A captivating photo featuring a husband and wife standing side by side, engrossed in a collaborative task, symbolizing the unity, support, and shared responsibilities emphasized in the Bible regarding spouses working together.

What Does The Bible Say About Husband And Wife Working Together?

Marriage is a sacred union ordained by God, and the Bible provides important guidelines for how husbands and wives should relate to one another. This includes how they work together to build a God-honoring marriage and home life.

In today’s world where both husbands and wives often have careers and work outside of the home, an important question arises: what does the Bible say about husbands and wives working together?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible encourages unity, mutual submission, and loving leadership between husbands and wives. It provides principles for how couples can work together while upholding God-given roles and responsibilities.

In this article, we will explore several key biblical principles regarding how husbands and wives should work together within a marriage.

Husbands and Wives Should Be United as One Flesh

Genesis 2:24

Genesis 2:24 states that a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This verse emphasizes the sacred union between husband and wife, joined together by God to be one unit.

When two individuals come together in marriage, they are bonded spiritually, emotionally, and physically in a unique and intimate way. This unity allows them to serve God and each other more fully as helpmates.

Ephesians 5:31

In Ephesians 5:31, Paul references Genesis 2:24, reiterating that in marriage two people become one flesh. He explains that the one flesh union between husband and wife parallels Christ’s relationship with the church.

Just as Christ sacrificially loves the church, husbands should love their wives in a selfless, nurturing way. And as the church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands. By fulfilling these complementary roles and responsibilities, unity and harmony thrive in a marriage.

Mark 10:6-9

When questioned about divorce in Mark 10:6-9, Jesus responds by affirming God’s original plan for marriage as described in Genesis 2:24. He makes it clear that from the very beginning, God intended one man and one woman to be joined in matrimony for life.

“What God has joined together, let man not separate,” Jesus states in verse 9. This indicates that the marriage covenant is sacred and not to be broken by human hands. Husbands and wives are bound together and called to faithfully fulfill their marital duties to one another with God’s help.

Wives Should Submit to Their Husbands

Ephesians 5:22-24

The passage Ephesians 5:22-24 says that wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord. This means that wives should follow and respect their husbands’ leadership out of reverence for Christ. Just as the church submits to Christ, so too wives should submit to their husbands in marriage.

This does not mean that women are inferior or less valuable, but that God has given husbands and wives complementary roles in marriage for our good. A wife’s willing submission shows trust in her husband’s leadership, just as the church’s submission to Christ demonstrates trust in His loving care.

Colossians 3:18

Colossians 3:18 echoes this principle, saying: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Wives are called to submit to their husbands in ways that honor the Lord, recognizing that marriage is designed by God.

Some key implications of this passage are:

  • Wives are not being asked to follow their husbands blindly or enable harmful behaviors. Submission is contextualized “as is fitting in the Lord.”
  • Marriage is not hierarchical but relational. Submission happens out of care and respect, with Christ as the model and standard.

1 Peter 3:1

1 Peter 3:1 also discusses submission in marriage: “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands.” This reiterates the call for wives to submit to their husbands not out of obligation, but freely and out of reverence for God.

The passage goes on to encourage wives to win over their unbelieving husbands through their respectful and pure conduct rather than nagging or preaching. This demonstrates that a wife’s submission should be loving and not fearful.

Husbands Should Love Their Wives as Christ Loved the Church

Ephesians 5:25-30

The book of Ephesians provides critical instruction for husbands on how to love their wives. Specifically, Ephesians 5:25-30 calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This sets an extraordinarily high standard for a husband’s love. How did Christ love the church?

He willingly sacrificed himself for her, washed her with His word, and works to present her as holy and blameless before God. In the same way, husbands should be willing to sacrifice themselves for their wives, seeking their growth in godliness through washing them in the truth of Scripture.

This type of selfless, serving, sanctifying love reflects how Christ loved the church.

Loving one’s wife like this is not easy. It requires dying to oneself daily, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things and enduring all things for her sake (1 Cor. 13:7). It means seeking her greater joy rather than one’s own immediate gratification.

But this special love also serves the husband. By pouring himself out for his wife, he mysteriously receives back love and fulfillment himself. As Christ was satisfied by His labor of love for the church, so husbands find satisfaction in loving their wives like Christ.

Colossians 3:19

Colossians 3:19 succinctly commands: “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” Husbands must be careful not to cross the line into bitterness, anger or harsh words with their wives. This can happen when husbands become frustrated if their expectations are not met.

But remembering Christ’s patient, gentle care of His bride the church can help husbands respond with kindness. The godly husband lifts up, never tears down his wife. He gives grace, not guilt. His words refresh rather than crush his wife’s spirit.

Firm leadership can be exercised with gentleness, not harshness.

This verse also implies that a husband’s love actually makes it easier for his wife to submit to his leadership. The renouncing of harshness and the offering of love prepares the soil of her heart to bloom under his direction.

Husbands would do well to reflect on whether their leadership feels harsh or hurtful to their wives. If so, they must cultivate love and care until their leadership feels life-giving to their brides.

1 Peter 3:7

First Peter 3:7 gives essential instructions to husbands: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” There is much to unpack here.

First, living with wives “in an understanding way” calls husbands to be considerate, respectful and sensitive to the needs of their wives. Husbands must work to understand their wives’ feelings, needs, desires and life situations in order to love them well day to day.

They cannot expect to love their wives well if they do not take the time and effort to understand them.

Second, husbands are called to “show honor” to their wives as the “weaker vessel.” Though different in roles, women are not inferior to men. They are fellow heirs of God’s grace and deserve special honor. This means esteeming wives highly, speaking well of them, and demonstrating care for their needs.

Husbands who honor their wives will build them up, not tear them down.

Finally, this verse teaches husbands that how they treat their wives affects their relationship with God. If they do not live in understanding love and honor toward their wives, their prayers will be hindered.

Husbands cannot claim to love God while mistreating or neglecting the wives He has given them to lead and nourish. The care of their marriage directly impacts their communion with God.

May God grant Christian husbands the grace to lead their marriages as Christ leads the church – with sacrificial love, nourishing care, purity, and an ever-growing, other-centered bond, to the glory of God.

Husbands and Wives Should Serve One Another

Galatians 5:13

The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” This verse makes it clear that as Christians, we should not just live for ourselves and our own desires.

Instead, we should use our freedom to serve others around us through acts of love and humility. This principle applies directly to the relationship between a husband and wife.

According to a 2019 study by Focus on the Family, couples who have an “others first” mentality and serve one another report much higher marital satisfaction. When both spouses approach the marriage with the goal of putting their partner’s needs ahead of their own, it alleviates conflict, promotes intimacy, and leads to a stronger union overall.

What an amazing blueprint that God has laid out for all Christian marriages!

Ephesians 5:21

Paul expands on this concept of mutual submission and service in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This verse comes right before Paul’s instructions to wives and husbands about their respective roles and responsibilities.

By first stating that they should “submit to one another,” Paul makes it clear that service in marriage goes both ways.

A Godly marriage requires sacrifice, selflessness, and a service-focused attitude from both the husband and the wife. Whether it’s the wife joyfully supporting her husband’s leadership or the husband laying down his life to care tenderly for his wife, mutual submission is key.

When both spouses live by this standard, following Christ’s model of servant leadership, it leads to blessings and fulfillment for the couple.

1 Peter 4:10

Peter also emphasizes selfless service as the responsibility of every believer when he writes in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Of course, this exhortation applies to married couples as much as any Christian.

According to the Institute for Family Studies, regular church attendance and shared faith activities make couples more likely to collaborate and compromise. So by leaning on their spiritual gifts and serving each other through their unique abilities and passions, husbands and wives exemplify true Christian partnership.

Whether it’s the wife’s gift of hospitality and homemaking or the husband’s gift of provision and protection, when used to honor God and serve one another, these gifts strengthen the marriage relationship exponentially.

Husbands and Wives Should Be Equal Heirs of God’s Graces

1 Peter 3:7

In 1 Peter 3:7, the apostle Peter instructs husbands to treat their wives with honor and understanding. He emphasizes that women are “co-heirs of the grace of life.” This means that husbands and wives have equal access to God’s blessings and spiritual gifts.

Peter makes it clear that a wife is not subordinate to her husband when it comes to her standing before God. She is an equal recipient of God’s grace and favor. A husband must not treat his wife as inferior or with disrespect. Rather, he must cherish her and recognize her equal value in Christ.

Galatians 3:28-29

The apostle Paul echoes Peter’s teaching in his letter to the Galatians. He writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28-29).

Again, Scripture makes clear that gender does not determine a person’s status before God. Men and women alike are recipients of the promises of salvation and eternal blessing through faith in Christ. Distinctions that divided people in the ancient world, like gender, race, and social status, do not impact a believer’s standing as a child of God.

Paul is adamant that husbands and wives are joint heirs of God’s covenant with Abraham. They have equal access to the blessings and gifts that were promised to all of Abraham’s spiritual descendants through faith.

So both Peter and Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, establish an important biblical principle – marriage is an equal partnership between co-heirs of divine grace. Husbands and wives stand on level ground when it comes to their spiritual position and blessings in Christ.


In summary, the Bible provides important principles for how husbands and wives should relationally work together within a marriage. Key themes include unity, mutual submission, loving leadership from the husband, and recognizing equal status before God.

As spouses seek to apply these biblical truths, God will bless their efforts to build a marriage and home aligned with His design. When husbands and wives walk in obedience to God’s Word, they can work together effectively for His glory.

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