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Category Archives: Marriage

The role and responsibility of a husband

It should be no surprise that men are confused today about what their role is. TV portrays men as idiots and women as strong. Movies and magazines tell us the measure of success is how much money you make, how fast your car is, how many women you’ve taken to bed, or how high you’ve climbed on the career ladder. Christian books and speakers tell us to be radical and wild at heart. Churches promote Bible studies for women and children, but leave men to fend for themselves.

What’s a man to do? What is the role and responsibility of a man in marriage?

Scripture explains that the role of the husband is to be the head of his wife (Ephesians 5:23, 25-27; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9; Colossians 3:19). Headship communicates the ideas of one who is superior in rank, responsible for those under his headship, and the one who has been delegated the authority to decide and to act. By God’s design, the husband is the head of the wife and lovingly exercises his delegated authority.

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 gives two reasons why the husband is the head of the wife. Verse 8 explains that God created the man first. Verse 9 explains that the woman was created for the man. You have both the priority of creation and the purpose of creation. Headship is not dependent upon the capability, conduct, or character of the husband; rather, the husband is the head by God’s design from creation.

As the head, the husband is to be the active leader who lovingly manages and provides. Manage means “to stand before” and care for the family (1 Timothy 3:2, 4-5). The husband is to superintend and care for his family. Part of his care may be to protect his family much like a Secret Service agent is willing to take a bullet for the President. In addition, the husband is to “plan before” and provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).

Rather than “lording it over” or “exercising authority” over his wife, a husband is to lead “with consideration” and “respect.” “Lording it over” abuses personal power while “exercising authority” abuses personal position. Instead, we are to be considerate and understanding of our wives. We are to grant them honor and respect.

Biblical headship is countercultural. Today, we are told to pursue our own interests and be all we can be. We are entitled to our rights and privileges. However, Scripture tells us that the husband is to devote himself to his wife above children, friends, recreation, ministry, or work (Ephesians 5:25-29).

Far too often, our wives grow spiritually in spite of us rather than because of us. In contrast, we are to mentor our wives to become blameless, holy, and glorious (Ephesians 5:25-27).

While the role of the husband is to be the head, the responsibility of the husband is to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33; Colossians 3:19). As head of the wife, the husband chooses to love his wife unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ loved the church. Nowhere is a husband to become harsh and bitter towards his wife. There is no excuse for any kind of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.

Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Head of your wife¾and as you lead, “do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23). Overcome any feelings of inadequacy, fear, and anxiety about your role through Biblical solutions. Enlist several respected married men to meet with you regularly for support and accountability. Take responsibility for your spiritual life and the spiritual lives of your wife and family. Demonstrate your love so that your wife feels loved.

If you choose to practice these principles, don’t be surprised if your wife doesn’t recognize you.

A man at work decided to show his wife how much he loved her, and before going home, showered, shaved, put on some choice cologne, bought her a bouquet of flowers. He went to the front door and knocked. His wife answered the door and exclaimed, “Oh no! This has been a terrible day! First I had to take Billy to the emergency room and get stitches in his leg, then your mother called and said she’s coming for 2 weeks, then the washing machine broke, and now this! You come home drunk!”

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 24, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

How marriage grows us

Today is our daughter Amanda & her husband, Phillip, third anniversary. In her latest blog post, Amanda writes,

Tomorrow is anniversary day! 3 years ago I married my best friend and have never been happier?

Yes, question mark.

The LEGO movie LIED! Everything is not awesome. It is not cool to be part of a team. It’s like a three legged race from summer camp but we are running in opposite directions.

Marriage is $@&#*% hard. And lonely. And inconvenient. And annoying. And exhausting. And everything is awful and the world is ending.

But is it? Is it marriage or my husband that is the issue or have my issues always been there and the nature of the relationship exposes them like a diva in a spot light?

Click on the link to read the rest of the post. In my highly biased opinion, it is quite insightful.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Family & Friends, Marriage, Quotes

 

Who takes the first step in the marriage?

Studying the biblical passages on marriage, you discover that God has designed husbands and wives with specific roles and responsibilities.

 

Wives

Husbands
Role Helper

Genesis 2:18

Leader

Ephesians 5:23

Responsibility

Submit & Respect

Colossians 3:18

Ephesians 5:22-24, 33

1 Peter 3:1-6

Love & Honor

Colossians 3:19

Ephesians 5:25-29, 33

1 Peter 3:7

Results

Effective Witness

1 Peter 3:1-2

Effective Prayer Life

1 Peter 3:7

Demonstrate reality of the gospel to a watching world

Ephesians 5:32; 1 Peter 2:11-12

While we may acknowledge these things, we tend to put the onus on the other person to play their part before we play our part.

If

Then

My husband were a better leader

It would be easier for me to submit to him
My wife would be more helpful

It would be easier to lead my family

My husband would love me sacrificially

I would be willing to respect him

My wife gave me more respect

It would easier to honor her

My husband were more considerate

I would be more helpful

My wife wouldn’t challenge my ever decision

I would be more considerate when she shares my opinion

Scripture calls us to fulfill our biblical roles and responsibilities, regardless of what our spouse does or does not do. The only question is, are we willing to be a biblical husband/wife?

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Marriage, Scripture

 

The Role & Responsibility of a Wife

Two generations ago, women were told to aspire to be a wife and mother. One generation past, women were told they could have it all—marriage, motherhood, and a fulfilling career. Today, women are told to ditch the husband and kids and focus on personal fulfillment. After all, marriage only exists to enslave women. Or so “the experts” tell us.

But if a Christ follower chooses to get married, what is her role and responsibility within marriage? What does Scripture say about these questions?

In Genesis 1:27-28, God gave Adam a task to carry out. He was to do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God. He was to fill the earth and rule over it. But he couldn’t do it by himself. He needed someone to help him carry out his assignment. According to Genesis 2:18-20, Eve was created to help Adam do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God.

From the very beginning, it was God’s design for the wife to be her husband’s helper, to actively assist, encourage, and support him in carrying out God’s task. It was God’s design. While men and women are equal in status, they have different roles and functions. The role of the wife is to help her husband accomplish what God has called him to do. (This means, gentlemen, we need to be in tune with God and know what his plan for us is.) The key recipient of her help is her husband. Oftentimes, the greatest competitor to the wife fulfilling her role is her children. While motherhood is important, helping her husband is her primary role.

While we might grudgingly agree that a wife’s primary role is helper to her husband, we balk at the idea that she is to submit to her husband (Colossians 3:18). When we think of submission, we jump to slavery or inferiority. But the primary meaning of submission is to arrange oneself under authority. In marriage, a wife is to arrange her life in an orderly manner underneath her husband.

From a biblical viewpoint, a wife voluntarily submits to her husband by respectfully bringing all areas of her life under his headship. It is a voluntary action. Her husband does not demand or force his wife to submit. She makes a voluntary choice. A woman is not to submit to all men, but only to her husband. Rather than do it grudgingly and resentfully, she coats her actions with the attitude of respect.

A wife submits to her husband “as to the Lord” because it is “fitting in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). When she places herself under her husband’s authority, she is ultimately submitting to Christ. This is fitting and appropriate because it is God’s design.

A wife submits to her husband “in everything” (Ephesians 5:23-24). If he asks her to do something illegal, immoral, or life-threatening, she should follow God’s instructions. But outside of those exceptions, “everything” means “everything.”

She practices her submission with “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:1-4). The word “quiet” doesn’t mean a wife doesn’t express her viewpoint and challenge her husband’s thinking. Rather, it means a sense of calmness and peaceableness. She doesn’t strive to take over when she feels her husband is making a mistake. She has a quiet trust that God is still in control.

Here are some principles to help put these ideas into practice:

  1. Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Helper of your husband¾and as you help, to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
  2. Communicate your submission and respect so your husband feels respected.
  3. Forgive your husband for any past hurts blocking your submission.
  4. Depend upon the Holy Spirit to empower you to submit.
  5. Enlist spiritually mature married women to encourage you regularly for support and accountability.
  6. Pursue your own spiritual growth and don’t harbor resentment regarding whether or not your husband is the spiritual leader that he should be.
  7. Trust God to change your husband (1 Peter 3:1-2).

About 300 years ago a man lost his job in a customs house. He went home, broken-hearted, to tell his wife Sophia. To his astonishment she only beamed at him. “Now you can write your book!” He answered, “Yes, and what will we live on while I’m writing?”

Sophia quickly went to a drawer and took out a cache of money. “I’ve always known that you were a man of genius,” she said. “I knew that someday you would write an immortal masterpiece.”

“So every week out of the money you have given me for housekeeping, I have saved something. Here is enough to last us one whole year.”

That amazed husband went to his study and began writing. His name was Nathaniel Hawthorne. His book was The Scarlet Letter.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 17, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

The Concept of Functional Subordination

Each one of us has different roles and responsibilities. The pattern for these differences is rooted in the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit modeled the concept of functional subordination for the church, marriage, and the family.

  Equality Function Order
Trinity The Father, Son, and the Spirit are equal as persons.

John 6:27; 10:30; Acts 5:3-4

The Father, Son, and the Spirit have different functions.

John 16:7-15;

Col 1:15-18;

Eph 1:3-14;

1 John 2:1-2

The Father has leadership and the Son and the Spirit submit.

John 17:1-5;

1 Cor 11:3;

Phil 2:5-11;

John 14:26

Church All members are to be considered without distinction in the Body.

Gal 3:28

All members have been given spiritual gifts to serve the Body.

Rom 12:6-8;

1 Cor 12:4-11;

Eph 4:7-11;

1 Pet 4:10-11

Christ has the authority and leadership is delegated to elders and pastors.

Heb 13:17;

1 Pet 5:1-4;

1 Tim 5:17

Marriage Husbands and wives are viewed as co‑heirs of the grace of God.

1 Pet 3:7;

Gal 3:28

Husbands and wives have unique functions in the family.

Gen 1:26-31; 2:18-25

The husband is given the role as the leader to which the wife is commanded to submit and respect.

Eph 5:22-33;

Col 3:18-19;

1 Pet 3:1-7;

Prov 31:10-31

Family All members stand in the place of equal responsibility before God.

Ezek 18:1-32 (20, 30)

Different members have different roles and responsibilities.

Col 3:18-21; 1 Thess 2:7, 11

Parents have the authority in the home and the children are to obey.

Eph 6:1-3;

Col 3:20;

Proverbs

(Dr. Mark Bailey of Dallas Theological Seminary introduced this chart at the 1996 Couples Conference hosted by Crossroads Bible Church at the Inn at Semi-ah-moo. I found it to be extremely helpful in understanding submission and have used it ever since.)

 

Counter the Culture

In the middle of 1 Peter (2:13-3:12), the apostle Peter explains how Christ followers are to live in relationship to others. We are to practice submission, willingly placing ourselves under authority as citizens (2:13-17), workers (2:18-25), marriage partners (3:1-7), and members of Christ’s body (3:8-12).

Admittedly, submission is a difficult topic to preach on because we live in a culture that is anti-authority. While we don’t necessarily want to lead, none of us want to follow. We want to be in charge of our own lives and not have to answer to someone else’s bidding.

When Scripture says one thing and society tells us something entirely different, we have several options. We can:

  • Reject the Bible—Don’t even attempt to read or understand what it says.
  • Avoid the parts we find disturbing—Don’t talk or preach about them.
  • Reinterpret the disagreements as “cultural, not timeless”—Since times have changed, those instructions are irrelevant.
  • Negate the problem by “attacking the author”—Accuse the apostle Paul or the apostle Peter of being a male chauvinist of the worst kind; and conclude that only Jesus’ word can be trusted. (Since Jesus doesn’t address sexuality or marriage roles & responsibilities, it must not be important.)
  • Determine it isn’t relevant—While this part of the Bible may be true, it cannot be lived in this day and age.
  • Accept the truth of Scripture and pattern our lives after it.

If you want to be truly counter cultural, study the Scriptures and commit yourself to obedience. Where it says to submit, willingly place yourself under the authority of the one above you. Don’t be afraid to swim against the tide.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in 1 Peter, Culture, Marriage, Scripture

 

Marriage enrichment at FCBC

First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, is hosting a marriage enrichment seminar.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2018 in First Central Bible Church, Marriage

 

Making light of marriage

Normally, NCIS is one of my wife and my favorite TV shows. However, I was disappointed with how they treated marriage in the most recent episode, “Something blue.”

For the past season, Special Agent Timothy McGee and Delilah have been living together while planning their wedding. As the other agents help in the planning, Quinn and Torres debate on whether or not to take a plus-1 to the wedding or try to hook up with a stranger afterwards. After Delilah faints due to stress, the scene shifts to the hospital where McGee anxiously waits for news on her condition. When he discovers Delilah is pregnant, McGee passes out. The rest of the team responds joyfully to the news and quickly participates in a surprise wedding with Dr. Palmer taking a 20-minute online course to become an ordained minister in order to perform the wedding.

What NCIS taught in this episode:

  • Cohabitation has become normal for TV characters.
  • Pregnancy before marriage is normal.
  • Humor (McGee passing out) is used to make abnormal (pregnancy out of wedlock) more palatable and normal.
  • Religion and ministers are mocked when Dr. Palmer becomes “Reverend Jimmy” after a 20-minute online course. Making light of religion and ministers is normal

With NCIS being the “Most Watched TV Show”, all of this—cohabitation, hookups, pregnancy before marriage, dismissing religion, alternative lifestyles, etc.—becomes normal, mainstream, and acceptable. While I normally enjoy the show, this episode was disappointing to say the least.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Marriage, TV

 

One word that will reinvigorate your marriage

cherishBook Review: Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage, by Gary Thomas

Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage, by Gary Thomas, is one of the better books on marriage I have read in recent years. The author’s premise is that

The way we treat something acknowledges whether we cherish it or hold it with indifference or contempt… Cultivating a cherishing attitude toward your spouse will elevate your marriage relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

Thomas’ first book, Sacred Marriage, focused on admitting and addressing the difficult realities of marriage. Cherish takes a look at the ideal, and while we may never achieve it fully, “pursuing it leads us to a place so beautiful that the journey is well worth taking.”

Most of us don’t want a marriage where we merely tolerate one another because we don’t qualify for a “biblical” divorce. We want our husbands to view us as Eve, the only woman in the world, or our wives to view us as Adam, the only man in the world. We long to be valued, respected, and cherished. Throughout the book, the author presents practical ideas on how to do just that. He explores how to cherish your spouse through your words, actions, attitudes, and deeds. Using real life examples from his own marriage and stories from others, he demonstrates the power that cherishing can have in one’s marriage.

Reading the book and practicing the concepts will give your relationship a new sense of hope and promise. Since God places a high value on marriage, it is well worth the effort.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Books, Marriage, Quotes

 

Keys to a stronger marriage

strengths-based-marriageBook Review: Strengths Based Marriage: Build a stronger relationship by understanding each other’s gifts, by Jimmy Evans & Allan Kelsey

It is often said that communication is the key to building a stronger marriage. Marriage experts Jimmy Evans and Allan Kelsey go one step further by helping couples better understand each other so that they can communicate better.

The premise of their book, Strengths Based Marriage: Build a stronger relationship by understanding each other’s gifts, is that our greatest contributions in life as well as our greatest joy will come from knowing and operating within our strengths. The authors believe that the same can be said of marriage. With that in mind, they show how couples can make use of the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment tool to better understand each other. This will not only promote better understanding but will also help to break some of the negative cycles that creep into marriage.

To get the most out of the book, each partner must be willing to not only read the book but also take the assessment tool. (What the book does NOT mention is the cost of the assessment tool. It is $15/person to identify your top five strengths and $74/person to identify all 34 strengths & weaknesses. The extra cost will hinder many couples from taking the next step and getting as much out of the book as they can.)

In addition, it would also be helpful if a couple would engage a mentor couple or counselor to help them think through the material and how to practice it in their daily lives. Without the commitment of both partners and the guidance from a neutral third-party, the information will have limited benefit.

While the book is informative, they are too many drawbacks to recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Books, Counseling, Marriage