want to love each other in the will of God.
Physical or sexual love without romance is soon empty and meaningless; and as Solomon (who had a lot of experience) said, soon becomes “Like gravel in the mouth” (Proverbs 20:17). Paul knew that to protect those newly believing husbands and fathers from the tidal waves of temptation, they must have a vibrant, attractive, satisfying emotional and physical relationship with their wife.
Husbands who are drawn to think about and wants to see their wife throughout a day away from home, are protected from attraction and distraction by a wicked world about them.
Paul told Titus that to fill the church with loving, caring, romantic wives who love their husbands in this Biblical way, came through the example and training of the godly, older, grace energized women who faithfully taught and modeled that only God’s grace can enable these younger women to act consistently that way.
What are some practical steps a Titus 2 woman mentoring a younger woman in the faith would teach? These ideas are not hypothetical, a godly older woman actually sat down and taught my own wife about God’s priorities for marriage when we were newlyweds living in California in the early 80’s.
This godly Titus 2 woman invited Bonnie over and shared with her that there are three specific choices that make a wonderful start. Over the years Bonnie has studied, shared with me, and pursued what we may call:
Practical Steps for Wives to Express Love that Can be Felt
Learning to be a close knit, best friend with your husband is like starting a dating relationship with him even though you are already married. It is a conscious, intentional focus on him as a person, and as a man that you pursue. There are three simple attitudes that you need to consciously choose in your heart, pray over, and then with God’s promised help—cultivate and deepen a little more each day.
1. Decide that you will make your own husband your number one most important human relationship of life over all others, including your parents, brothers, sisters, and friends. And mothers, even more importantly—your husband is to be more important to you than your children. In God’s list of your priorities husbands are first, children are second. Look at v. 4 and think about that. Have your children, your relative, or friends become more important to you than your first and highest earthly priority given by God: YOUR husband?
2. Start to seek your husband’s friendship and love ahead of all other human relationships including your friends, relatives, and children. Almost all romance flows from closeness. This means that you make choices to set aside time to surprise your husband with wanting to spend time with him. Tell him yes, you want to go and do what ever it is he is interested in. That may shock him but if you persist, it will thrill him. Men want and deeply need to have the emotional friendship of a caring, accepting, seeking, admiring, and pursuing woman in their life. If you doubt that just ask yourself why so many men leave beautiful wives for less than beautiful women who chased them at work. Yes it is sin to commit adultery, but much adultery starts in a man seeking the admiration, respect, friendship, and closeness that his wife is often showing to her close girlfriends, mother or sisters, and children—but often not to him. God commands wives to love their husbands in a way that HE can feel.
3. Begin examining your lifestyle, and weekly schedule, to see if you are intentional
ly pursuing your husband’s love, his interests, and his attention. Any man will notice after a while, the interest that is shined upon him by an adoring woman. If you are expressing love that can be felt by your husband as a chosen way of life, then you can be sure that you are becoming his best friend and are truly “loving” your husband in the way that God has designed and commanded you to be.
Then as Bonnie continued to meet and be trained by this Titus 2 mentor in her life, she was taught some small choices she could make as a wife to maintain this high calling from God to love me as her husband. I still have a copy of the actual notes Bonnie was given of simple but powerful ways to cultivate and grow her love for me.
These truths worked and they may also help each of you in your love for your own husband:
1. Pray for your husband daily.
2. Plan for him daily things like: special acts of kindness; special dinners; special times alone; special meals alone; early bedtimes for the children; going to bed at the same times.
3. Prepare for him daily: prepare your heart with being clothed with God’s love; prepare the house; prepare your appearance; prepare your greeting; set the table; clear out all visitors; stay off the phone; pray for his arrival.
4. Please him in some small way daily.
5. Protect your time with him as an offering to the Lord of obedience to His Word.
6. Physically love him, let him know that you are available at any time that would please him. God commands us in Proverbs to be intoxicated by the love of our partner (Proverbs 5:18-19). If you are married and not intoxicated by the love of your partner–you are missing the best marriage possible.
7. Positively respond to him with respect and admiration for whatever you can notice that he does for you and your family.
8. Praise him about his accomplishments.
9. Pray without ceasing for his life, devotion, purity, and needs as his closest and most trusted friend.
When the younger women of Paul’s day saw how the older women loved, respected, admired, and were best friends with their husbands—they were encouraged that such a marriage was possible, and they drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were very profitable for daily life. They learned how to respect, admire, and encourage their own husband, how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections, and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship. Women are rewarded for such love poured out upon their own husbands .
If you want to be vital in Christ’s church, useful in God’s Kingdom, rewarded at Christ’s Bema Seat Judgment these verses are your marching orders. There is no clearer pattern for a godly woman in all of God’s Word than the twelve character qualities recorded in these verses. This is what God desires, explains, and expects from obedient and godly women.
Why not quietly in your heart, ask the Lord if you have made these choices. Have you become from the depths of your heart, a woman who loves your husband as your very best friend in all the world?
And, why not prayerfully tell your husband today (sometime during the service if you are sitting next to him or after the service), that you are going to rekindle, renew, and deepen the love God has called you to have and feel and show to your husband.
Be a beacon of Christ’s love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true marital love is possible, and can be shared for as long as you live.
Titus Ministered in a Sin-Warped Culture
Christ’s church was born into a sin-warped, sin-darkened world of mixed-up marriages, sin-scarred lives, and confused families.
But men and women who were gloriously saved did not automatically become great wives and mothers, or husbands and fathers. When they came to Christ and were forgiven, God graciously gave them everything they needed to become godly wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers. But, they needed something else.
These new believers needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship. Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.
Christ’s method for the training of these new converts was two-fold. They gathered for a group session as an entire church body. The Scriptures were faithfully taught, and they were fed healthy doctrine for spiritual growth. That group teaching of the gathered church was vitally performed by the called and gifted pastors of Christ’s church; but side-by-side with that didactic teaching of God’s Word that fed Christ’s flock weekly, was another equally vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2.
So what did God mean in v.4 when He says “wives love your husbands”?
How are we supposed to apply that today, is there a guide for us or a picture to look at? The answer is always in God’s Word.
This Mother’s Day I’d like to go back with you to the beginning—and together see God’s original intent and plan for men and women who would become husbands and fathers, wives and mothers as seen in God’s Word.
As you turn to Genesis 2, we see God original plan for husbands and fathers. Because as we honor fathers today all across our land—we can also remember that Father’s Day is all about God’s original design for husbands and wives, before the fall, before the warping that sin has caused.
In creation God designed men to be incomplete without the woman that He made for them. When Paul instructed wives to be trained in how to love their husbands it was a reflection back upon God’s original plan for marriage.
Our study in Titus is just a reminder that when Christ’s church has husbands loved by grace-energized wives, those wives are just following God’s plan He laid out from the beginning. God made the first woman Eve, to become Adam’s close and cherished companion, friend, and completer.
Mother’s Day is a grand opportunity to go back to see God’s design as He formed the first marriage in Genesis 2:18-25.
As we turn there, think of all that has happened from Genesis 1:1. God has made the entire Universe and crowned it with His last creation, in His image called a man.
Then, God finds the first thing in the entire Universe that was not good—it is right here in verse 18. God states that man should be alone. So God crowns the creation of man with the creation of woman.
Watch this great event unfold in Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV). There is a wealth of marriage-changing-truth in these few words from God. Look at each piece.
v. 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Men Need Close Companionship
First, v.18a say literally “not good is man’s aloneness”. That is as clear as can be. Aloneness, solitary living is not good. One of the deepest pains sociologists have measured in society is living and isolated and lonely life. They report that such people ache with a deep pain they can’t even fully describe. Adam ached, God observed, and announces the solution for this great need.
Next, in v. 18b is God’s plan, “I will make him a helper comparable to him”. Notice God’s first reference to woman is by the title of ‘helper’. English just doesn’t convey what that Hebrew word means; hence it is not seen as a great title. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines help as a noun meaning “one that helps, especially a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usually by manual labor”.
That definition in English is what has fueled the misconceptions of the inferiority of women and
wives. If that definition doesn’t capture the world’s view of us quaint people called Bible-believing Christian’s marriages, then I don’t know what does.
But that English definition is exactly not what ‘helper’ meant to God. The Hebrew word God chose means something grand, literally it describes a person “who assists another to reach complete fulfillment”. When the same word is used in other places in the Old Testament it is used of someone who went and rescued another person. Now there we have it.
God made woman to come to man’s rescue and save him from his lonely existence. Eve was designed to rescue Adam from not only loneliness, but also to completely fulfill Adam.
Then, God continues with another word that captures even more of the beauty of marriage. This helper was “comparable” to Adam. This suitable, or comparable helper was literally “corresponding to” Adam. Man before woman had some missing pieces in the puzzle of his life and God said that was not good. So Eve was the one who provided the missing pieces to Adam’s life. Husbands by God’s design are incomplete until they receive that one God designed to correspond to them.
God promised that He would design her exactly to specifications for Adam. And that is the plan of God for marriage. Eve was to fulfill a God-designed-necessary-role that rescued Adam from missing his fulfillment—and in that process of being God’s special creation for man—Eve also found her completion and fulfillment. Marriage was such an incredibly designed wonder of God!
God Designed the Missing Piece To Adam’s Puzzle
From the start each partner was unique, each partner was vital, each partner was distinct, and each had a God designed role that provided immense satisfaction, fulfillment and completion. So Genesis next records the performance of this promise God made.
v. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
What an incredible moment. God removes part of Adam (a rib) and made woman out of it. The Hebrew word for “made” is “fashioned” and literally means “to build or rebuild so as to cause to flourish”. The missing piece of Adam’s life that caused him loneliness was not good.
But when that missing part of his life was taken by God and fashioned—that missing piece of life’s puzzle flourished into Eve. Adam’s rib under God’s design sprang to life as Eve. She was his helper, his rescuer, his completer, his satisfier, and the one who fulfilled every dimension of his life as a man.
To make creation good God had to form a creature that was incredibly like man as well as incredibly unlike man. Note the wonders of Eve’s creation:
Eve was made for Adam.
Eve was literally made from Adam (“bone of his bone”).
Eve was brought to Adam.
Eve was named by Adam.
There was an incredible equality about them: both were made by God; and both were made in the image of God. They were made to complement one another, but not to compete with one another.
Note Adam’s response. God brought her to him. And every man or woman enjoying the privilege of marriage should at that statement lift their heart in gratitude to the Lord. He designed the woman you have joined your life with, to be your helpmate that corresponds to every missing piece of the puzzle of your life. He gave you a partner, soul-mate, and best friend designed to be all that is needed to have a life-long fulfillment.
v. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Adams exclaims that his wife Eve was made by God, given to him by God, especially designed, and intentionally made for his needs, as he was for hers.
Note once again in the last part of v. 22 that God personally brought Eve to Adam. You will start a whole new chapter of your marriage and open an entirely new dimension to your relationship when you realize that God Himself designed your husband or wife just for YOU! All of the differences you share in perspective, in taste, in personality, in mood, and in ability are all placed there by God for His glory and for your good.
Women are Different By God’s Design
Your wife is different from you as a husband because God made her different, and wanted her different.
The more you realize that truth and thank God for it, the sooner you will stop resenting those differences and resisting those differences; and start seeing her as the counterpart to your life that by God’s grace will help form you into what God wants you to be.
The passage continues on into the traditional marriage passage, but for us today we are going to focus on the wonderful need from Creation, for husbands to be loved by their God-designed wives, who were designed to rescue husbands from loneliness.
Adam’s role designed by God was to initiate, to lead, protect, provide, cherish, and husband his wife.
Eve’s role designed by God was to respond to Adam’s initiatives, follow Adam’s lead, comfort him as he protected her, receive Adam’s provision, and love him in all his dimensions as her husband.
The story of the fall is all about Eve’s first time to reverse her role. When Eve initiated disobedience to God and Adam responded—sin, sorrow and death were the result.
But back to the original plan that it was “not good for the man to be alone”—when Titus came to minister on Crete he faced many men who were alone while they were married.
Their life was unshared, their initiatives were not fully responded to, their leadership was not fully followed, and their marriages and homes were as a result–far from God’s plan.
So God prompted Paul to write some words that can reach across the centuries and revitalize any marriage, any family, and any home. The key is found in the call for not only Spirit-prompted agape love that is within the heart of every born-again believer—God also wanted each marriage and family to be trained in phileo love. God wants wives to practice the constant improvement of an emotional love of friendship, of companionship, and of a shared life with their husbands.
This love that glues husbands to their wives is a love that is chosen, and a love that is modeled, and a love that can be learned.
Paul commanded Titus to gather a group of grace-energized-women to be God’s servants, and deploy them as trainers in the ancient art of becoming husband lovers. That was the first order of their curriculum.
Give Your Husband Your Deepest Love
Today, if you are married and want to give the best gift possible to your husband—give him not only your Spirit-prompted, sacrificial agape love that serves him and submits to him—give him also your emotional love that makes him become and stay your very best friend in all the world.
In fact, if you want to impact the rapidly-turning-pagan culture around us (much like that of Crete in Paul’s day) remember and heed the first thing Paul told them to do was love your husband in a way that can be felt.
Grace-energized-wives become a beacon of Christ’s love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true love is possible and can be shared for as long as you live.
And, why not prayerfully tell your husband today (sometime during the service if you are sitting next to him or after the service), that you are going to rekindle, renew, and deepen the love God has called you to have and feel and show to your husband.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Delights of a Word-Filled Marriage here.
Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.