A Series of Bible Lessons for the Family
God's Role for the Husband & Wife
If we are
to enjoy God’s blessings in our homes, we have to know what the Bible says
about God’s purpose for husbands and wives. In order to experience
matrimonial happiness, we have to live according to his plan.
The Lord says in Jeremiah 6: 16: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ’We will not walk in it.’
One of the most important Bible verses concerning the family is from Ephesians 5: 22-33: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her………. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
In this passage we find that the husband and the wife each have their own roles:..
The Husband's Role
A husband’s first role is to love his wife in a way that resembles the love of Christ for the church, with an “Agape love” that is sacrificial and unconditional. In other words,
~ He has to accept his partner as she is.
~ Forgive and forget the past.
~ Continue to give even when the other person stops giving.
~ Adjust oneself to the other’s uncomfortable shortcomings
This kind of love is balanced and builds up the other person and does not ruins him\her, encourages him \ her in turn to be a source of love for others – in an unselfish manner. This is the real image of love
A husband is to lead his wife not because he is better than her, but because this is God’s purpose and role for him.
How should he lead?
~ He should lead in humility just like Jesus who though being teacher and Lord led with humbleness. (John 13:4-5 “…got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a [servant's] towel, He fastened it around His waist. Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the [servant's] towel with which He was girded.”)
~ He is to be like the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.
~ His leadership to his spouse has to be built on the foundation of realizing her equality to him.
~ His has the responsibility of being a priest for his family in the sight of God (to teach his family and intercede for it).
The Wife's Role
1) A Completing Helper:
In Genesis 2:18: “Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
Here the woman is a ‘helper’ of man who completes and thus satisfies his needs. She is also totally ’equal’ to him.
~ It is an inner attitude of the heart to submit to authority (which is in its’ essence from God).
~ It is also a positive attitude whereby the wife gives her opinion and discusses freely with her husband in a humble spirit having as an ideal the church’s submission to Christ out of love and true conviction of mind and not as a result of an annulled personality.
~ It is a wife’s beauty.(1 Peter 3:3 Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be…the unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit which is very precious in the sight of God.).
~ It is a trait that is capable of winning souls for Christ. (1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives).
This love is also unconditional. Titus 2:4 “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands…”
She should speak well of him to others as well as respect him in her heart.
Some husbands fail to carry out their roles:
- Selfish husbands who think only of their own happiness and of gratifying their own needs regardless of their wives’ happiness will definitely fail in their roles as husbands.
- Husbands who gives conditional love (tit for tat). When the wife for any reason - be it fatigue, illness, or due to different points of view - stops giving, he stops giving too.
- Some husbands, due to low self-esteem, over indulge their wives so as to win them over. A practical example would be a husband who carries out all the house chores, which are part of the woman’s role, when there is no reason to prevent her from performing them. Another example would be a husband who complies with all his wife’s whims without discussion (whether these whims are within his range of ability or in compliance with the family’s social and financial status or not). Such a kind of love does not build up the family but rather causes an imbalance in the marital relationship.
- An autocrat husband who annuls his wife’s personality perhaps due to low self- esteem, or narrow mindedness, or a wrong understanding of how leadership is. Such a husband will lose the privilege of his partner’s wise advice on many subjects.
- Some husbands run away from their responsibilities and leave the wife with the leadership (by doing so, they refuse to carry out God’s role for them as husbands). Such a person is not positive, unreliable and incapable of handling the responsibility of making decisions (considering of course that it is better for the husband to leave certain decisions for the wife to make especially those related to the areas of her responsibilities such as those pertaining to the house and the choice of clothes which in this case would not be an irresponsible attitude from him but rather a division of duties).
Failure of the wife to carry out her role:
- She may not be carrying out her role as a helper but may be rather hindering her husband’s advancement. This may be due to her ignorance of her role, or stubbornness, or the absence of sacrificial love in her life perhaps because she chooses to live according to the ideas of our world, which enhance selfishness and promote a false idea that happiness is in taking and not in giving.
- She may be submitting to her husband out of a sense of oppression, and that in a negative sense whereby she doesn’t discuss issues with her husband perhaps because she doesn’t have enough courage to do so, or because she wants to avoid problems or again perhaps she is the kind of person who fears being accountability for things.
- There is the wife, on the other hand, who is rebellious against her husband’s leadership, wants to be independent to be able to achieve her own goals at any cost.
- She could be despising her husband (like Michal the daughter of Saul) not out loud but perhaps she has this attitude in her heart which will only make her lose God’s blessings in her life.
I therefore plead with every wife and husband who seek matrimonial happiness to follow the model God has put and to live out his words. Wait on the Lord who alone can support and repay you. Obey His words in faith and not simply because ‘you have to’ trusting that your perseverance is not futile.