All about Husbant

Husband is a male participant in a marriage. The rights and obligations of the husband regarding his spouse and others, and his status in the community and in law, vary between cultures and has varied over time. Four in five American men get married in their lifetime.

Origin and etymology

The term husband refers to Middle English huseband, from Old English hūsbōnda, from Old Norse hūsbōndi (hūs, "house" + bōndi, būandi, present participle of būa, "to dwell", so, etymologically, "a householder").

Related terms

At the conclusion of a valid wedding, the marrying parties acquire the status of married person and, while the marriage persists, a man is called a husband, whereas a woman would be called a wife. Each married party is the spouse of the person or persons to whom he or she became married.

Although "husband" seems to be a close term to groom, the latter is a male participant in a wedding ceremony, while a husband is a married man after the wedding, during his marriage. The term husband refers to the institutionalized role of the married male, while the term father refers to the male in context of his offspring, a state which may or may not indicate that a marriage ceremony has taken place.
Before the marriage, he or his family may have received a dowry, or have had to pay a bride price, or both were exchanged. The dowry not only supported the establishment of a household, but also served as a condition that if the husband committed grave offences upon his wife, the dowry had to be returned to the wife or her family; for the time of the marriage, they were made inalienable by the husband. When the husband dies, he might leave his wife (or wives), then widow (or widows), a dower (often a third or a half of his estate) to support her as dowager.
Husband further refers to the institutionalized form in relation to the spouse and offspring, unlike father, a term that puts a man into the context of his children. Also compare the similar husbandry, which in the 14th century referred to the care of the household, but today means the "control or judicious use of resources", conservation, and in agriculture, the cultivation of plants and animals, and the science about its profession.

Western culture

Historical status

In premodern times (ancient Roman, medieval, and early modern history), a husband was supposed to protect and support not only his wife and children, but servants and animals of his domain, and the father (as the "patron") was awarded with much authority, differing from that of his wife (in these cultures, no polygamy existed).
In the Middle Ages and Early Modern European history, it was unusual to marry out of love, but then doing so became an influential ideal.

Contemporary status

In contemporary Christian and secularized Western culture, the rights of the wife and husband have been made equal; although in regard to husbands leaving their families, the civil marriage generally forces husbands to provide alimony to their former spouses even after separation and also after a divorce (see also Law and divorce around the world). This law, however, also applies to women if she is wealthier than the spouse from whom she divorces.
The legal status of marriage allows the husband and his spouse to speak on each other's behalf when one is incapacitated (e.g., in a coma); a husband is also responsible for his wife's child(ren) in states where he is automatically assumed to be the biological father.


In Islamic marital jurisprudence, husbands are considered protectors of the household and their wives. As protector, the husband has various rights and obligations that he is expected to fulfill and thus is offered opportunities different to that of his wife or wives, not only in legal and economical affairs of the family but within the family as well. As in most cases in Islam law and culture, everything is being related to the Qur'an.
One particular example of this is the husband's duty in mending the ways of the wife in cases of rebellious behavior towards the Laws of God, verse 34 of an-Nisa says the husband should urge his wife to mend her ways, and if verbal requests for this are not complied with, then to refuse to share a bed as admonition, and if that does not work, then to strike her[Qur'an 4:34]. Islamic scholars of exegesis have noted that in accordance with the Hadeeth, it is not permissible to break the bone's of one's wife, or to strike her, (or indeed anyone else), in the face. It is also not permitted to strike one's wife with anything larger than a miswak, (the ancient Islamic toothbrush). "The Prophet (s) said: 'Do not beat your wife' and 'Do not strike your wife in the face.'" No similar provision for dealing with the rebellious behavior of the husband is provided for the wife (or wives).
On the other hand, many Muslims may also agree on a perfectly equal relationship. Islam is the only major religion that puts a cap on polygamy, limiting the number of a man's wives to four—provided the husband can do justice to all of them.


In traditional Hindu marriages, the husband is regarded as the manifestation of Lord Vishnu and his wife as the goddess Laxmi; his wife not only accepts him for her life, but also regards him as pati permeshwar (pati is husband and parmeshwar is supreme god). In modern times, however, the view of the husband as the soul is decreasing. A Hindu husband traditionally took his wife to his home, hardly ever to return to her family. As a result, he was expected to provide for her and to prove his abilities to do so. The marriage before modernity was a contract between families, similar to the Western (then: European) marriage.
In modern times, equal rights for women and a modern jurisdiction have offered marriage out of love and civil marriage, different from the traditional arranged marriages.

Buddhism and Chinese folk religions

China's family laws were changed by the Communist revolution; and in 1950, the People's Republic of China enacted a comprehensive marriage law including provisions giving the spouses equal rights with regard to ownership and management of marital property.

Other cultures

In Japan, before enactment of the Meiji Civil Code of 1898, all of the woman's property such as land or money passed to her husband except for personal clothing and a mirror stand.

Gender and the Role of Husband

Although husbands are typically male, some societies such as the Nandi of Africa have traditionally allowed a woman to become a husband in marriage to another woman. In this case, the woman who becomes the husband is ceremonially deemed to be male and treated as a male socially thereafter. In western societies, one spouse in female same-sex marriage may be called "the husband" but this labeling does not necessarily have implications regarding the socially acknowledged gender of the husband.

Expectation of fidelity

There is a widely held expectation, which has existed for most of recorded history and in most cultures, that a husband is expected not to have sexual relations with anyone other than his spouse(s). A breach of this expectation of fidelity is commonly referred to as adultery or extramarital sex. Historically, adultery has been considered to be a serious offense, sometimes a crime. Even if that is not so, it may still have legal consequences, particularly a divorce. Adultery may be a factor to consider in a property settlement, it may affect the status of children, the custody of children, etc. Moreover, adultery can result in social ostracism in some parts of the world.