For those that don’t know, I have been widowed almost 5 years, since August 2004. Due to the nature of the relationship with my late husband and his chronic illness for 5 years before he passed, it feels like I have been without a husband for much longer than 5 years. While I do desire to be married again, I do understand the need for learning contentment in whatever state we find ourselves in. Honestly, that does become a challenge at times, especially lately as I have witnessed many unions around me. Nonetheless, I look to God as my source and know that my spiritual walk cannot suffer because of deferred hope.

Of course, I am not alone. I have heard many women who have either been in my position as a single mother or currently are single and have to go it alone, including parenting and bring up the reference of God as their husband, that He has to fill the void of the missing spouse. In fact, I remember prayers that were offered up on my behalf when my husband passed away, for God to be a husband to me. While I do understand the need to look to God for fulfillment, I do have a problem with this particular reference.

I believe marriage is a most special relationship, designed by God for a man and woman to share the most intimate of earthly relationships – emotionally, spiritually and physically. When God created man, he indicated that it is not good for man to be alone, so he created woman. Now, I do believe that that also has a broader application to humanity in general in that men and women are needed to balance out this thing we call life. But there is also an intimacy shared between husband and wife that I believe are unique to that marital relationship. Consider what Ephesians 5:31 says (cf Genesis 2:24-25), that a man leaves his folks, cleaves to his wife and two become one. This is a mystery, the text says, that is analogous to Christ and His church as stated in Ephesians 5:32. But I don’t think this supports in anyway drawing the analogy of God as husband. And let’s be honest, there are certain aspects of the marital relationship that God cannot fill.

Contrarily, there are characteristics about God and His relationship to His creation that are unique to Him. He is above all else and there is none like Him. He is holy, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, and depends on nothing or no one. Yet, He exercises communicable attributes with His creation: love, wrath, justice and has identified specific relational aspects towards us including,

God as Father

God as Provider

God as Protector

God as Healer

These are characteristics of God that I can look to Him and expect for Him to be. And this is applicable to those He considers His own whether they are married or single. While I can derive these benefits from earthly relationships, only God alone can be truly counted on and fulfill His role according to these attributes, purely and truly. I believe He does desire a particular intimacy with His children, made possible courtesy of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Through faith and trust in what Christ accomplished, we have direct access and can enjoy His presence of God via God the Holy Spirit. There is sheer delight in this communion. The Westminster Shorter Catechism sums it up aptly. What is the chief end of man? It is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And enjoy Him we should simply for who He is. But it is not a substitute for a husband. And particularly in His role as Father, I have a hard time drawing an equal role of husband.

But you might be thinking of particular passages that cites God as husband. Yes, the Bible does draw a comparison to God as husband but it is not in the context of a substitution for a marital relationship. Rather, it is always in the context of a covenant relationship between God and His people, namely Israel. This can be seen in Jeremiah 31:32 and also the book of Hosea, where Hosea’s unfaithful wife is likened to an adulterous Israel. The identification of God as husband is not used to show that God serves as a substitute spouse but to draw out the significance of covenant and the picture of what breaking that covenant looks like.

So to use these verses as justification for God as a substitute husband I think misses the point. I understand fully the lure to consider God as such, especially since our tendency is to look to earthly mates to fill internal voids that only God can fill. And let’s face it, there are some who might consider it spiritually immature to have such desires, that one should be so contented that they could possibly do without human companionship. No, God does not appreciate idolatry, something that our earthly relationships can quickly become as we place a higher value and affection on them than our heavenly ones. But I do believe such desires cannot be dismissed and swept under the God as husband rug. Furthermore, I think it is both unwise and Biblically infeasible to consider God husband as a substitute for a spouse. Each relationship has a special place and should not be confused with each other.

It is not easy being alone and desiring an earthly relationship, especially the most intimate form designed by God Himself. The waiting gets wary, the isolation can be numbing and the desires can be overwhelming. In these times, it is prudent and fruitful to place an increasing dependence and delight in God the Father, for who He, what He has done and what He has called us to be. I can call and count on God to be many things but I will reserve the title husband for an earthly one, should that request ever be fulfilled. Hopefully. God willing.

    78 replies to "God as My Husband?"

    • Joshua Allen

      @mbaker — Perhaps if Paul were around, we could challenge his knowledge of scripture and reprimand him for making such stark judgments about marriage and lust. I don’t want to presume or belabor the point, I was simply reporting exactly what he said.

    • Dave Z

      Joshua Allen – You are accurately reporting what Paul said, but his remark is not the only marriage reference in the Bible. Your comments however, sound as if you think it’s the only one that counts – like it trumps all others. Throughout this thread people have posted other references that qualify Paul’s statement, but you don’t seem to give those the same weight that you give to Paul. I’m wondering why.

    • Joshua Allen

      @Dave Z — You took the right approach, arguing that perhaps Paul changed his mind later, perhaps he was inconsistent, perhaps he didn’t see this point as being critical, perhaps he was proclaiming opinion rather than gospel, and so on.

      However, it is hard to have those discussions when people are arguing that Paul didn’t say what he said. For example, “When Paul said that single devotion to God is better than marriage, he meant they were the same”. Or, “When Paul said that widows are best not to get married, he was talking about himself, not about widows”, or “When Paul said that single devotion to God is due to a spiritual gift, he wanted people to feel guilty for not having it.”

      I would have much rather been discussing the larger merits of his point instead of responding with “Paul meant exactly what he said, when he said it.”, but it’s really poor hygiene to allow people to alter or “deconstruct” what others say.

      Honestly, I think we Christians have a tendency to look at the Bible as a complex legal guide and “How-To Manual” for our lives, so we find it hard to read a passage without mentally calculating what the implications are and trying to construct an exegesis that is suitable for us. But if you just look at this as a letter of fatherly advice from Paul, and imagine yourself as one of the members of the community receiving the letter, you can see yourself taking Paul’s words at face value. Paul meant exactly what he said.

      Imagine living in the Christian community at Corinth, and having someone tell you, “Paul is trying to make me feel guilty for being single!”, or “Paul really meant to say that married life is a blessed sacrament that is equal in worth to celibate devotion to God!”, or “Paul didn’t really mean to talk about widows!”. They didn’t have postmodernism back then, so such claims would never fly. Everyone in Corinth took Paul at face value.

    • Jason C

      Maybe it’s a different translation but I only see Paul saying that it is good not to marry, if found single, but if you don’t want to live like that then it’s no problem, just marry.

      He did say that marriage meant that the husband’s primary care would be for the wife, and that of the wife for her husband, but that (from the beginning) was what marriage was meant to be like.

    • Bridget

      Ok, so I am not able to quote scripture just yet, and fairly new in my beliefs. I have not been married, widowed, or divorced, but I am a single mother. In all honesty, I do wish to be married whole
      heartedly……. I wish, hope, and long for a marriage. I have been told several times that it might be what God has planned for me and that my singleness should be considered a Gift to serve him better. That statement is so hard to swallow, especially because there are so many things I do not understand. How can being single be such a gift, when I can’t stand it? I am just openly speaking on my current feeling. Maybe as my faith as a Christian grows, I will be able to understand it better. (I always had the belief in God and Jesus Christ, but never took it any further.)
      I just don’t understand the overwhelming desire to have a marriage and family, when it might not possibly be what God wants from me…?????? Then I was told that it might be my desire and not God’s. God is the only one that can answer that question. I do pray for His Will, and if his will is for me to be single, to please remove the desire in my heart. I feel that everything about me would benefit from a marriage. My daughter would benefit from a marriage. Any help or scriptures would be greatly appreciated. This blog is just an honest opinion. No harm intended and please no judgement. I am just learning and seeking.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hi Bridget, thank you for that very honest comment. You are not alone. I have definitely expressed those same sentiments concerning my desires the wish for them to be removed if that is not God’s will for me.

      I cannot emphasize enough the point of what I believe the passage in 1 Corinthians 7 is not saying. Paul is not saying that singleness is better than marriage, because singleness is the better position in God’s eyes. That would contradict a number of passages elsewhere in Scripture concerning God’s design for marriage. Rather, Paul is advocating for undistracted devotion to the Lord. The single person does not have a spouse to deal with, and thus can focus more on the Lord whereas the married person must be concerned with the needs of their spouse. BUT, he is also saying that not all have the gift of singleness, which I take to mean celibacy. Not all people can be content and undistracted single.

      One of the reasons that prompted me to write this post is the fact that so many confuse what Paul is saying, and in an effort to relieve the feelings that singleness spawns, use God as a surrogate spouse. I don’t think that is a good position to take, especially since it is not validated in Scripture.

      But what is validated is that God sees our hearts. He knows all there is to know about us, even the stuff we haven’t even figured out yet. Read Psalm 139. He is good and only has kind intentions towards His children, even though at times it seems that He either ignores our hearts and is overly engaged in the discipline process. I have certainly felt this way at times. Just be honest with Him, He knows anyway. Give him your cares and seek to learn about Him by reading His precious word. It is hard at times, I know. But He does see and He does care.

    • mbaker


      Thank you so much for your honesty. Like Lisa, I have been where you are now. I got so tired of the platitudes that were constantly thrown at me – like maybe it was God’s will for me to be single, or maybe I had committed unrepented sin, or didn’t have enough faith, yadda, yadda, yadda, when I knew darn well that it was simply not my nature to live alone, and my daughter so longed for a ‘normal’ family like everyone else’s.

      I am happily remarried now, and I pray the same for you, but I have never quite trusted Christians fully since my experience with them as a single parent. There were very few people in the church who didn’t consider me a crass sinner simply because of my divorced status. Thankfully, I am in a far different church now, the one I wish I could have had when my daughter could have used a kind word and emotional support from anyone, or even a few minutes of their time. They are really understanding folks to the single parents we have in our church family, and it has helped a lot to restore my own trust.

      I shall pray for you to find satisfaction in your desire to be in a Godly marriage.

      God bless, and please know there are others like you out here who do truly understand.

    • Bridget

      Lisa and MBaker,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for the encouragement. I do have hope and with all honesty I do believe that I will be married. I will wait patiently for the right one.
      It is so hard to know what is right, when so many fellow Christians voice their opinion instead of the word. It is so difficult to know who is right and who is wrong. I do read my Bible, and most frequently have difficulty interpreting it, but with prayer and persistance I know I will be able to get through this.

      Thanks again!

    • Joe

      The Bible says that God or a church it seems, is to be coming down from heaven, one day, like a bride or a groom. And many priests and nuns have referred to their relation to the church, as a “marriage.”

      This would be to be sure, a marriage between men, and a male God, in some cases; or men and a church of men; or men and women, marrying an institution.

      Which sounds OK

      But does this mean that the “Defense of Marriage” acts – which define a marriage as being strictly a man and a woman – are making part of the Bible illegal? Or wrong in spirit?

    • Sharon Johnson

      While I feel this is a helpful and informative blog, I think you are wrong when you say “there is also an intimacy shared between husband and wife that I believe are unique to that marital relationship.” I believe that we cannot have an intimate relationship with a man unless we have an intimate relationship with God. I just got out of a relationship because I am not there yet and I need time to work on that.

    • Lisa Robinson

      “I believe that we cannot have an intimate relationship with a man unless we have an intimate relationship with God.”

      I wholeheartedly agree and nothing I’ve written suggests that this should not be the case. Having a unique earthly relationship does not and should not preclude intimacy in our relationship with God. That is first, above all.

    • Donna

      Hi Lisa,

      I came across the following when I was in the throws of a really bad relationship coming to an end w/my earthly “husband”:

      “Isaiah 54:5-7 (King James Version)

      5For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

      6For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

      7For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”

      So therefore, I look to him as a Husband..One who loves me and will take care of me, provide for me and protect me..everything a husband is supposed to do for you. It really fit at the time, because my earthly “husband” was rejecting me for other women. Yes, I, too, still have those carnal, fleshly lusts for that type of physical intimacy than an earthly husband can fulfill, but I know that it is a lust of the flesh and that if we walk in the Spirit, we won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. To seek out a man to marry just to fulfill that yearning is to make a provision for the lust of the flesh which is the wrong motivation for marriage and God cannot bless that…as I found out the hard way!

      More inspiration comes from:
      “Galations 5: 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

      17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

      18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

      19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, …”

      I stopped here to point out that the TOP two works of the flesh are Adultery and fornication…both, although they could be also be considered spiritual sins, are most commonly thought of as sexual sins. The physical body has to be put in its place! We are made, as is pointed out in 1Thesselonians 5:23, as Spirit, Soul, and THEN Body!

      So, I leave you with this blessing as my prayer:
      “1 Thessalonians 5:23 -Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    • Lisa Robinson

      Donna, I emphasize with your situation. I hope that you have not taken any of what I’ve written to construe that the draw of an earthly relationship is sex or to fulfill lustly passions. If you examine Ephesians 5, Paul likens the relationship of husband and wife to Christ and the church. It is the highest form of intimate earthly relationship as identified by the two becoming one. That is not simply regulated to the physical, but to the totality of the relationship – emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. I think that’s why its also the most challenged of earthly relationships for that reason.

      Also, when the term husband is used in relation to who God is to his people, it is in the context of covenant infractions and also promises (such as the passage you posted). He never identifies with being a surrogate spouse to individuals but promises to be a protector and provider to Israel, as a covenant people.

      Yes, dependency on God is crucial and we do need to be content in whatever state we find ourselves. If you read carefully what I’ve written in paragraphs 4 and 5, you’ll see that fulfillment in our heavenly relationship cannot be replaced by an earthly relationship and God ultimately fulfills where others can’t. We must look to him to do so. But that does not make him a substitute for a spouse.

    • kate

      thanks for this. I’ve heard “God as you’re husband” before, whilst I could see what they meant, I’ve never really taken to the idea but couldn’t put my finger on what it was that irked me.

      It’s limiting God I guess: not taking into account the fullness and omniscience of him.

      Thank you

    • david

      I think that god is are father not husbent or wife EXEXtra. you can not say god is your husbent thats not right. therse somting rong there in your mind.

    • Pua

      I realize this is an old posting; but the subject is very dear to me. I find the opinions and interpretations interesting. But all of them are ultimately flawed by human ego. As will be the case with what follows; however, here it is.

      The ideal union is a spiritual union. Whether or not a human is paired with another human is immaterial. The individual’s God-First Perspective is the goal. If, as in my case, that perspective is provided focus by acknowledging God as the leader of my life/better half/spouse (feel free to use any terminology you desire), then I am a covered human who will seek that guidance in maintaining or establishing all relationships. Isn’t that really the point?

    • […] We compensate by implanting surrogate spousal relationships, such as I have written in God as My Husband? post.  We compensate by making our children fill roles they were not designed to fill.  We […]

    • Lynn

      I, as a young woman married to a very withdrawn husband, was told this very thing by a much older, very dedicated Christian lady. I tried doing it, but God made a very lousy husband.

      Years later, I’m still married to the same guy, and things have improved considerably.

      Looking back on that, I can now see that what I needed and wanted was a real husband, and no nice little spiritually-sounding idea was gonna fix that. So when people say dumb stuff like that to you, I think you should say, “No, thanks.”

    • Danielle

      Isaiah 54:5

    • kelly

      I want to be single cause im afraid to get married and be too dependent on my husband cause i might resent him

    • Teresa

      I know this was written some time ago but it answered a prayer for me. I have been single for 6 years. I am divorced, due to a horrific crime my ex-husband committed, No chance for reconciliation. I desire to be married again, i love being a wife and mom. Anyhow I have just started dating again and just haven’t made that connection, the one possibility, (still friends) my son actually said “Mommy, I have been prayin about this daddy thing for years now, Is that the best Jesus can do is G…” He clearly saw some things that i had turned a blind eye to. I loved this post because I am so tired of people telling me to let God be my husband. I finally looked at one well meaning friend and told her, I do not want God to be my husband, I want him to be my God. She was horrified, but my reasons were precisely what you listed above, as charachteristics of God in relation to his creation. Blessed to have stumbled onto ya’lls site

    • Debra Smith

      Well said. I am single at 31 (and not happy about that fact!) and have always been extremely uncomfortable with the “God as my husband” talk that is frequently thrown around in churches (and frequently directly at me!). I haven’t put the necessary time into exegeting the pertinent passages to be able to give a reasonable reason why, but it has always seemed to me to be a distortion of what Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., are getting at when they call God His people’s husband. It is SO incredibly simple/obvious that it’s almost embarrassing to admit, but something clicked for me when you used the word “covenant” (in the context of God’s covenantal relationship with His people) — that is what He is getting at, I firmly believe, when those passages are viewed in context. Other aspects of marriage, such as intimacy, knownness, submission/authority, etc., certainly enter into the picture when we look to the NT references, but nowhere does the Bible itself seem to espouse the idea that God as Husband is a substitute for an earthly husband — though Paul’s endorsement of celibacy in 1 Cor. 7 would have been a perfect chance for him to advance that idea if it were so! Thanks for clarifying these matters in my mind and having the nerve to speak up on a sensitive issue that can make one look faith-less — which is how I, at least, often feel that married people view me as when I squirm at their “God is your husband” talk.

    • Kathryn

      Im still single at 38 . I do not want to be single ! I Cor 7 without question has been used to spiritually abuse me . Some wanted me to think that Paul’s opinions are not actually his but that God inspired them – baloney !

      People , heck even a Christian radio host forced I cor 7 on me and used this as the basis for ” God calling me to be single to serve him instead ” – no other passages really

      Why are too many hellbent on trying to convince me that Gods called me to be single ? The problem I have with that is that is their speculative guess on why I’m still single .

      God hasn’t called me – people suggested it : huge difference !!!!

      Just because one is still single at any age – quit assuming one has been called to be single due to being single .

      To me Thats the devils discouragement !

      Telling a single who wants to marry that’s it’s not Gods will can put a riff between God and the person – isnt that satans goal ?

    • Kathryn

      Lets put it this way . I am and will never be Jesus ‘ wife !!!
      he’s not my husband
      That talk has made me resent Jesus !

      He’s my lord and savior but he is in no way my husband nor am I his wife
      I feel like an idiot for having to clarify this but there are some misguided people who say Jesus is my spouse – no he’s not !

    • Kathryn

      Ok intimacy with God is what exactly ? Sorry that just sounds wrong and impossible

    • cyan

      It has been some weeks now since the Dr Eziza bring back my husband back. Our reunion happened ‘suddenly.’ There is no secret what Dr Eziza can do! I thank you again for the the spell that were cast for us as well to bring back my him via:[email protected] or +2348058176289

    • Saleiha

      I am glad I found this blog because I actually thought this verse might be a comforting one in Isaiah 54:4,5. I know it refers to God-Israel relationship but I do find that a relationship with God is more intamate than my own relationship with my husband. I also do truly believe that although God does not replace a lost companion he can heal wounds of our loss and has the power to make us free of all depression. His love can be felt if we draw near to Him and it is stronger than any other form of love expressed. Therefor we can be complete in him in whatever circumstance because His love is more powerful than what we go through and His joy is our strength not because we are strong or when we are strong but it is in our weakness and fragile nature that He shows his power and love. May you heal and discover the depths of Gods love..delight in the Lord any he will give you the desires of your heart.

    • Saleiha

      I am glad I found this blog because I actually thought this verse might be a comforting one in Isaiah 54:4,5. I know it refers to God-Israel relationship but I do find that a relationship with God is more intamate than my own relationship with my husband. I also do truly believe that although God does not replace a lost companion he can heal wounds of our loss and has the power to make us free of all depression. His love can be felt if we draw near to Him and it is stronger than any other form of love expressed. Therefor we can be complete in him in whatever circumstance because His love is more powerful than what we go through and His joy is our strength not because we are strong or when we are strong but it is in our weakness and fragile nature that He shows his power and love. May you heal and discover the depths of Gods love..always..delight in the Lord any he will give you the desires of your heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.