Husband - The Head of the Home
The first thing we must accept is that men and women are different. Men have masculine qualities, and women have feminine qualities. The very physical makeup of a man is different from the cells in his body right down to the 23 chromosomes. Males and females differ physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally and relationally. God designed man first and determined that he needed a helper, so he created Eve. However, both were created in the image of God. “In the image of God created him, male and female” (Genesis 1:27). This makes them co-equal under God.
God clearly gave different roles to the husband and wife with a clear mandate to the husband. He is to “love his wife as Christ loved the church” (Eph 5:25), and he is to “love his wife as his own body” (Eph. 5:28). What higher goal is He to put before a husband? He is to show the same concern for her in every aspect such as: “nourish and cherish” her, protect her and have the same self-sacrificing love as Christ had for the church. When a man treats his wife like this, he will find a wife that will find it easy to respect him and submit to him as “unto the Lord”. He must understand that a woman is not a man’s property, but his partner.
In fact, this relationship determines the effectiveness of the man’s prayers and tremendously impacts his spiritual life “likewise, ye husbands, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (I Peter 3:7). This is not a reference to the spiritual or moral life, but to the physical make up of the body, which demands respect, honor and love if you are to be effective in serving the Lord.
Even in the Garden of Eden, God made it clear that the purpose of His creation was to multiply and replenish the earth. Reproduction has always been evidence of God’s plan of creation. In the very next verse, God gave a command that once and for all settles the perversion concerning the thinking of today’s society. He said, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). In spite of what modern man may say, there is no question that homosexuality is an evil perversion of the plan of our Creator. They cannot physically reproduce. Sodom and Gomorrah tried to violate this. God destroyed them as an example of His judgment for violation of His Divine plan. If you have questions about this, read Romans 1:26-27.
The meaning of the word “husband” is “house-band”. He is the one that is to bind the home together. If the band breaks, the home will fall apart. The very name infers that the husband is to be a leader, a protector and a provider with a lot of TLC – “Tender Loving Care”.
Sacrifice is demanded
Now we come to the duty of a husband to his wife, which can be summarized in one word - LOVE. “Husbands love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25). It’s not an option, but how can we measure the height and depth of that word? We often use the word to describe things such as: “I love my car,” “I love my dog,” or “I love to ride a horse.” However, when we speak of love in a marriage relationship, it moves the meaning of the word to a much higher level.
The Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). The full measure of that love is impossible to comprehend for any mortal man, but this must be the goal of every true husband because he is required to attain it! If a man really thinks this through, then all selfishness dies within him at the marriage altar. What does love include as it relates to the married life? In marriage, the wife becomes many things to her husband, but the most important thing that she becomes is his best friend. The following verse puts this love in perspective and gives us a clearer understanding of this love: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). Jesus set this example for us at the cross. We can do no less for our best friend, our wife. Now let’s see how that relates to marriage.
The wife can also find herself being pulled in a hundred different directions. None of these may be evil within themselves, however, God sets a priority on the home, and we must do the same. The husband is responsible to set guidelines and be the example of leadership in the home. It is not to be passed off to his wife. She is to follow and support his example, being guided together by true biblical principles.
The husband should be the leader in prayer at meals and in home devotions at night with his wife and children. He must be a student of the Word, applying biblical teachings and truths to the many situations that arise in the home. He should take his family to church, not send them. The home and the Church must work together in building a marriage in which Jesus Christ is the head.
Physical and Spiritual Leadership
There are men who may be great lovers but terrible leaders, and there are men who are great leaders but terrible lovers. The male ego often finds itself mentally exalted far beyond its true capacity. The key to this is balance. Both the husband and the wife must strive to achieve balance in their roles. Over commitment will put stress on the marriage relationship and tension in the home. The home is the priority, and balance is the key ingredient in investing our time. The husband may find himself consumed with business meetings, involvement in church activities several nights a week, or addicted to the sports world - the list can go on. Be sure there will be a thousand things to consume your time and take you away from your home. However, the Bible clearly teaches the order for prioritizing your family life.
1. To the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-19)
2. One to another in the fear of God (Eph. 5:21)
3. Wives to Husband (Eph. 5:22)
4. Husband to Christ (Eph. 5:25)
5. Children to Parents (Eph. 6:1)
6. Servants to Master (Eph. 6:5)
7. Masters to God in Heaven (Eph. 6:9)
The word “love” includes many responsibilities and has many implications. In the wedding vows, the husband assumes the burden of support, and no true man will seek to evade this obligation. The Bible has sharp words to say about men who take their responsibility lightly in this direction. It says, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house he has denied faith and is worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8). Normally, it is not the best thing when the wife goes out to earn part of the daily bread, especially when there are children in the home. Psychologists say that the greatest impact on a child’s life is made during the first six years. It can be the mother, or a baby sitter that will mold your child’s life. Who do you think is God’s choice? However, there may be circumstances, occasionally, where such a need may arise, but it should not be the norm. It is the husband’s responsibility to provide for the needs of the family and to do so, to the best of his ability, honoring his responsibility before God.
Many husbands make a mistake here. In their zeal to provide lavishly for their children and wife, they forget the Lord. They fail to take Him into partnership. They give nothing to God’s works and ministries, and they wonder why God does not bless them more abundantly. “It is He what giveth us power to get gain” (Deuteronomy 8:18). The true and wise man will not shower on his wife and children what rightly belongs to the Lord God of Hosts. II Corinthians 8-9 clearly gives us instruction that giving must be a part of the Christian home. The husband must provide the material necessities for the home, but God is the ultimate supplier of our needs. As you give unto Him, you can then claim this promise, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
When a man offers a woman his hand in marriage, he says by that act, of all the women on earth, he has chosen her. Oneness in marriage means two will become as one – what affects the one, affects the other. There must be tender loving care and understanding of this special person. As they live together as one, God gives this special command “ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered” (I Peter 3:7). Treating your wife wrongly quenches your prayers and impacts your whole life. When her physical beauty is diminishing, when her face is wrinkled, when her voice is no longer musical, when sickness has left its trace, he is to love her as truly and as deeply as ever. You are to give yourself for her “as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). This is a high standard, and to the Christian husband, it is a standard to be practiced until heaven welcomes one of them home.
Danger zones…The treatment and thought process about women must be guarded. The “lust of the flesh” is one of man’s strongest temptations, and the devil will use it to destroy your marriage. Don’t say it can’t happen to you. Read the history of David, Solomon and others. The husband must guard his heart and mind in these matters. A man must treat women with purity (I Timothy 5:2). He must avoid any thought of, or sexual activity, outside of marriage (Ephesians 5:3-4 and Hebrews 13:4).
Job made a “covenant with his eyes” (Job 31:1). He committed not to look (or think) upon another woman with evil intentions. To protect your marriage, you must protect your eyes. If you see it on television, change the channel. If you see it in a magazine, turn the page. If it appears on your computer, quickly delete it. Again, guard your eyes and mind, and you will guard your heart. You may think you can handle it, but you are wrong. God gives one answer – FLEE – “Flee youthful lusts” (II Timothy 2:22).
Much of the time, men are often careless about thoughtfulness. The problem is that you drop your guard, and fall into free and easy habits at home. In the shop, or on the street, you are exceedingly careful. You are polite and attentive. You are careful not to injure the feelings of a lady at your work place, but when you reach home, you give vent all of the problems and talk that has been suppressed all day. You can be cutting, short and blunt in your remarks. Questions are answered impatiently and rudely in an irritated tone of voice. You think that because a woman is your wife, she should know that you love her, even if we are rude to her. You think she should not mind anything you do or say, even if it is something that would greatly offend other women. However, you forget she has feelings, and she to, may have had a rough day.
Another great mistake made in the home is that you don’t put your greatest efforts forth in the matter of kindness and patience. There are men who do not say anything mean, or cutting in the home, but it must be confessed that they say few tender, loving things. Their speech is short, crisp and businesslike. The warmth of the lover and the newlywed husband has strangely disappeared. The promises to “love and cherish” have soon been forgotten. How shortsighted a policy this is! Spoken love needs to be cultivated as well as any other kind of love, and if it is not fed, it will die.
There are times when a man should be especially sensitive and thoughtful toward his wife. A child may have been sick all day or he may have distressed her by his disobedience; the household work has been upset and delayed, and the whole day has been full of unusually trying cares. She may be hurting and lonely, and if her husband has tenderness and will show it, then memories of the day will quickly wipe away. It takes so little thoughtfulness to erase the battles of the day and restore joy to the heart.
It is taken for granted that if a man feels a woman is worthy of being his wife, he looks upon her as being a mature, intelligent person. Yet after marriage, some men treat their wives like they are on the same mental level as the children. They never share with them about their business, or their battles of the day. Now a woman doesn’t know everything about business, but she can be a great counselor, sometimes seeing the bigger picture. The woman referred to in Proverbs 31 reveals that it is wise for a husband to seek his wife’s advice. She may not carry the details of it in her head as her husband does, but the fact is that a woman’s quick intuition will often leap to a correct point, while a man’s logic is slow in arriving. Then the very fact that she is more, or less, removed from the immediate problem involved will often make her judgment clearer and more accurate. It is a wise man who seeks his wife’s counsel in the matters of his business. Many men can thank their wife’s judgement for a large share of their fortune.
The head and the heart must be in sync. Heaven deliver us from the man who is a “nobody” at work and a petty tyrant in his home. He loves to stand on the hearth and be the dominating, tyrannical bully of the family circle, bawling out commands and threats to his wife and children like some wild animal. Of all the contemptible people, this man is the worst. This is a total violation of what God intended men to be to their wives. This type of person has no concept of what “Husbands, love your wives” means.
Surrender to Christ
May this thought be burned upon your heart. There are men who are tender toward their wives. They provide every needful thing for their comfort. They are thoughtful and big-hearted. They counsel with them and are kind toward them, but when it comes to spiritual matters, they draw back and take no part in worshipping with them. They shut themselves out of the deepest and most sacred part of a wife’s life. Alone she goes to church. Alone she sits at the Lord’s Supper. Alone she falls to her knees in prayer. Alone she bears the hopes, trials and aspirations of her soul. Alone she wants her husband, more than anyone in the world, to come to Jesus Christ and make him his Lord and Savior. He has no part with her in all of this. “And if a house is divided against itself that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25).
He denies the very vows he made at the marriage altar. God made us body, soul and spirit. To deny the spiritual part of this sacred relationship is to be blind to the most important part of this union. We could say to each wife that maybe in this situation that such a marriage is not a marriage as God intended it to be! Only His grace will see her through and she can claim the promise that her consistent testimony may be the result of his salvation. “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (I Peter 3:1 NASB).
If together you are not one in soul and spirit then this marriage is not the way God intended it to be. Such action on the part of a husband is utterly wrong and reprehensible, and God will bring him into judgement to answer for it. It is a great wrong to the Christian wife and family, and the consequence of his actions will be revealed at the Judgement seat.
Hearts are to be united in eternal fellowship. The years here on earth are but times of preparation for a union that will endure beyond the valley of the shadows of death and last through all eternity. We believe many tears will be shed in heaven over failed marriages that God wanted to bless but could not. He will wipe away all tears, but we will have memories of what might have been. We pray that God will help a husband who is not in this right relationship to think upon these things and to surrender his life to his wife and his children, but more importantly to Jesus Christ, making Him Lord of his life.
If things are not right and you want to settle them, you can do it right now. If a friend knocked on the door of your house, you would open it and invite him in. Jesus knocks at the door of your heart, but it is up to you to open the door and invite Him in. He will only enter at your invitation. He will cleanse your heart and make it a place where you and He can have fellowship every day of your life. He says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice (that’s you) and will open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).