July 13, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

What Is The Role Of A Husband In A Modern Relationship?

13 min read

In the earlier days, the role of a husband was solely of a provider, while the wife’s role was solely of a nurturer. However, family structures underwent a phenomenal transformation changing millennials’ perceptions of families. In many modern households, there aren’t any defined roles for husbands and wives; they take up responsibilities according to requirements and convenience.

Jacqueline Olds, associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, says here, “There is too much pressure, from my point of view, on what a romantic partner should be. They should be your best friend, they should be your lover, they should be your closest relative, they should be your work partner, they should be the co-parent, your athletic partner. There’s just so much pressure on the role of spouse that of course everybody isn’t able to quite live up to it.”

In this article, we explore the roles that a husband plays in a relationship in recent times, even though the age-old expectations from both spouses haven’t shown considerable change.

What Is The Role Of A Husband In A Marriage?

Ideally, a husband shouldn’t be the sole breadwinner for the family and should share responsibilities with his wife equally. Though society believes that there are things a husband should do on his own, or not do at all, there are still some changes that gender equality and awakening of men have brought about.

Marriage is both the partners’ responsibility, after all. Over the years, ‘who should do what’ list has changed. Let’s discuss the duties of a husband toward a wife, whether brought about by societal changes or dictated by societal norms.

Related Reading: Are You A Good House Husband?

1. The role of financial support in a marriage is still largely fulfilled by a man

Earning for the family is considered a husband’s primary responsibility; he has been a provider for the longest time. However, that isn’t just a husband’s role in many marriages now because women share the burden too — Equally or partially, or in rare cases, they are the prime breadwinners.

As women share their financial responsibility toward the family, men can explore their hobbies, focus on their well-being, and appreciate their partner for allowing them the space. Such a shared role plays an important role in ensuring an understanding relationship and happier marriages.

  • There are households where a husband provides for the daily needs while the wife pays for the vacations and other recreations
  • With more women joining the workforce, husbands can relax and pursue their chosen professions instead of adopting them as obligations.
  • Earning for the ‘entire’ family is not a compulsion for the husbands in new-age marriages. As the couple shares financial responsibilities, both get to explore their individualities and can balance their marriage and mental health well

2. A man should do his part of the household chores

Household chores were typically identified as a woman’s job. This gender stereotyping of household chores is (very) slowly being overcome by the millennials. Associating any task with a specific gender gravely undermines an individual; in the long-term, it can even create unwanted exchanges between couples. Hence the changed role of a husband:

  • Many husbands happily work with their wives in the kitchen and prepare meals regularly
  • In some households, the husband and wife take turns to cook meals so that both can find enough time and energy for their work and themselves
  • A husband may do the laundry or clean the entire household while the wife takes care of the meals and vice-versa
  • Men can get the children ready for school or pick and drop them off every day
Taking part in household chores is the key to a happy wife

The word ‘husband’ should no longer be associated with someone who doesn’t know how to take care of basic domestic tasks. He should be treated like a grown adult, not someone who’s dependent on his wife.

Since time unknown, male members take on the authoritative roles while ladies of the house attend to the nurturing responsibilities. It has been a traditional practice even before ‘civilized’ society came into being. Here are three predominant traditional responsibilities of a husband.

3. Emotional well-being of his wife is a man’s duty

Ensuring the wife’s emotional health is one of the primary responsibilities of a husband. Many men love to make sure that their spouse is doing well in the marriage and like to make behavioral improvements on the way too. Of course, the same is expected of the wife as well. Here’s how a man can support his wife in a marriage emotionally:

  • A husband should check in on his wife’s overall health and mood, how her day has been, if she ate well today, etc.
  • Ask about her job and if she needs to vent about her boss
  • Tell her she’s doing enough and remind her of her achievements at work and in personal life
  • Make sure she gets enough me-time with herself or her friends
  • When she’s upset, she might avoid talking. Give her space when she needs it. But make sure she knows you’re a ‘hey’ away
  • Being a loving husband might require you to go the extra mile and love unconditionally, but your relationship is worth it. Ensuring the emotional well-being of the wife is a wholesome role of a husband and a wife loves being taken care of like that.

Related Reading: 15 Critical Boundaries In Marriage Experts Swear By

4. A husband’s role is to ensure the continuation of pleasure and intimacy

Carnal pleasure is a crucial factor for a marriage to last longer. Marriage is an equal partnership, but since we are discussing the husband’s role in a marriage, here’s how he can ensure enough spark between him and his partner.

  • Physical intimacy in a marriage may take a backseat with time. So, allocate time to work on your marriage, and try unique ideas to reignite the passion
  • Appreciate how she looks whenever you can
  • Set out for an unplanned vacation, a surprise meal, unexpected dirty talks during working hours, sex games, and sensuous presents
  • If you’re a long-distance couple, talk about your own bodies on video calls, initiate a fun, sexy time, or anything that appeals to your and your spouse’s wild hearts!

5. Parenting is one of the biggest role of a man after marriage

Contemporary marriages don’t have any defined roles because the couples share their responsibilities. Parenting is not an exception. A study says that when it comes to what’s best for kids, 77% of Americans think both parents should be equally focused on work and home. Great news, isn’t it? Going through different stages of parenting is a joint venture; and that must be on the husband duties list too.

  • Take turns to wake up at night to feed the baby or change their diapers and clothes
  • You can tutor kids while their mom is away or attend their friends’ birthday parties, accompany them to their extracurricular classes, etc.
  • Be a doting father and let them you know love them every day without fail

Making his children feel loved, and not leaving this beautiful duty to the wife, is the role of a husband too. Doing these things might not make you the best father, but it shows that you are putting in your best efforts, will get you closer to your child, make you a loving father, and create a happy family! What wife doesn’t want that?

Related Reading: Love After Marriage – 9 Ways It Is Different From Love Before Marriage

Traditional Responsibilities Of A Husband

Since time unknown, male members take on the authoritative roles while ladies of the house attend to the nurturing responsibilities. It has been a traditional practice even before ‘civilized’ society came into being. Here are three predominant traditional responsibilities of a husband.  

1. Being the breadwinner is the most traditional role of a husband

Cavemen hunted for food to feed their families. Some people haven’t escaped that mindset yet. They want men to earn for their family, take full financial responsibilities till death, and ensure their physical well-being. That has been the role of a husband traditionally, and even up till a few years ago.

Infographic on role of a husband in modern reltionships
Evolving roles of men in the family

2. Leadership is enforced upon a man traditionally

Almas Sabir, a researcher, stated that a leader is someone who “knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” The role of a husband is to guide his wife and rest of the family using his knowledge, experience, and expertise.

  • To be a better husband, a man must play the crucial role of a good leader in his community and family. The woman must be able to look up to him
  • He teaches valuable life lessons to his wife and children, educates them, builds their foundation, and makes his children learn the best practices for becoming better individuals
  • In traditional marriages, he is the religious head as well. He imparts knowledge to his children and others about God’s word for the human race; and about what Jesus Christ loved and did for us. He keeps his wife and children steadfast in their path to love God

3. The Bible says that a husband’s role is of a protector

A husband protects from danger, possible threats, evil influences, and all other subtle elements that may interfere with the peace and stability of a husband-wife relationship.

  • Leman, in his study, mentions that husbands protect their wives and families from “evil/worldly influences in the home”
  • Danger refers to physical threats, external brain-washing of the family members, draining of the family resources, and other similar threats
  • These can also be provocations by external elements, misguiding forces, people trying to allure the wife, children, or other family members for some vested agenda
  • A husband also protects his wife’s private matters. He guards his wife’s dignity and her privacy

Related Reading: 8 Arranged Marriage Facts That You Didn’t Know About

How To Be A Good Husband In Modern Relationships?

Good husbands know their wives inside out. They know how their wife feels about an unfolding incident before they even talk about it. He loves to know her likes and dislikes. Such a man wants his wife to have an equal say in all matters. Though it is easy to get distracted by other women, a good husband chooses loyalty over everything else. Two things to remember:

  • The way a man talks about his wife speaks volumes about his sense of honor
  • A good husband is aware of his own needs and his wife’s, so remember to take care of yourself too

Let’s talk about what you can do to be a good husband in a healthy marriage.

1. Listen to her actively

It is one of the most underrated ingredients of a happy marriage. All a husband needs to do is listen to his wife. Shae, a dentist from Florida, shares with us jokingly, “The difference between God and wife is that you want God to listen to you, whereas your wife wants you to listen to her.” Your wife might not always need a solution, so listen to her compassionately and without judgment. It’s simply a matter of giving her attention and making her feel special.

  • Sit with her if you find her upset
  • Give her a nice hug. Touch can do wonders – Heal, break a long silence, express love, compassion, and concern
  • Hold her hand while she speaks
  • Get her a cup of coffee or tea
Married Romance

2. To be a good husband, respond to your woman empathetically

How you treat her speaks a lot about her importance in your life. Not that she expects you to treat her like a queen every time, but responding to her worries and endlessly cute conversations creates a sense of closeness and improves communication in the relationship.

  • If something is bothering her, then expressing concern may bring much-needed comfort to her
  • Responding to her with curiosity means you are with her through it all. She wouldn’t feel alone and her feelings are validated too
  • When you take an interest in what she says, whether it’s gossip or observations on a TV series, it implies that you respect her feelings, views, and opinions

Related Reading: What Is A Codependent Marriage? Signs, Causes, And Ways To Fix

3. Be your passionate best and keep the fire burning

You might be a husband, but never let the boyfriend in you die. The secret to a happy and successful marriage lies in being playful and your passionate best. Let your actions speak louder than your words.

  • To make your wife happy, surprise her with your moves, in bed or on the dance floor
  • Take her out on sudden dates and unplanned outings
  • Create an ambiance for exclusive intimacy
  • Make her wildest dreams come true!

4. Things a husband should do: Deal with conflicts respectfully

You know you are the person whom she looks up to; don’t forget this even during arguments. Conflicts are a part of the relationship, but you can prevent them from turning ugly.

  • Think and act rationally when such marital conflicts occur. Respond, don’t react
  • Keep your calm and practice self-control no matter how the situation turns out
  • Remember the good times when you are going through a rough phase
  • Check before you speak in anger; you cannot take back words

Your partner will eventually respect you more for keeping calm even when you could have reacted badly. These basic gestures sustain a marriage. More importantly, when you love your wife unconditionally, this stuff will come naturally to you.

Related Reading: 7 Expert Tips To Resolve Conflict In A Marriage

5. Look forward to spending quality time with her

The role of a husband in marriage is often to ensure that his wife is happy and feels connected to you. Here’s how:

  • She wants your time because as you spend more time with each other, you get to know one another well
  • Revisit memories that you created with each other, talk, and open your hearts out
  • Learn something together

You mean the world to your spouse. So when you spend quality time with her, that means a lot to her. Whether it’s visiting the Church on Sundays or attending an online atheist group with her, experience life with your woman.

duties of husband towards wife
Spend quality time with your family for a happy marriage

6. Avoid holding things back

Often, we resist opening up to our partners and hold onto our ego. However, that’s not a very healthy practice. Whether you are a biblical husband or an atheist, respect your commitment to this marriage and your wife.

Not being vulnerable with her is denying her access to your inner self. As you discuss your thoughts with your wife and other family members, your kids will also learn the same from you. They will respect you for being brave and for being yourself. So, open up about the tiny things, whether sad or happy.

7. Support your wife’s independence

As per Harvard Business Review, a survey found that “more than half the men expected their careers to take precedence over their wives’ careers, while most women expected egalitarian marriages. (Almost no women expected their own careers to come first.) Millennial men are often portrayed as more enlightened, but data complicates this picture: Surveys have shown that younger men may be even less committed to equality than their elders.”

This is in contrast to the study that says that “71% of American respondents say that having a job or career they enjoy is extremely or very important for people to live a fulfilling life.” It’s almost like we know how fulfilling a career is but we just don’t want a woman to have one.

  • A modern husband cuts through the conventional ideas of career-building and supports his wife’s dreams as an independent woman
  • He also loves it when she goes out to meet her friends and encourages her me-time
  • He trusts her completely and is able to speak up when he feels jealous or insecure about her earnings or her social circle, without making it her problem

Related Reading: 13 Wonderful Benefits Of Marriage For A Man

8. What should a man do as a husband? Embrace your feminine side

At times, manhood overpowers the human side, but that might not be what your wife wants. Explore your softer side and let your wife experience that too. Here’s a quick tip: Try to be her bestie with whom she can discuss the latest fashion trends, gossip, mood swings, period cramps, and the latest feminist book she’s reading. Make her comfortable enough to talk about her own body, what her heart desires, and pamper her with home-cooked delicious meals. It will only make her respect you more.
Marriage with mutual respect, love for each other, loyalty, peace, and an adorable family; what more could you want?

Key Pointers

  • A traditional husband is expected to be a leader, a breadwinner, and a protector
  • Modern husbands have more flexibility and less pressure to be the provider, and can choose their professions out of interest and not obligation
  • The roles of new-age married men are to be caring and vulnerable with their wives, do their part of the household chores, be an equal parent, and be supportive to their wife in every way

We ask our reader who’s a pastor in Pasadena: What should a man do as a husband? Father Ralph says, “Christ might have created the world, but you are responsible for creating your happy family. Only a weaker vessel fears challenges; certainly, you aren’t one. A good husband is a wife’s home; she comes to her safest den and thanks the Lord or the Holy Spirit for his kindness in getting you both married to each other. Know that Christ loves you and you play an important role in your family, a crucial one. The Lord has blessed you with a spouse; how you treat her and play your role of a husband often decides how the marriage turns out to be.”

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