Big boys are everywhere, but where are the men?
Where are the men who stand taller than passivity? Where are the men who are mighty in marriage?
There are such men. There are real men who have the strength to shoulder responsibility, the nobility to keep promises, and the character to carry leadership. Husbands of such greatness are men who “cleave” to their wives. With a commitment to “stick like glue,” these men CLEAVE:
Cover. The Scriptures teach that a man is to “cover” his wife. He covers her like a roof when he shelters her, and he covers her like an umbrella in the rain when he protects her. He covers her like a blanket on a cold night when he warms her with tenderness and comforts her with care. With his strength and his devotion, a husband “covers” his wife’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
We see this imagery in the Old Testament when Ruth says to Boaz, “Spread the corner of your covering over me” (Ruth 3:9, NLT). In this reference to Boaz’s cloak, Ruth is actually asking for the protective covering that a husband provides through marriage.
(God tells husbands specifically not to “cover” their wives with violence. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce . . . and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence” (Malachi 2:16, Amplified).
Lay down. Following the example of Christ Himself, a husband lays down his life for his covenant partner (Ephesians 5:25; 1 John 3:16). He lays down his singleness, his selfishness, and his self-focus.
Encourage radiance. The goal of a husband’s ministry to his wife is to encourage her radiance. Just as Christ works for the radiance of His Bride, so a godly man nurtures the emotional health and spiritual thriving of his wife.
Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way: When Christ speaks to His bride, His words “evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already ‘one’ in marriage.” (Ephesians 5:25-28, MSG)
Her radiance becomes his joy–it’s a win/win situation!
Always love. Husbands are called to love their wives with agape love, which is an unconditional commitment to give to another. The apostle Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them” (Colossians 3:19, Amplified).
Value. The Scriptures direct men to respect their wives as equals before God:
“[Y]ou husbands must give honor to your wives. … [Your wife] is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, NLT)
A successful man values the God-designed strengths and abilities of his wife, as well as her innate worth as an immortal spirit created in the image of God. “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22, NLT).
Enjoy! “Relish life with the spouse you love,” said wise King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:9, MSG). Any husband is wise, too, who determines to enjoy the unique gifting and beauty of his covenant partner.
The man who CLEAVEs is a mighty man, indeed! To CLEAVE is to move toward unusual greatness and remarkable success, for the calling of a godly husband is nothing less than to reveal the character of God Himself.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, KJV).