The Role of the Husband
Barefoot. In the kitchen. Pregnant. This was the stereotypical idea of what a submissive wife was to be. Outside of Biblical understanding, it is said that the Bible promotes a male-dominated world where women have little say in anything. A lack of understanding of God’s design might lead one to believe that women are less than the man and have less importance. In fact, for centuries, this was the mindset which caused women to be valued as second-class, but that was never God’s design. Listen to the words of Paul as he teaches on marriage:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV)
To fully understand this command given to husbands, Paul teaches the role of the husband from the perspective of Christ as the Husband to the Church, His bride. The husband’s role in the marriage is to love his wife. I can hear men everywhere saying, “Well, that’s easy. I do love her.” But there is a caveat. Men are commanded to love their wives in a particular way-the same way that Christ loved the church. So…how did Christ love the church?
First, He humbled Himself as a servant to His bride.
Wives, grab your husband before he runs out of the room!!! The first step of loving your wife is to take on the form of her servant. But Christ did not become the servant of the Church, but lived His life serving the needs of His Bride. In other words, Christ did not become a slave to the desires and passions of the Church. Jesus never let the Church tell Him what to do.
A great example of this was Peter. When Jesus told the disciples that He was going to be crucified, Peter rebuked Jesus (Matthew 16:22). Jesus’ rebuke was in the direction of Peter, but it was addressed to Satan at work within Peter (Matthew 16:23). This is why Jesus did not do what was commanded of Him by the Church. We don’t always know what is good for us. How many times have you prayed for something you wanted, but God denied you because He knew it would not have benefited your life?
Jesus was the Lord who took on the form of a servant (John 13:13). Jesus served His Bride, the Church, by using all of His energy and time doing what was best for her.
As mere men, husbands do not always know what is best for their wife, but God has called them to take on this perspective in the marriage. Men fail at this when they are prideful and live life more for what they want than what their wives need. And they fail when they live to keep their wife happy even if that means doing something that is not good for her. A woman may really want a new car and her husband knows it will make her happy, but if this new car is going to cause financial stress and hardship, the husband should not be so inclined to get it for her. It is not that He doesn’t want to get it for her because Jesus always wanted to give His bride good gifts. Jesus is a romantic at heart and that brings us to the next thing. Jesus cleansed His Bride that she be without spot or wrinkle.
Again, mere men do not have the spiritual power to cleanse someone from sin, but still Paul uses this as an analogy for husbands so let’s put it into perspective. Holiness is not doing the right things and not doing the wrong things. Holiness is doing what honors God as a result of love for God. And what causes us to love God? We are moved to love Him when we realize that He loves us and loved us first (1 John 4:19) -loved us while we were adulterous and unfaithful to Him (Romans 5:8). His love for us creates love in us for Him and a desire to do what honors Him.
He loved His Bride first
When husbands love their wives in the form of a servant, a sense of being valued, cherished, and loved develops within them. This makes them fall in love with their husband over and over again with increasing passion. They want to please their husbands out of a grateful heart in the same way, as believers, we want to please our Father in Heaven for all the good He has done in our life. When a wife is faithful to her husband and devoted to Him, she is pure and holy.
Husbands are called to love their wives first. When husbands and wives are arguing (I know that never happens in your home, but this is so you can help your friends), God’s expectation is that the husband would be the first to be loving. The responsibility to find a way to start being patient, kind, and gentle falls first on the Husband. This does not give wives an excuse to not do the same, but the role of a husband is to love first.
But husbands, you can do what is best for your wife, but you can do this without love. Love is the vehicle that carries your servanthood to her heart. This is romance. How many times have I heard a husband give his financial faithfulness to pay the bills as evidence of his love for his wife. Yes, that is good, but it does not make a woman feel loved. When Paul calls upon Husbands to follow in the footsteps of Christ in loving their wives, He is calling husbands to go out of their way to do things that prove the value of their wives.
Husbands are commanded by God to romance their wives.
Jesus left Heaven to sit and talk with His bride. He did miracles to cause her heart to palpitate with excitement as one being pursued by her lover. Men, we are commanded to leave our offices, our man-caves, our favorite golf courses to sit, talk, laugh, dance, embrace, and kiss the wife God has given to us. We are commanded by God to live our life to bless her heart, mind, body, and soul. This is the God-commanded role of the husband in the Biblical concept of submission in marriage.
Leave me a comment. Husbands, how well are you doing loving like this? Wives, how can you help your husbands? (That is where we go next week to give you a preview.)
As always, live like your blessed and for goodness’ sake, be a blessing!
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