“TO LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS”
1. God’s Word says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” That is what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18.22.
2. Though not all men should marry, those men who do marry, and who have found a good wife to marry, have found someone good, and “obtaineth favour of the LORD.” A man is truly blessed of God to be married to a good wife.
3. Last week’s message from God’s Word was devoted to a husband’s love. But because the subject is so vast, and would take up so much time, I will have to limit my comments this morning to only the most superficial introduction to a woman’s calling to be a wife, and to the subject of her love for her husband.
4. Our culture is in such a sad state of decline, with the spiritual darkness and chaos that is upon us causing so much damage, that not only do men have no idea how to be the husbands and spiritual leaders God has called them to be, but we actually have wives these days who think they are good wives just because their husbands are happy with them.
5. Please think about that for a moment. Women, who claim to be Christian women, satisfied with themselves and pleased as punch with what they are doing, just because their husbands are happy with them. Incredible. No thought is given to whether or not God is happy with them. No attention is paid to whether or not Scripture is being obeyed. No. This man seems to be happy, therefore all is well.
6. Wives need to remember that their husbands did not die on the cross for them. Wives need to remember that it is not that man who must ultimately be pleased by her life and service, but God. So, to remind you wives, and to prepare those of you who will someday be wives, I have prepared a short catechism.
1A. QUESTION #1: What Is A Wife’s Place?
ANSWER: A Wife’s Place Is Subordinate To Her Husband.
Please turn to First Corinthians 11:
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
1B. As I mentioned last week, this passage addresses the concept of what I have referred to as the functional hierarchy that exists in God’s grand scheme, with Jesus being subordinate to the Father though not inferior to Him, and the wife being subordinate to the husband though not inferior to him.
2B. Drawing upon some cultural practices then current in Corinth to illustrate and reinforce the principal he is asserting, the point that Paul makes in this passage is straightforward: God’s plan is for a wife to be ruled by her husband and for the wife to actually behave as though her husband rules over her.
3B. This is something every woman needs to keep in mind when she contemplates marriage. “When I marry this man, I need to remember that I am for him, but he is not in a corresponding manner for me.” That’s what verse 9 teaches.
4B. And verse 10? “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” Who are the angels referred to here? Angels like Gabriel and Michael? Or angels like the pastors referred to in Revelation chapters 1, 2, and 3? Folks, I don’t think Gabriel needs for women to be ruled over by their husbands. But I can tell you that most of my pastoral headaches over the years are rather closely related to wimpy husbands who will not rule their big-mouthed wives. So, I think I am being referred to in First Corinthians 11.10. A wife’s place.
2A. QUESTION #2: What Is A Wife’s Pleasure?
ANSWER: A Wife’s Concern Should Be How She May Please Her Husband.
1B. In Genesis 3.16, God said these words to Eve following her sin of eating the forbidden fruit and then giving the fruit to Adam to eat: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
1C. I mentioned the husband’s rule over his wife last week. I also mentioned your sorrow last week. But I did not mention your desire last week.
2C. “thy desire shall be to thy husband” What does this phrase mean? Does this mean that a wife’s desire will always be to please her husband? That is clearly not the meaning, because so many wives have no desire to please their husbands. What John Gill thinks this means, and I think he is right in his understanding, is that whatever a wife wants is always somehow connected to her husband. To phrase it another way, it is not possible for a wife’s desire to be entirely disconnected from her husband, but will always be somehow related to him.
2B. In First Corinthians 7.34, Paul issues a declaration about the Christian woman who is married: “The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”
1C. So, women in general who are married are somehow connected to their husbands. Whether they are a help or a hindrance in this connection is not stated.
2C. But a Christian woman who is married will, by virtue of her virtues, by reason of her relationship with God, care “for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”
3C. Is that good, or is that bad? Paul does not say whether it is good or bad. He only states the reality of the relationship that exists with a Christian woman. How profoundly important it is, therefore, for a woman to be married to a Christian man and not a Christ-less man. Amen?
3A. QUESTION #3: What Prominence Should A Wife Have?
ANSWER: A Wife’s Prominence Should Not Overshadow Her Husband.
1B. Do you get an idea of God’s will in this matter from what we read in Genesis 3, and First Corinthians 11, where a wife’s functional subordination to her husband is so clearly set forth? Should there not be some practical outworking of this functional hierarchy in the way a woman lives her life?
2B. With regard to public worship in the church of Jesus Christ, we know from First Timothy 2.12 that a woman should not be prominent: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” As well, First Corinthians 14.34-35 is very clear: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
3B. So, in the home the husband is to rule. In the church, reflecting God’s plan for the home, and reinforcing God’s plan for the home, a wife is to occupy a role that is obviously secondary to her husband and less prominent than the role he is to occupy. Tragically, this approach is not reflected in most church ministries, when men sit in the shadows as their aggressive wives run most church ministries.
4B. Does this mean that the wife of a dead head bump on a log who does not serve God should sit and do nothing in the church? Not at all. It means that insofar as it is possible, a wife needs to demonstrate her willingness to subordinate herself to her husband’s spiritual leadership. She should seek to avoid prominence over her husband at home and in public. This is not the same as pretending that you are dead.
4A. QUESTION #4: What Personality Should A Wife Cultivate?
ANSWER: Not All Personalities Are Created Equal. God Prefers The Meek And Quiet Spirit.
1B. The capacity of a wife to avoid prominence in overshadowing her husband is related to two things: First, it is related to who she chose to marry. A big mouthed woman who marries a shrinking violet type of husband has only herself to blame if she feels emotionally confined and restrained in order to please God. The standard for her behavior is the man she chose to marry. Second, it is related to her ability to exercise wisdom and exhibit discretion.
2B. In First Peter 3.4 we read, “a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Thus, the apostle Peter declares that what pleases God is a wife whose personality exhibits a meek and quiet spirit. But what is a meek and quiet spirit? Meekness, of course, is part of the fruit of the Spirit, so meekness is what occurs when the Spirit of God works in a wife’s personality. But the two words taken together, a meek and quiet spirit, refers to a calm and contented mind. A single word that would encompass the meaning here is, I think, serenity.
3B. This does not mean that Simon Peter is advocating a “Stepford wives” mentality of dullness and intellectual lethargy. But he is pointing out that God is not pleased with silliness, with obnoxious loudness, with fretful worry, or with pushiness in a wife. Control. Restraint. Propriety. We used to call it being a lady.
5A. QUESTION #5: What Persuasion Should A Wife Seek To Employ With Her Husband?
ANSWER: A Wife Should Never Try To Change Her Husband’s Mind.
1B. It is unwise for any wife to engage in confrontational disagreement with her husband. Such a confrontation generally results in most men being resolute in their determination to resist when a wife does that, even if he believes his stance to be incorrect or ill-advised. More important to most men than being right on an issue is maintaining their position with respect to their wives. It is only the wimpy husband who knuckles under when confronted in such a way by his bossy wife.
2B. When a husband is simply wrong about something there are two avenues a wise and godly woman can pursue. An appeal made to her husband is her course of last resort, and should not be overused, but can be very effective. What is an appeal? An appeal is a request to your husband, not to change his mind, but to revisit an issue with facts and information in mind not previously considered. It is a humble request that your husband make a new decision based upon new information. Thus, you can see that a wife who makes an appeal to her husband actually strengthens his position as the spiritual leader of the home rather than undermine it.
3B. But appeals can be resorted to too frequently, so I will not deal with appeals today. Still, in First Peter chapter 3, there is an approach to persuasion that a truly godly woman, and a wise and experienced wife, will find much more frequent occasion to make use of than either argumentation or appeal. What method of persuasion am I referring to? Lifestyle.
4B. Read First Peter 3.1-2:
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
5B. I could obviously preach a series of sermons on these two verses, but allow me to make a couple of pointed comments in passing.
1C. There is nothing more important to a Christian wife than having a godly husband. So, how is a husband who is wrong supposed to be won by his Christian wife, if he is to be won at all? This word “won” translates kerdainw, which means “to acquire by effort or investment.” Wifey, you not win him by your talk, or your arguing, or your preaching skills, or by finger wagging.
2C. You win him by your conduct, the word here being “conversation.” It is as the Christian woman submits to her husband, and as he observes her “chaste,” or holy, conduct coupled with fear, that he is most deeply and most effectively persuaded concerning the most important of all issues, his own obedience to God.
3C. Why is this approach to persuading a husband so profoundly important? Because no wife can lead her husband to be the spiritual leader he ought to be. Understand, while you are leading him he is not leading. So you see, efforts to argue with your husband and to get your husband to do what you want him to do, are patently counterproductive. You best persuade your husband, ladies, by being godly, by fearing God, and by being quiet. That way he is not tempted to react against you.
6A. QUESTION #6: What Posture Should A Wife Adopt?
ANSWER: Respectful, Respectful, Always Respectful.
1B. There are few things that irritate me more than a mother with a shrill voice screeching at her son. “Get over here right now!” Please do not misunderstand. I strongly encourage mothers to be strict with their children, and to demand instant obedience and a respectful attitude. But there is something about some loud mouthed witch screeching at a child that really bothers me. A mother who starts doing that with a little boy will still be doing that when he is a young man. And there are few forms of humiliation that are so degrading, to me, than a howling banshee of a mother humiliating her son.
2B. The same women are frequently seen behaving in a disrespectful way toward their husbands, as long as their husbands put up with that nonsense and do not abandon them. But that approach, either to little boys, or to husbands, is just plain wrong. The way a wife deals with a man, and the way a mother deals with a little boy, for that matter, is respectfully. Paddle that boy’s behind if he needs it, but do not treat him disrespectfully.
3B. In First Peter 5.6, the apostle writes, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
1C. Consider Sarah’s behavior toward Abraham, keeping in mind that he was a deeply flawed husband who lied on two separate occasions that could have resulted in her being raped, had God not intervened. He was an inconsistent man, a deeply flawed man, but he was also God’s man.
2C. How did Sarah treat Abraham, warts and all? First, she obeyed him. Second, she called him lord. That is, in addition to submitting to him, she behaved respectfully toward him.
3C. Oh, if I could convince wives of only one thing with respect to their husbands, it would be to show respect, show respect, show respect. Oh, the influence you might have on your husband if he is convinced that you respect him. That is the posture toward him you should adopt.
7A. QUESTION #7: How Does Praise Come To A Wife?
ANSWER: If You Fear The LORD You Will Be Praised.
1B. There are times that being a wife is a thankless job. You work so hard, yet no one seems to notice. You exert yourself so much, yet your husband frequently pays no attention, responds with no gratitude, acts like he deserves to be treated so well. You would think some husbands have delusions of being the king of Siam.
2B. Please recognize that it is both normal and natural to want to be praised, to want to receive a job well done commendation from time to time. The question is, from whom do you want such praise? Where will the commendation come from?
3B. Proverbs 31.30: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” You can go fishing for compliments by focusing on the outward graces, or by primping yourself and trying to always look beautiful and ravishing. But such efforts will receive commendation and praise only from men. If you want praise that has as its ultimate source the God of heaven, if you want to get God’s attention, you will adorn yourself with the fear of the LORD.
4B. Fear God and you will have praise that counts for something. Fear God and you will have so much greater opportunity to influence your husband.
1. Marriage is a proposition that is so very different for a woman than it is for a man. When a man gets married he gets a follower, he gets someone who abandons her name for his own, and he gets a helper. When a woman gets married she takes on a leader, she takes on his name, and she agrees to help him.
2. I did not design marriage. God did. I do not seek to exploit marriage. I only seek to explain it. My advice to you, if you are married or if you hope to someday be married, is to memorize this catechism and its proofs, and use it as the basis for further study of God’s Word.
3. To be a wife you have to be at one and the same time both tough and tender, both strong-willed and submissive, both aggressive and meek. Being a wife is not for the faint of heart or the fragile. It is for those women who have a lot of grit and gristle. Marriage is not a fairy tale. Marriage is not idyllic. It is at times very, very tough. And to make a marriage work a wife has to know what God wants from her, as well as be willing to give God what He wants.
4. Now, before this morning’s brief sermon, brother Isenberger comes to lead us as we sing.
1. In Ephesians 5.22-27, the apostle Paul likens the relationship of the husband and wife in a marriage to the spiritual relationship that exists between the Lord Jesus Christ and the church. Please turn there and read along with me:
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
2. This is a glorious passage of Scripture, full of encouragement and promise for the future. But what a pathetic picture of the relationship Jesus has with the church is presented to the world if husbands and wives do not adequately fulfill their designated role?
3. My text for this morning is Titus 2.4, where the apostle Paul provides for his co-laborer, Titus, some practical insights along this line. Read the context and you will see that Paul is reminding Titus of certain aspects of his ministry.
4. The primary thrust of the man of God toward those who are converted is to train the aged men, to train the aged women, and to train the young men. For obvious reasons, qualified aged women are to more intimately train young women.
5. But what are qualified aged women supposed to train young women to do? That portion of Titus 2.4, that I will take as my text is, “That they may teach the young women to . . . love their husbands.”
6. You young women who are not married, and you young women who are married, listen very carefully. Three observations for your consideration:
1A. First, IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT LOVING YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT NATURAL
1B. Protest all you want, but Romans 5.5 clearly declares that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” at the time of conversion. As well, Galatians 5.22 describes what happens when the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, which occurs at the moment of conversion: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.”
2B. Thus, you can argue all you want, but it is firmly established in God’s Word that love, real love, including love a wife claims to have for her husband, is not natural. Love, real love, is simply not something that is possessed by an unconverted wife for her husband.
3B. Does that not explain so much? Does that not show you the difference between passion and real love, between sentiment and real love, between emotional attachment and real love? You may have the former, but you do not have the latter . . . if you are not converted. You see, love, real love, is something that comes from God, and it comes after conversion, by the Holy Spirit. It is not something you either fall into or out of.
4B. No wonder so many women who claim to love their husbands these days refuse to take their husband’s name, refuse to abandon their separate identity to establish a real home, refuse to bear their husband’s children. It’s love, after all. You don’t have any, or you wouldn’t act the way you do. Don’t tell me you love that man while refusing to bear his children. I don’t believe it.
2A. Next, IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT LOVING YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT NECESSARY
1B. What I mean by this statement is that there are many Christian women who do not love their husbands, and that it is not necessary for a woman who is a Christian to love her husband. There are many Christian women who do not love their husbands.
2B. You see, contrary to what modern day evangelicals believe, copying their core theology from Hollywood as they do, love is not a feeling. Oh, there ought to be great and deep feelings associated with love, but great and deep feelings should follow love. Great and deep feelings for someone does not mean you love that person, for it is possible, it is usual, for great and deep feelings to exist where there is no real love.
3B. You can have great and deep feelings for the man you are married to and not love him. This absence of love would be evidenced by your disloyalty to him, by your rebellious attitude toward him, by your attempts to boss and intimidate him rather than submit to him, and by your hostility toward him when he makes those initial and stumbling efforts to provide leadership to you.
4B. Here is the greatest testimony to me that you do not love your husband: If he is unconverted and you do not encourage him to seek my assistance in coming to Christ. If you do not seek your own husband’s conversion, and urge him to make use of the means available to strive, how can you say you love him?
5B. To recap, then: Loving your husband is not natural. You do not love your husband if you are unconverted. Loving your husband is not necessary. You do not necessarily love your husband if you are a Christian. How can this be? Paul reminded Titus about Christian women being trained to love their husbands. Ergo, they did not love their husbands and had to be trained to love their husbands.
3A. Which Brings Me To My Final Observation. YOU MUST BE TRAINED TO LOVE YOUR HUSBAND.
It is no insult to a Christian woman to insist that she does not love her husband. Most Christian women do not love their husbands. Even Christian women who have grown up in Christian homes do not necessarily love their husbands. To love your husband has to do, not with how you feel toward him, but with how you behave toward him, since love is not a feeling but a pattern of behavior. Two comments about this verse, which is the only place in the Bible in which the word translated “love your husbands” is found:
1B. First, your training to love your husband begins with your pastor, generally.
1C. This word translated “teach” is another of those words found only here in the New Testament. A. T. Robertson describes the word as referring to being “sound in mind, to make sane, to restore to one’s senses, to discipline.”
2C. This entire process can only rightly occur within the context of a pastor preaching God’s Word. You being hopefully converted to Jesus Christ, and your entire life being transformed by the renewing of your mind, as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ under my spiritual oversight.
3C. This is a part of what Paul refers to when he directs Titus, in Titus 2.1, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.”
4C. Do you want to love your husband? Pay close attention as I preach the gospel, as I declare the unsearchable riches of Christ, as I unfold before you the proof of your lost condition, as I seek to persuade you to turn from your sins and flee to Christ to escape God’s wrath.
5C. Then, should you actually be converted to Jesus Christ, you will need to listen up just as carefully as every other Christian woman so you might grow spiritually. That is the general instruction you will receive that will result in you choosing to, and then being equipped to, love your husband.
2B. But there is also that very specific instruction that you will need from a qualified aged woman.
1C. You understand that there are certain things that are not appropriate for me to involve myself in, as a Christian man speaking to a woman who is not my wife. At such times, and on such occasions, a Christian woman must have someone to turn to for advice, for counsel, for instruction, and from time to time to receive rebuke.
2C. That ministry in our church is the responsibility of one of our deacon’s wives. She is a woman who has sat under my ministry for 18 years, who is a seasoned and reputable Christian woman, who knows how to love her husband, and who God has blessed to see issues clearly and without the biases that so many people have that makes it difficult for them to see their own family’s problems.
3C. I almost never counsel with a woman more once about an issue related to her marriage. If I am persuaded that follow up is needed, and that strong medicine is needed to break some destructive habits and to establish some new habits, I will prescribe a series of sessions between this deacon’s wife and a Christian woman who needs to be trained to love her husband.
1. Loving a husband is not what most women, even most Christian women, think it is. Loving a husband is not how you feel toward your husband. Instead, it is how you behave toward your husband, how you treat your husband, how you relate to your husband.
2. If you are not obedient to God’s Word, despite how you feel toward him, no matter how high your level of personal loyalty and commitment to him happens to be, you cannot love him, because love only operates within the confines of God’s Word and the restrictions and boundaries of the Bible.
3. You are a great housekeeper and a wonderful cook? Fine. You are your husband’s romantic ideal. Even better, I assure you. But that does not mean you love him, in the Biblical sense.
4. If you want to love your husband you have to first be converted to Christ. “Oh, but that’s not a good reason to seek conversion.” Any reason to seek conversion is a good enough reason, I assure you.
5. Second, if you want to love your husband you have to be trained to love your husband. You have to be trained in a general fashion by sitting under the preaching of God’s Word in an attentive and studious fashion, learning what is being taught. Then there are the specifics, woman to woman, that you have to be taught by a qualified woman.
6. That woman is not necessarily your mother. If your mother was not trained to be a husband-loving wife, in the Bible sense of that concept, then she is not going to be able to train you. The woman who trains you in this fashion must be a woman out of the ordinary, a woman with a demonstrated receptivity and responsiveness to the truth, and a woman old enough, wise enough, and close enough to her pastor to work closely with him to see young women taught to love their husbands.
7. Do you want to love your husband? I am sure he wants you to love him. I know I want you to love him. Therefore, let’s you and me talk about you becoming a woman who loves her husband. Call the church office and let Mrs. Moyer set up an appointment that’s convenient for you.
 John Gill, The John Gill Library, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000)
 Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 541.
 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol IV, (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1930), page 602.
 Romans 12.2