Christian Marriage, Council for Bibl. Manhood & Womanhood, Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Doug Wilson, Marriage

What is a Husband’s Role in His Wife’s Spirituality?


What is a husband’s role in his wife’s spirituality?  Is he responsible for sanctifying her?


Husband, wife, sanctification, Biblical role, Christian Marriage


I need help with this one.  David Sons has an article that was posted at Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), Pursuing Your Wife (Part 3): The Goal of Dating is Not Marriage.  I like a lot of the article about a husband striving to pursue relational intimacy with his wife, but let me show you the tweet that made me click on the article’s link.



To me, that implies that a man is responsible for his wife’s faith.  That it is a husband’s “works” that will accomplish what she needs spiritually.  Am I misreading that?  Here’s some more from the article, but please read the whole article to be sure I’m not getting anything out of context.  It’s pretty short.

In Ephesians 5, Paul challenges husbands to a great pursuit, saying, “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

Paul exhorts husbands to model their love and service for their wives after the model of Jesus’ love and service for the church. When Jesus called the church to himself, he did so with the intention of presenting her holy and blameless to the Father.

He does this through calling the church to himself (pursuit), cleansing her from her sinfulness (justification), and making her holy through his Spirit and his Word (sanctification).

His pursuit of the church was for the purpose of creating a covenant relationship with her, so that she might one day perfectly display the splendor of God’s glory (Eph. 2:19-22). Jesus did not simply pursue us to have a relationship with us; he pursued us so that, through this relationship, God might be seen as glorious (Eph. 1:3-6), and that our joy might be made full Jn. 15:11).


My goal as a husband is now to work diligently for the sanctification of my wife.


So, for me, the issue isn’t that the husband works for the good of the marriage.  It is important for spouses to be working on their marriages, but I question specifically the “sanctification” aspect as the husband being responsible for his wife’s faith or her sanctification.   What are your thoughts?  What specifically is a husband’s role with regard to his wife’s faith and spirituality?  

I think this idea is important to discuss especially in light of what we have seen going on in Christian Patriarchy in teachings by Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, and so many others where many women are not free to live their own spiritual lives, because their spiritual lives are owned by their husbands, and essentially spiritually abused by them.


***Update:  After reading Cindy’s comment, I decided to see what John MacArthur says about sanctification:

True sanctification, according to Scripture, is the process of God’s transforming work in your life. In the moment of your salvation, you are declared justified by the Lord through the sacrifice of His Son and freed from the guilt of sin. From there, sanctification frees you from the pollution of sin, helping you destroy sinful patterns and relinquish your former wickedness.

And just as with salvation, sanctification is not accomplished by our will or actions—it’s the work of the Lord in the lives of His people. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul prayed that the Lord would complete His sanctifying work in their lives.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians5:23-24).

The word translated here as sanctify literally means to be set apart—in its noun form it is usually translated as holiness. So in basic terms, sanctification is the Lord’s process of separating us from sin and setting us apart for holiness. Paul’s prayer is that the Lord would bring about that transformation in the lives of the Thessalonian believers—that their lives would reflect a decreasing frequency of sin and an increasing frequency of holiness. (Source)


236 thoughts on “What is a Husband’s Role in His Wife’s Spirituality?”

  1. Peter,

    You had said: ”

    What Ali says is true, but further, the apostle Peter writes that we are to desire, as new born babes, the pure milk of the word. That’s the Father being mom.” My response: Oh, so now God has milk filled breasts?  You can’t figure out that Peter was being SPIRITUAL here?  That isn’t the Father being mom. Ed



  2. Peter,

    Further analysis of the MILK is dealing with the new babes, so to speak, not able to eat the meat. Meat is for mature Christians. Milk is for babies.

    How can you have any pudding if you can’t eat your meat? (Pink Floyd).



  3. Hebrews speaks of meat being for the mature, and milk only for babes, but Peter is writing to everyone who reads to desire the pure milk of the word as a newborn.

    Of course this only applies to newborns, and not to those who fancy themselves mature – one of many ways in which the Bible invites the proud to exclude themselves.

    Another such case is 1 Peter 3, in which proud men are invited to exclude themselves from its advice, although the example pointed to for that advice is a certain male, Jesus, and therefore applies to everyone except those who in their conceit exempt themselves from it because they aren’t women.


  4. Well, Peter, Go and Eat Jesus Body, and Drink His Blood, while you drink the milk. It is quite clear to me that it isn’t discussing milk at all, nor is it discussing that God is a mom, or female. That is a conjecture that you have concluded. Not me. Milk is for beginners.

    Also, it should be noted, and it is certain that the Catholics disagree with this, but Peter’s audience in both of his epistles are the Jews…not the Gentiles.



  5. We need not speculate on who Peter’s audience is. He tells us that it the strangers scattered in various places elect according to the Father’s foreknowledeg and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. There’s no suggestion that this audience is limited to Jews; Peter got that straight back in Acts 10.


  6. Those Strangers, Peter, are his Jewish brethren…and it was Paul that straightened out Peter, making it clear that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, while Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles.  Acts 10 was so that Peter KNEW that the Gentiles are included…not that his audience is to anyone, both Jew/Gentile, but to one class…Jew only.




  7. You have any evidence that this is only his Jewish brethren? Last I checked, people described in those first two verses are both Jews and non-Jews, the blood of the cross having made the two one. That Peter had the ministry to the circumcision is no evidence that Peter was writing only to Jews, just as Paul had the ministry to the gentiles but continued preaching early and often to Jews. See, for instance, Acts 28.

    This appears to be another instance of your bringing a predetermined doctrine to the Bible and jamming the Bible into it. I think that this way of handling the scriptures does not work out well, but I do not expect you to believe me.


  8. Yes, Peter, I have done my research.  I had this debate long ago with Catholics who tell people the when Peter said the word Babylon, that they say that he used that word “Babylon” as a code word for Rome.

    Using a Strong’s Concordance, you will see that the word “stranger” is based on someone in a foreign land. 

    The word Stranger

    1 Peter 1:1  3927 (a resident foreigner)Jews living in someone else’ country. 2 Peter 2:11 3941 (alien resident)Jews living in someone else’ country.

    Babylon actually existed in the days of Jesus, and did exist long after Jesus died.  It is in Assyria.  This is where the Babylonian Talmud was written, and that Talmud was completed in about the year 600 something, if I am not mistaken. is a Jewish Website, and that gives detail about this Babylon that the Catholics say didn’t exist because it was destroyed. 




  9. In addition, Peter, you will see once you read Peter’s epistles once again, noticing that he mentions Gentiles, showing that he isn’t talking to Gentiles.

    Both of his epistles give HUGE hints about that. 




  10. Odd hearing the champion of the “spiritual” talk about strangers being those who are Jews in the flesh living among the nations, when it is quite clear in many places that anyone who is bought by the blood of Jesus is a stranger in this world and a Jew in the faith. Note, for instance, Paul referring the non-Jewish believers in Rome to “our father Isaac,” and stating that they have been grafted in although they come from a wild olive tree. Hebrews 11:13-16 is pertinent, as is Paul’s writing that he is crucified to the world and the world to him. That’s being made a stranger in this place.

    If American Christoids knew that they were strangers here, instead of identifying with the American empire, they might believe what Jesus says and do it, thereby being actual Christians, instead of being on board with bombing, invasion, and even genocide – not to mention crucifying Jesus afresh through their approval of torture. Failing to know that we are strangers here has some very practical consequences. It really does determine whether or not God is ashamed to be called our God, as Hebrews 11:13-16 makes clear.

    Moreover, the references to gentiles in Peter’s letters are quite obviously people who are not disciples of Jesus, since disciples of Jesus would not be maligning the faith and otherwise demonstrating unbelief as the gentiles do in Peter’s references to them.

    To my mind, it’s likely enough that Peter went to Babylon, since he was sent to the circumcision, and Babylon and not Rome would be the place to go to fulfill such a ministry. I don’t see how it’s all that material regarding our issues here, but I do think you’re probably quite right about this.


  11. Peter,

    Peter is not discussing strangers as the way that you lay it out, spiritually.  He is “addressing” Jews in a foreign land, carnally.  Babylon, for example is not the land of the Jews, but Jews in a foreign land.  They are residents, but not citizens.  Peter was in Babylon, not Israel, not Rome.  He, himself, was also a stranger in a foreign land.

    Paul, on the other hand, was a citizen of Rome, hence God sent him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.  Paul would not address any Gentile in Rome as a Stranger.  Paul, being a Jew, was a resident citizen in Rome, not a resident alien.  Peter was NOT in Rome, he was in Babylon, among other places, addressing Jews who were aliens, aka, not citizens of the nation that they occupied.

    The book of Hebrews and Ephesians discusses us sojourning here on earth, as strangers, yes, but this isn’t discussing Peter addressing an audience in his Epistles, as a greeting.

    Your explanations just don’t cut the mustard.  I’d rather hear accurate history from Jews, than skewed history from Gentiles any day.  In other words, I don’t believe anything, and that means 100% of anything that Catholics say.  But, reformers love to believe in most of Catholicism, just not some of Catholicism.  Augustine influences both.  The Jews hold the Oracles of God.  Not the Gentiles.  Peter was never in Rome.  Peter is not the foundation of the Church.  He was in Babylon and that is not code word for Rome.

    And yes, Peter was only addressing Jews.  Not Gentiles.




  12. Sounds like you haven’t grasped that through the cross God abolished that carnal barrier, while making any disciple of Jesus a stranger in this world – as God himself is. Paul did write that this is a great mystery.

    I don’t know how any of this has to do with Catholics, reformed, or Augustine. We’re talking here about the text, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Anyone can be right or wrong about things, and I’ve never seen anyone wrong about everything all the time, as John 1 leads me to expect.


  13. Of course Peter wasn’t the foundation of the church. Jesus was clearly speaking of himself, as Paul confirmed in 1 Corinthians 1 about who the foundation is. Whether Peter was ever in Rome or not, I don’t know, and neither do you, but fortunately that doesn’t matter for our purpose.


  14. Peter,

    Acts 2:10
    Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

    This is an example of the word Stranger.

    Those were Jews and Gentile Converts to Judaism (proselytes) from all over the world in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Strangers of Rome (JEWISH alien residents of Rome). There was NOT ONE Gentile at Pentecost in Acts 2.

    This is NOT discussing your spiritualized stranger, but carnal stranger.



  15. Peter,

    You had said:
    “Sounds like you haven’t grasped that through the cross God abolished that carnal barrier, while making any disciple of Jesus a stranger in this world – as God himself is. Paul did write that this is a great mystery.”

    Peter is not discussing some great mystery.

    Jesus did NOT abolish the carnal barrier for those who are NOT IN CHRIST. That barrier is still there.

    IN CHRIST there is no Jew/Gentile…but outside of Christ, there is Jew/Gentile.

    Peter was ADDRESSING JEWS, not spiritualizing the word STRANGER. I stand by that.



  16. Peter,

    Yes, I do know that Peter was not in Rome. For many reasons. But one of the reasons is that Paul himself refused to go where Christ is already named. In other words, Paul is saying that he does not interfere with another Apostles territory. Therefore, he would not want Peter in his territory. Peter was never Pope. Not only that, Peter was a Jew, if I am not mistaken. Has there ever been another Jew as Pope? Never. The Catholic history shows much disdain for the Jews. So much so, that the last Pope wrote a book exonerating the Jews for murdering Jesus. Who gave him authority to do that? Didn’t Jesus already do that when he said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”? Or, when Jesus said “Father”, did he really mean Pope so and so in the distant future?



  17. I think we can make too much of Paul’s statement that he wanted to go only where Christ had not been named; for instance he followed up in Ephesus after Apollos had been there. But in any case, where Paul would not go would not tell us about where Peter would go. I don’t think he went to Rome, because I think his ministry to the circumcision would naturally lead him to Babylon, the principal center Of Jewish life and learning after Jerusalem. But I don’t want to overdrive my lights in these things.

    Maybe Roman Catholicism is more of an issue for you than it should be. Roman Catholics are like you and me: where they’re wrong they’re wrong, and where they’re right they’re right. And it’s even possible that I – and even you – are wrong about some things as well.


  18. Peter,

    Apollos was a disciple, not an Apostle. Not only that, Apollos had to get the record straight by Pricilla and Aquilla. Apollos only knew of the Baptism of John at that time, which is why he had to get more education on the matter.



  19. I think these are fair points. It seems likely, based on 1 Corinthians, that Apollos was an apostle, along with Paul and Cephas (Peter), but not yet in Ephesus.


  20. Well, I’m still not so sure that Apollos was ever an Apostle.

    According to the book of Acts, there was a requirement check list, so to speak. After Judas killed himself, “The Twelve” became “The Eleven”.

    Acts 1:17 “17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.”

    And, according to the book of Acts, there still needed to be “The Twelve” again. So, they had to vote on someone. And the way that they voted was to “roll the dice” so to speak, aka, cast lots.

    Acts 1:21-26 ”

    21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

    I’m not sure, but it looks to me like there were still only a total of twelve. And, again, look at the requirements.

    1. Verse 21, they had to be at least one of the disciples that ALWAYS “companied” with them. Remember, Jesus had more than 12 disciples…out of MANY he had only 12 Apostles. In the book of Luke, Jesus sent out 72 disciples.

    2. Must be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.

    Apollos did not qualify, based on Acts 1.




  21. We do have Paul, who was not of the 12. And then a couple more in Romans 16:7. And James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19).

    And then in the Revelation we find a church being commended for putting some supposed apostles to the test and finding them false, which should not be much of a challenge if you can dispose of the case by noting that they are not of the 12.

    Finally, Ephesians 4 says that apostles, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are supposed to continue with us until we reach maturity. Not that I see any, but I don’t see prophets either. Or going by 2 Timothy 4:1-5, no evangelists either. And as many here have learned upon their hides, not so many pastors or teachers, if only real ones count.

    Yes, indeed, we are not in such a good way these days.


  22. Peter,

    Very good point.  Or I should say, points (plural).  Makes me want to research this a bit more, in regards to what actually qualifies a person to be an apostle, especially since we know that we have self appointed apostles, rather than by casting lots.




  23. Hi there, one and all

    I’ve been fighting the good fight on a thread of Barb’s on a different forum and lost touch here. So sorry for breaking the flow.


    I was reading this article on the Comp. view of eternal roles in the New Creation.

    Click to access 11-1.pdf

    Ploughing through the preamble before I even got to the comp. perspective the Lord whispered 'minas'.

    YES!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 Get it?

    What is the reward for his faithful servants?…. Rulership!

    Over what?…..CITIES….. containing 'males' and 'females' or neither, whichever view you want to take.

    So if I have been a faithful female now, and if I am still 'female' in the New creation I will be ruling over 'MALES' !!!

    If THAT is God's design for then, it is ALSO his design for NOW.


    Eat that CBMW! 😛


  24. If it’s of any use, on that other thread, I’ve been chipping away at the foundational belief of there being a divinely established order for men to rule over women. I put together the following series of qyestions addressed to an unusual comp. Larry is what he calls a Hebraic Christian… not Messianic Jew… and sees ALL the OT scripture (apart from the ceremonial cleansing rites and sacrifices.. now fulfilled by Jesus) ..are all still in force. What a minefield of Patriarchy ! This is what I posted

    He has promised to reply and I’m still waiting.. so don’t know myself.. if it is a useful approach.

    May appreciate some help, though , in my responses

    By the way I have A. Amos Love to thank for the ‘no curse’ angle.


  25. Oh and another ‘waking thought’ that came this morning, was a picture to decribe the meaning of ‘help meet’. I should have inserted it into the post I sent to Larry, but will update the post now for you. Two jIgsaw pieces only become one if they are aligned side by side.

    Thank you



  26. Jesus said they’re all in force, however offensive that seemed to Marcion and his many disciples this day. But then again, Jesus learned his chops from those scriptures, so if you don’t see how they agree with Jesus in the gospels, either he understood them wrong or you do.

    I think I know which way to bet.


  27. That’s a splendid article, Peter!

    ‘God walks in the ruach, spirit, of the day’. Love it! What intimacy with the Father we have restored to us now!

    Never thought of the ‘desire’ to return being the driving force….. good insight.

    Great examples of Bible characters too.

    What you put together on the women keeping silent, follows well. Just wondering if you have ever considered that Paul was being sarcastic, actually quoting what contentious, ex-Jewish Corinthians were pushing for? The synagogues use the ‘traditions of men’ the Talmud… not Torah about women being silent. (The Apostle of GRACE, wouldn’t even be citing the Torah, even less the Talmud LAW to go against ALL his other exhortations for ALL to prophecy and that when they gather EACH one has a tongue… a revelation, a teaching. The two following verses starting with an exasperated ‘What?’, confirm the sarcasm, I think.

    Likewise the Timothy passage, does follow well, again. Lydia helped me with a different understanding that also follows well and you might find it on the thread on ‘Women in the Church’.

    Just some thoughts… I’ve had mine reshaped rapidly, these last few months meeting you lot! 😉


  28. I’ve recently been pottering around a thread on Linkedin started by Barb on the subject of women as pastors. 1300 comments(-ish) to date!

    On it, I wrote a hypothetical letter by an imaginary 21 year old to a complementarian about his appointment as a newly qualified teacher in a school which had a christian, single woman as Head. Needless to say there was no serious engagement with the contents or intelligible response to my request for advice.

    The gentleman to whom I wrote believes that, in the church (whatever that means) all men are the spiritual head of all women!

    I reproduce it here for interest / relevance to the topic:

    Dear Cal

    I am writing to you because I need your advice.

    As you know, I have just begun work as a teacher in a local school with a very high reputation. The Head, an outstanding woman, has held that post for the last 6 years and does so admirably. Inspection reports rate the school as outstanding.

    She is a Christian and brings her christian principles to everything she does. Her pastoral care of both the pupils and staff has created a Godly atmosphere in the school which would be the envy of any Head. It is a delight to work there.

    Being new to the job, I have sought her advice often. She leads me in the practicalities of the job, exhorts me to trust God as my source of strength and wisdom, prays for me, directs me and oversees this large part of my life. In fact, being new to the faith as well, I find her support and guidance in matters of the Kingdom invaluable.

    It is indeed through this lady, that I have come to the faith in the first place.

    I have begun to attend the church of which she is a part.

    The confusion I face is that some who seem to be of good standing in this church and much more experienced than myself are teaching me that because she is a woman, I am her spiritual head.

    Please tell me in what way this headship of mine should be practised.

    Should she be submitting to my advice? My instruction? In my present state that would seem rather nonsensical.

    What teachings is she disallowed from sharing with me?

    Should I now cease to receive pastoral advice and support from her at school?


    Confused Christian.


  29. Oops was copying in a post for Chris above but forgot to change the name… no matter .. We’re one, anyway!


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