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  • Writer's pictureTy Montgomery

The Cost of the “High-Value” Man to the Christian Home

two wedding rings sitting on a green tropical leaf

Last year, I wrote about the danger of feminism in Christian marriage. I caught a lot of heat for that post but it was never intended to stand alone. Today, I want to get into the other side of the equation and take a look at the husband’s responsibility to respect his wife and even further, to die for his wife. I don’t mean literal death, but when I look to Scripture I see a serious and clear ask of husbands to do more than love, serve, or simply respect their wives. Husbands are called by God to give their all, just as Christ gave His all for the church. 

Both of my posts on marriage are intended to address ideas that are wedging themselves between men and women of God. That space is where love and respect aren’t shared, and where sacrificial relationship isn’t endured. It’s easy for the world to catapult us into self-protective spirals that keep us in isolation and out of sanctification. But today, I want to address what a husband’s role of submission looks like in a Christian marriage.

It’s easy for the world to catapult us into self-protective spirals that keep us in isolation and out of sanctification.

There’s a term being used on social media called the “high-value” man, but I’ve found the way the world defines that is completely off. A “high-value” man without a focus on kingdom principles comes at a cost to the Christian home. In the same way feminism should not make a wife’s husband her enemy, being a “high-value” man should not make your wife a second-class citizen or your slave. So, I’d like to redefine “high-value man”, into the Kingdom “high-value” man, which is a husband that honors Christ's commands and example for his role toward his bride.

The Bible says husband and wife are equals and co-heirs (1 Peter 3:7). This idea is counter-cultural in every way, especially in a world where “high-value” men are defined by, but not limited to, how much money they make, taking whatever they please, gloating over women, and living for recognition from the world. 

A Kingdom “high-value” man honors Christ's commands and example for his role toward his bride.

Then, we have to look at the classic wedding verse: Ephesians 5:21-33 where Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus about how marriage should work. Yet, nowhere in this passage do we see a call for husbands to demand respect. In fact, everyone’s job is their own responsibility, not to be forced by the other party. This makes me think of men I’ve seen in the culture–and even around me at times–who like to flaunt their authority and responsibility instead of seeing it for what it is: a God-given honor to lead and be a co-heir with a woman of God. 

As a husband, it’s my job to live with the mindset of Christ: to serve, not to be served.

“..just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

This passage is in-your-face. Where the world says it’s best to live self-seeking and controlling over our relationships, Kingdom men are called to model Christ in leading the way through service and freedom. Scripture is not a tool for us to use to demand our rank, but a guide for us to see who our example is.

When I look at the example of Jesus, I see two things: 1. Jesus shows that marriage is an example of his love for the Church and He went so far as to die for His bride to bring her into true relationship with Him (Eph. 5:23), and 2. Jesus calls us to not just die to ourselves, but to live in His example (Eph. 5:25). John 13 shows Jesus kneeling to wash the disciples’ feet. God came to earth and willingly took the posture of a servant. It makes no sense; it confuses the disciples, but it’s this level of service that we can look to as our example. It’s astounding, it’s clear, and it’s selfless. 

Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Still, a lot of men have told me that the notion of submission in Ephesians isn’t the same original word for men and women, and to that, I want to point to a military example. In the military, someone has to lead; there is order, but there is mutual respect. 

Dr. Thomas L. Constable’s Bible commentary says this, “The Greek term for submission has military origins, emphasizing being under the authority of another. The word does not connote a forced submission; instead it is a voluntary submission to a proper authority…. Equality of worth is not identity of role.” There is a beautiful joint submission that Paul is nodding to that isn’t for the sake of any man but “out of obedience to Christ.” 

So, what would it look like for the head of the household to “submit” to his wife out of reverence for Christ? Is it acting as an example of submission to his wife? Is it a service? Is it respect? Is it sacrificially loving his wife? Is it willing to be last knowing that God has called you to be first? Is it a willingness to serve and not demand to be served?

The call of the husband is to come and die, and that leaves very little room for a posture of withholding, retaliation, or control. The moment I don’t get what I think I deserve from my wife, and because of that, I decide to stop serving my wife, is the moment I’ve stepped outside of my submission to Christ. I need to be willing to go farther than my wife, not to receive something back but to make my wife clean. Scripture (Ephesians 5) tells us to wash our wives with the Word and to love our wives like Jesus loved us and washed us with his blood. The way we lead is not by force or demeaning language. We lead by following God. We lead by reading Scripture with our wives. We lead by following the example of Jesus, by killing our flesh daily, and by serving our marriage as a priority.

We can ask ourselves what kind of “high-value” man we are by considering this contrast: the Kingdom man, unlike the “high-value” man, is secure in his identity in Christ and does not see his authority in marriage as his identity as a MAN. There may be a man reading this thinking, “But what about respect? The Bible tells my wife to respect me and submit to me. I can’t lead someone who doesn’t want to follow.” To that I say, Jesus gave up His life for you. Imagine our Lord and Savior pointing the finger back at us, telling the Father, “But what about what they should be doing?” Thanks be to Christ. He is the ultimate example. While we were still sinners,  He actually said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” This post isn’t about what our wives should be doing; this post is about what HUSBANDS should be doing. 

Finally, I don’t want to miss a heart issue for men when it comes to this topic. Men must stop believing we don’t need love. We must reject the idea that respect is all we need to live and thrive in a healthy marriage. Sometimes we spend so much time demanding respect that we convince ourselves we don’t need love just to thrive in our marriage, but love and respect go hand in hand and we need to receive and give both. Our main commandment from God is to love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself–we need it.

God designed your wife to love you. When you reject her love, you rob your wife of what she has to offer, at times making it hard to respect you. When we reject the opportunity to share love, we rob ourselves of the connection and intimacy that comes from it. God has commanded us to live with understanding and patience for our wives because it’s this mindset that will slow down, take the time to get to know our wives, and therefore, value them for who they are. 

We need to be asking questions like:

Who is my wife when she’s joyful?Who is my wife when she’s healthy?

Who is my wife when she’s patient?

Our wives are unique, and it’s our job to nurture trust so we can genuinely lead them to places of growth. It’s this act of service that makes a way for both love and respect to flow.

At the end of the day, I can’t understand how hard it is for my wife to submit to me if I’m not submitting myself to God and continuously practicing service. Loosen your grip, trust God, and stop thinking you must fight your wife for control. Trusting God means trusting Him to order your marriage. Confidently fill your role and pray that she can step confidently into hers. 

All in all…

The Kingdom man is so confident in his God-given authority; he doesn’t need to lord it over his wife.

The Kingdom man can lead and love his wife and accept the love she brings to their relationship.

The Kingdom man accepts and understands the power that love has because of how Christ loves him.

And lastly, the Kingdom man doesn’t come to be served, but to serve.

Philippians 4:8 makes it clear: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Honorable. Just. Pure. Pleasing. Commendable. And worthy of praise.

That’s the husband I want to be. Let’s walk this out together. 

Live love,


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