Husband and wife are of equal worth before God. Both bear God’s image, but in differing ways. Marriage models God’s relationship with His people. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Now that is what has some people all upset. This is not going to be settled by feminist propaganda or by chauvinistic backlash, but by the Word of God. We have so many failed marriages because we have thrown away the plan that God has given.
We will focus on the husband today. If you look at marriage as a contract, you will be standing up for your rights. If you look at marriage as a covenant, you will be accepting your responsibilities. According to the Word of God, the husband has three major responsibilities toward his wife:
THE HUSBAND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SERVANT LEADERSHIP
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:22-23). The word “head” here means leader. To have headship is to have responsibility. God is the one who gives the model for this loving leadership.
“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Does that mean Jesus the Son is inferior to God the Father? Of course not. (See Philippians 2:5-8.) The headship of one does not mean the inferiority of the other.
Both the man and the woman bear God’s image, (See Genesis 1:27.) and therefore both are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7b). But while males and females are equal, God has given them different roles.
The devil’s attempt today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the God‑given identity, and the differences between, males and females. Look around: the consequence is divorce, homosexuality, sexual abuse, promiscuity, etc. God made us different so that He might make us one.
Sir, you cannot delegate spiritual responsibility. God held Adam responsible for Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden because Adam did not lead as he should. (See Genesis 3:17.)
A Leader Serves
Jesus said, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them…But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves” (Luke 22:25b-26). Jesus is the head of the Church, and He washed His disciples’ feet. (Read John 13:3-5,13-14.)
A Leader Is Gentle
The Apostle Paul said to the church in Thessalonica, “We were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). How many husbands today are gentle with their wives?
Look at children who love their daddies. Why do they? Almost every time, the daddy is a strong man, whom the little child looks up to, but is gentle with that child.
A Leader Guides By Example
Talking to church leaders, Peter said, “The elders who are among you I exhort. …Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3).
Servant leadership elicits the strengths of those that it leads. Your wife has gifts that you do not have. God has poured out His spirit upon children and wives, as well as upon husbands. (See Joel 2:28, Acts 2:16-18.)
THE HUSBAND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SACRIFICIAL LOVE
The husband ought to be willing to die for his wife, “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25b). He must die to ego, pride, and ambition.
What is the husband’s love for his wife?
Sexual passion is certainly one of the gifts of marriage, but that is not what we’re talking about. This is passionate love that says, “I would give myself up for you.” Both the husband and the wife must die to themselves, and come alive to Jesus Christ.
Nothing is too precious for a husband to give up for his wife—except his relationship with Almighty God. Most women don’t mind submitting to a man who loves her enough to die for her, and who shows it by the way he lives for her.
Christ gave Himself up for the Church “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).
The husband’s chief assignment from God is to make his wife a more radiant Christian. He is to lead, teach, love, intercede, and protect her spiritually.
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
According to 1 Peter 3:7, she is “the weaker vessel.” Which is weaker: stainless steel or gold? But is gold inferior to stainless steel? As a rule, God gave the man a stronger frame. God gave men to protect, as Jesus protects the Church.
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:29). To cherish means to warm with body heat, and to nourish means to feed and mature.
THE HUSBAND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR STEADFAST LOYALTY
“For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:30-33).
The priority of marriage is the relationship between husband and wife. This is the highest relationship on Earth.
The permanence of marriage is that he shall “be joined to his wife.” That word in Greek and Hebrew has the idea of being welded together. “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
And the purpose of marriage is, “the two shall become one flesh.” Teenagers today are being taught “safe sex.” Folks, it’s not meant to be dangerous. We need to teach them sanctified sex. Becoming one flesh speaks of a blending not just of the body, but of the soul and the spirit. You don’t “go all the way” until you give yourself—body, soul, and spirit, forever—to one woman, until death do you part.
That is God’s plan. A home ought to be a little bit of the Garden of Eden, the only part we have left until Jesus comes.