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  • Grace B-P Contributor

An Open Letter to Husbands on Mother’s Day

By David W. Jones

Photo by Angela Roma :

All Christians have a duty to honor our mothers, as well as our fathers. This is a foundational biblical teaching enshrined in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:12) and reiterated in the New Testament (Eph. 6:1–3). Yet, in this brief letter I want to specifically remind my fellow husbands of their duty to love and to honor their wives, many of whom are mothers or mothers-to-be.

Cleansing with the Word

In Ephesians 5:25 Paul urges Christian husbands to love their wives in the same way as Christ loves the church. Jesus’s love for the church was completely selfless, even costing him his very life (see Rom. 5:8). Indeed, Christ’s example of unconditional love sets the bar high for husbands.

In Ephesians 5:26–27, in imitation of Jesus, Paul exhorts husbands to cleanse their wives “with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26). To understand this process, we must look back at Jesus’s promise to the church on the evening before his crucifixion. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus instructed his disciples about the arrival of the Holy Spirit. In (John 16:13) The truth that Jesus references here is not extra-biblical revelation, for in this same context, Christ prayed to the Father, “Sanctify [my followers] in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore, what Jesus was teaching here is that a primary function of the Holy Spirit is to apply the word of God to his followers.

Honor and Pray Continually

The apostle Peter, who was married (see 1 Cor. 9:5), only gave husbands one specific directive regarding their wives. (1 Pet. 3:7) At first glance, it seems that Peter may be encouraging husbands to show understanding and honor to their wives in order to prevent God from ignoring their prayers. While this is a possible understanding, it is curious interpretation.

I would suggest a better interpretation of Peter’s teaching in 1 Peter 3:7. Here Peter is assuming that husbands will pray for their wives. After all, husbands and wives know each other intimately, and believing spouses are heirs together of the grace of life. In light of the assumption that husbands will regularly pray for their wives, Peter then exhorts husbands to understand and to honor their wives so that the experience of the marriage relationship for both spouses will not undermine or discredit the very things about which husbands are praying for their wives.


Adapted from an article entitled, An Open Letter to Husbands on Mother’s Day, from Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

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