Your Wife Needs a Bath!

“My wife and I have been married for five years and she still hasn’t learned how to treat me with respect and honor that the Bible requires a wife to show to her husband.”

When I hear statements such as this one, where a husband is complaining about some longstanding character deficiency in his wife, my usual response is to ask the husband to consider his leadership. “How is it that you’ve been married to this woman for so long and she still hasn’t changed? What exactly have you done to help her with her problems?”1

So writes Lou Priolo in his book The Complete Husband in chapter six, “Honey, You Need a Bath.” Priolo continues.

R.C. Sproul approaches this problem in much the same way:

After marriage, the biggest single influence on the development of the wife’s personality and character is the husband. When a man comes to me and complains that his wife has changed since they got married, I immediately respond, “Who do you supposed changed her?” In a sense, the wife a man has is the wife he has produced. If he has a monster, maybe he ought to examine his own nature.

In the Ephesians passage, it is clear that the husband is called to be the priest of his home. The man is responsible for the spiritual well-being of his wife. Her sanctification is his responsibility. There is probably no male task that has been more neglected than this one…

In seeking the sanctification of the church, there is a sense in which Christ seeks to change his wife. So the husband is called to change his wife. The change is to be toward a higher conformity to the image of Christ. We should seek to present our wives to Christ as holy and blameless, without spot or wrinkle!2

Of course, Priolo and Sproul are referencing Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify 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” (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV).

My wife and I used this chapter as part of a devotion last week. My wife really enjoyed hear those words and teased me with them. I was so convicted that I went over the material with some men I am discipling. What a wonderful yet convicting (to say the least) discussion to have among Christian husbands.

A necessary, but oft neglected discussion I believe.

I next suggested that everyone follow this test – Husbands Test Your Wives! Then, follow-up the test by writing their own letter from – A Great Letter for Christian Husbands to Write Their Wives!

For the Kingdom…


  1. Lou Priolo, The Complete Husband: a Practical Guide to Biblical Husbanding (Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2007), 155.
  2. Ibid., 155-56
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tagged as , , in Christianity,Church Issues,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Truth Unites... and Divides March 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm


I’ve been to marriage classes/retreats/seminars where the presenter teaches things like “You can’t change your mate. Nor are you supposed to. Nor should you. You should work on changing yourself and your response/reactions to who your spouse is. If they change, they change. But you need to focus on changing yourself.”

This article seems to disagree with the more popular teaching above.

2 Mark March 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Hey TUaD, maybe the answer to your question is both/and. We can’t change our mates along the lines of forcing them to change. I would say though that two people who truly love each other are affected personally by how the other acts. Now, throw God into the equation when He begins to work through His word with the husband as the vehicle, then the spouse will be changed.

Plus, Scripture says husbands will sanctify their wives through the washing of the word. Changes take place in sanctification so the spouse is changed.


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