Chapter 8 – Representing God to Our Spouse

How a Husband Represents God to His Wife

Ephesians 5:25-27 says:


“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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.”


This passage suggests that husbands, in part, are responsible for their wives’ spiritual growth. We will be accountable for their condition when we stand before the Judgment Seat. The more we experience how Christ relates to us, the more we will be able to mirror Him to our wives. Consider some of the Lord’s attributes and how they apply to marriage:


He Initiates

1 John 4:10 says that God first loved us and gave Himself up for us. God is the Initiator; our love is in response to His love. This is a picture of how husbands and wives relate. A man initiates intimacy and romance. A woman’s love is awakened when she is loved and pursued first.


His Motives Are Trustworthy

We don’t need to resent being subject to Christ’s headship because we can trust His motives. He is selfless. Everything He does is for our sake, not His. Likewise, when a wife knows her husband is more concerned with her dreams, goals, and well-being than his own, it is much easier to follow his lead.


He Listens

Prayer is our most vital connection with the Lord. It is where we experience His attentive presence and compassion. It is where we discover that He hears us and cares about what we are going through. He listens to our requests and He is truly affected by them.


Likewise, when a husband listens attentively to His wife and really cares about what she feels, this is the life of their marriage. It is what enables her to flourish.


Both spouses at times need to share their burdens and ask for support. However, it is common for wives to need this with greater frequency than men. This is not inappropriate. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman…”


Because Christ covers the husband directly, he is more responsible to work through some of his challenges privately, between him and the Lord, when it is appropriate. Sometimes it is wise to shield his wife from some of what he is carrying if sharing every detail would not be helpful or productive.


However, because the husband covers the wife, he is responsible to provide a safe place for her to honestly process through what she is feeling. He acts as “a container” for her emotions so she is more able to manage them – just as Christ does when we bring our burdens before Him.


He Speaks

When the Lord speaks, His words are affirming, encouraging, and wise. They give life. He doesn’t shame us or harshly condemns us. He helps us see ourselves or our situation from a perspective of hope. When a husband speaks this way to his wife, it washes her from the negative messages of the world. It breaks down her fear and returns her focus to the goodness and faithfulness of God.


He Entrusts Responsibility

The Lord entrusts us with responsibility. Imagine leading a family, or a business, or a ministry. How does Christ relate to us in that position of leadership? He doesn’t expect perfection. He doesn’t shame us for making mistakes or cancel our calling if we stumble. Nor does He try to control everything. He lets us truly take ownership. He gives us space and freedom to try different approaches. He is as involved as we want Him to be. He waits to be asked for help. When we seek His help, He is patient, encouraging, and helpful. He lets us know that He believes in us.


A wife needs this same kind of treatment from her husband as she runs her home or manages other responsibilities in her life. She needs to believe she can be successful and not live in fear of making a mistake or being a disappointment. She needs to know her husband believes in her and supports her.


He Intercedes and Protects

Romans 8:34 says that Jesus intercedes for us. Many other passages, particularly in Psalms and Proverbs, say that He stands watch over us and protects us from spiritual attack. He is constantly intervening on our behalf when we are completely unaware. Husbands have a similar role. No one’s prayers on earth carry more authority in a life of a woman than her husband’s. He is her covering. His prayers really do make a difference. Real, actual grace from heaven is released and real, actual powers of hell are rebuked when a husband decides to pray for his wife. Husbands have no idea how much she needs this.


How a Wife Represents God to Her Husband

If a husband represents Christ to his wife, how does a wife represent God to her husband? When God was about to create Eve, He called her Adam’s helper. This same word for Helper (ezer) is used to describe God as our Helper in several passages such as Psalm 70:5 and Psalm 121:2.


The role of a helper is such an important aspect of God’s nature that it is a primary title given to a member of the Trinity. Jesus repeatedly called the Holy Spirit “Helper” in John 14-16 (NASB translation). The etymology of the Greek word used for the Holy Spirit in this passage means called to one’s side, just as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side. The Holy Spirit may provide the best model for how wives relate to their husbands.


Sometimes God relates to us as a Master – He gives specific commands and expects immediate obedience (ex. Luke 17:10). However, when God relates to us as a Helper, it is different. A Helper is the opposite of an initiator. A Helper does not tell us what decision to make. Instead, He gives counsel. He makes suggestions and offers support. He doesn’t step out in front to lead; He comes alongside and encourages. 


This is an incredible aspect of God’s nature. God is infinitely wise so He could easily tell us exactly what to do in every situation. But instead He comes in humility and offers assistance. When we dig our heels in and ignore the Holy Spirit’s help (as we all have) He does not become resentful. He may be grieved, but He accepts our decision and does not abandon us. He stays with us and works to bring about redemption. He still tries to guide us into as much blessing as possible on the lesser, harder path we chose. God’s ability to not hold a grudge over a bad decision, but continue helping us in humility, is truly amazing.


My wife Jenny has modeled to me many times. She knew deep in her heart that some choices I made were not right. She communicated it clearly and respectfully and I wouldn’t listen. Even though it affected her deeply, and even though I did not recognize I had done anything wrong for a long time, she did not become bitter. She continued to support me and encourage me.


When the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts, He is gentle and reasonable, not pushy or demanding. Have you noticed that? Even when He rebukes us or convicts us, we can feel that He loves us and wants what’s best for us. Many times when my wife has spoken to me about things I didn’t want to hear, I had that same feeling. I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through her.


The helper ministry may be the most beautiful, gentle, and humble way that God relates to people. And the Bible designates this aspect of God’s nature for wives to emulate as the most effective way to bless and guide their husbands.




What happens when a married couple must make a major decision together? How should they make it? What biblical principles apply? We’ll discuss this in the next chapter.