What Should Be the Husband’s Role in Marriage?

This is from the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (See my links!)

What Should Be the Husband’s Role in Marriage
by Dennis Rainey

There is a story of a man who died and went to heaven to find two signs above two different lines. One sign said: “ALL THOSE MEN WHO HAVE BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” That line of men seemed to stretch off through the clouds into infinity.

The second sign read: “ALL THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” Underneath the sign stood one man.

He went over to the man, grabbed his arm and said, “What’s the secret, how did you do it? That other line has millions of men and you are the only one standing in this line.”

The man looked around with a puzzled expression and said, “Why, I am not sure I know. My wife just told me to stand here.”

We have all heard jokes about “who wears the pants in the family.” Yet, leadership in the home is no laughing matter. During the last few decades our culture has redefined the meaning and responsibilities of man and woman in society and in the home. Many men are confused and insecure. Many do not know how to act in the home. Growing up, they lacked a good model for leadership at home and have no mental picture of what it means to lead a family. Consequently, they do not lead effectively, or they do not even try. Increasingly, many men are becoming passive in the home. They’ve decided that the easiest thing to do is nothing. The simplest thing-with the smallest risk-is to stay on the fence with both feet firmly planted in mid-air and let the wife do it. When a man is married to a strong wife who will take over, he often lets her do just that.

Fortunately, there is an answer. The Scriptures clearly give us the model for being a man, a husband and father. I call that model the “servant/leader.”

I hope that the concepts I share will help you understand the biblical role of a husband more clearly than ever before. When correctly interpreted and applied, these concepts not only result in freedom for the husband and wife, but also help you work better as a team to combat isolation and conflict in your marriage.


Responsibility #1: Be a leader

The Scriptures provide a clear organizational structure for a marriage. Following are a couple of typical Scriptures:

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:3

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. Ephesians 5:22-30

In his commentary on Ephesians, William Hendriksen points out that God “…placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband . . . The Lord has assigned the wife the duty of obeying her husband yet . . . this obedience must be a voluntary submission on her part, and that only to her own husband, not to every man.”

“Head” does not mean male dominance, where a man lords it over a woman and demands her total obedience to his every wish and command. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that we are all equally His children and are of equal value and worth before Him. As Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

The teaching of the New Testament clearly shows that women are to be respected, revered, and treated as equals with men. Unfortunately, many husbands have not gotten the message. They degrade their wives by neglect or with insensitive and abusive treatment. One cause of the feminist movement may have been that men abandoned God’s design. When God presented Eve to Adam in the Garden, Adam received her as a gift of great value to God and him. When husbands, particularly Christian husbands, do not treat their wives as a precious gift from God and helpmate, they can cause those wives to search for a way to find significance and value as persons, often outside God’s will.

Are you a leader? Men who are “natural” leaders have no trouble answering the question, yes. They know how to take over, control, guide, and get things done. Some men are not strong or natural leaders. How can they lead in the home?

Paul says the same to everyone. God has placed the husband in the position of responsibility. It does not matter what kind of personality a man may have. Your wife may be resisting you, fighting you, and spurning your attempts to lead, but it makes no difference. I believe our wives want us and need us to lead. You are not demanding this position; on the contrary, God placed you there. You will not lead her perfectly, but you must care for you wife and family by serving them with perseverance.

Scripture does more than assign leadership in a marriage to the husband, however. Those same passages you just read also provide a model for that leadership. The Apostle Paul says that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. “This comparison of the husband with Christ reveals the sense in which a man should be his wife’s “head.” Hendriksen writes, “He is her head as being vitally interested in her welfare. He is her protector. His pattern is Christ Who, as head of the Church, is its Savior!”

Let’s look more closely at two responsibilities that flow out of proper leadership.

Responsibility #2: Love your wife unconditionally.

Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Your unconditional acceptance of your wife is not based upon her performance, but on her worth as God’s gift to you. If you want to love your wife unconditionally, always be sure her emotional tank is full. One of the best ways to do that is to affirm her constantly. Let her know verbally that you value her, respect her, and love her. I have discovered that I simply cannot do that enough.

There is no question that words communicate love, but so do actions. You need to do both. As the Apostle John wrote in one of his letters: “let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). One of the missing ingredients in male leadership in homes is sacrificial action. When was the last time you gave up something for your wife-something you genuinely valued, like your golf game, a fishing trip, or your hobby? Sometimes you need to give up something you enjoy so your wife can have a break and see your love for her.

Responsibility #3: Serve your wife.

According to the New Testament, being head of your wife does not mean being her master, but her servant. Again, Christ is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). Christ, the Head of the Church, took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife’s top three needs are right now? If she is a young mother, she has a certain set of basic needs. If your children are grown and gone and you are in the empty nest, your wife has a different set of needs that you should try to meet. What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures.

What do you know about your wife’s hopes and dreams? I bet she has plenty-do you know what they are? Are you cultivating her gifts? If she has a knack for decorating, do you help her develop that?

Another way to serve your wife is to provide for her. This provision first involves assuming responsibility for meeting the material needs of the family. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Providing for your wife also means taking the initiative in helping meet her spiritual needs.
You do this by modeling godly character, by praying with her, by spending time together in God’s Word, and by looking for ways to encourage her spiritually.

To be a leader, a lover, and a servant is to accommodate your life to the life of the gift God has given you-your wife. Give up your life for hers and, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

How to Let Go of Past Hurts

Today’s excellent Purpose Driven Life Devotional:

How to Let Go of Past Hurts
by Rick Warren

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

*** *** *** ***

First, relinquish your right to get even.
Leave that up to God; he’ll take care of it (Romans 12:19). I’ve been married for thirty years and I’m ashamed to say, I’ve hurt my wife many times. But after thirty years, we’re still together and more in love than ever before. Why? Because it’s not hurt that destroys relationships, it’s an unwillingness to forgive. We’re human; we’re going to hurt each other. But the question is, will you give up your right to get even? And will you offer forgiveness? When you do, any hurt can be overcome.

Second, respond to evil with good. How can you tell when you’ve released somebody, when you’ve completely forgiven them? You can actually pray for God to bless the person who hurt you. The Bible says we should overcome evil with good, praying for those who hurt us (Romans 12:21; Matthew 5:44).

Third, repeat these steps as long as necessary. Forgiveness is rarely a one-time shot. When somebody hurts you, we tent to think about it over and over and over. How often do you have to forgive the person? The Apostle Peter once asked Jesus, “‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Mathew 18:21-22 NIV). In other words, it needs to be continual, limitless; we shouldn’t even try to count the times we forgive, just as Jesus doesn’t count the times he forgives us.

Fourth, begin telling others about God’s forgiveness.
The Bible says, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NLT).

Fiber Pop

Me: “Thomas, you need to have a piece of fruit with your Pop Tart for some fiber.”

Thomas: “Mom, the Pop Tart I had was ‘whole grain with 3 grams of dietary fiber‘. I’ll have a piece of fruit, but I don’t need any extra fiber.”

I gave him “the look” and he ate the fruit…

American Heart Associations Recommendations for Fiber and Children’s Diets

Gender/Age : Fiber (grams)

1–3 years : 19

4–8 years : 25

9–13 years
Female: 26
Male: 31

14–18 years
Female: 29
Male: 38

Other links:

HealthCastle.com – Boosting Fiber in Children’s Diets

About.com Nutrition for Children

Reading List for Children on Nutrition from the School Nutrition Association

More Nutrition Resources…

Bitten by a Squirrel

Yesterday, just 30 minutes after Tabitha fell 6 feet from a tree onto her belly, Aiden came ran into the house and was screaming, “A squirrel bit me!”

He said, “I was staring at the squirrel, and he was staring at me.”

Apparently, squirrels don’t like to be stared down.

Moments after hanging up with the pediatrician, concluding that Tabitha would be okay without medical intervention, I called them right back to say we’d be bringing in Aiden!

The squirrel walked over and brushed its tail against Aiden’s leg, he said. Aiden picked up his foot to back away. The squirrel “was very strong” and bit the bottom of Aiden’s bare foot. Aiden apparently punched the squirrel in the face, and the squirrel scampered back to the tree. (I didn’t find out this detail until I was putting Aiden into bed later that night, and he said, “Did you find the squirrel mom? I punched it so hard that I think I killed it!”)

There was a little bit of blood on the bottom of Aiden’s foot, and a small puncture, a tad smaller than a pencil eraser. I poured rubbing alcohol over it, and then scrubbed it with a alcohol-doused paper towel.

Tom called in from the airport – he was coming home from being overseas – just as we were leaving to go to the pediatrician.

Grandma Becky met us at the pediatrician’s to sit with the other kids in the lobby while I took Aiden to the exam room.

Dr. John evaluated the wound and then looked up information about animal bites and rabies. The “Red Book” said to contact the local health department to assess the risk for the biting animal to see if there were cases of rabies being reported for that species. However, the Chester County Health Department was closed for the evening, and without enough information to make a decision as for what to do next, yet still within the 24 hours needed to immunize Aiden if necessary, we were sent home.

That evening, I called our pastor and asked him to please pray that Tom and I would have wisdom as we made decisions regarding Aiden’s health.

Pastor Strawbridge recommended that we call a fellow member of the congregation, Dr. Knepley who is the State Veterinarian for Pennsylvania, to help us have a broader perspective of the situation in order to make a more informed decision.

Knepley handles over 400 cases of animal rabies each year. When I described the behavior of the squirrel, he said that it was actually “normal behavior” for a squirrel who felt threatened – a warning bite. A rabid squirrel, however, would have to be pried off it’s victim as it would have continued the fight, quite viciously.

Squirrels rarely are rabid. Their treetop habitat is somewhat isolated from other animals and they are on a different sleep schedule than nocturnal animals that typically carry rabies, such as raccoons and skunks.

While Chester County notoriously led the nation for the number of confirmed rabies cases in 1988 and continues to have a significantly elevated number of rabies cases in comparison to other parts of the world, there has only been one known case of a squirrel having rabies in all of Pennsylvania – seven years ago. According to Knepley, a man was attacked while raking his yard. The squirrel was so relentless in its attack that neighbors had to pull the squirrel off of the poor guy. This is the characteristic behavior of a rabid squirrel – not one who backs down at the punch of a four year old.

Knepley also said that rabies was a “fragile virus” and that soap and water would likely kill it – but I practically “pickled” any germs on Aiden’s foot, even ones from seven days ago, by putting cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.

The Chester County Health Department returned our pediatrician’s call the next day. They that they had no cases of rabid squirrels to report. Dr. John said it seemed unlikely that the squirrel had rabies and she left the decision up to us saying if we chose the rabies vaccinations, that would be okay with her, too.

There have only been a few cases of people surviving rabies, said Knepley. All but one resulted in the person being reduced to a vegetative state. The least effected survivor, a little girl, had loss of some motor skills, but miraculously was otherwise was unscathed. She had been administered the vaccine just before the onset of the rabies symptoms. It was not soon enough to prevent the virus. At the first signs of rabies, she was put into a medically induced coma to prevent convulsions – and with rabies, I’ve read that people can die from the convulsions alone.

Rabies doesn’t always show up right away, either. Here’s a story of a man from the 1908 NY Times who was barely scratched by the tooth of a rabid puppy, and didn’t show signs of having rabies until nine months later, just before he died of the virus.

The decision isn’t one we took lightly. I begged God for wisdom, as this situation certainly is out of my league. Three experts – the Health Department, The official State Veterinarian of Pennsylvania and our Pediatrician – gave the same, clear answer: “We are leaving the decision up to you, but if it were my child, I would not immunize them with this scenario.” (The pain and side effects from the shot are apparently not something one would wish on another human being – although I have heard that an entire family in our church had to be vaccinated because a rabid bat was found in their home, and I have not asked how they tolerated the vaccine.)

And so, I am praying that the decision to not immunize Aiden – because alcohol was applied to the wound immediately, because it is extremely rare that squirrels carry rabies, and because the behavior of the squirrel was “normal” for a squirrel who felt threatened – was the right one.

We are praying that if there is a rabid squirrel in our neighborhood, that it would show up – as sick animals are quite noticeable to discerning humans – and that we would know in time to immunize Aiden if necessary.

While I’m mostly hopeful, I am admittedly still a little frightened. Death from rabies is unspeakably horrific.

As bizarre as this story may seem, I wasn’t surprised that it happened to my curious son. He is quite daring, with no sense of danger whatsoever. When he was little, we nicknamed him “Danger Mouse”. I love him very much.

Macanudo Gold Label

What can I say? I miss my Tom.

When the wisps of a neighbor’s cigar, combined in the spring breeze with the lilac blossoms and freshly cut grass (because everyone was restfully mowing their lawns) reached my nose this Sunday afternoon, it made my heart just ache for my husband.

Rearranging Tom’s cigar collection backfired as a “fix”. After carefully examining the cigars for several minutes, I caved. I needed more. I couldn’t resist lighting one up and smoking it for myself.

I chose a Macanudo Gold Label, as it had the mildest scent and because it was smallest in my husband’s humidor. My guess is that it was just a little over five inches in length. (While my hands are not dainty, they are characteristically petite.)

Even without much to compare it to, as this was only the second cigar I’ve ever had in my life, I know this was a good cigar. It burned evenly and slowly. The feel of the wrapper was smooth to the touch. Part of me wanted to almost take a bite out of it, it’s texture was so pleasing to my tongue. It’s golden color was naturally beautiful.

The flavor was soothing. Mouthwateringly classic, even. Perfectly woodsy with a spicy undertone, yet somehow sweet like the pleasant scent of distant flowers in a quiet forest. Pleasant, but not overpowering. If it wasn’t so late in the day, I would have gladly shared my palate with a cup of black coffee. I think the contrast of the coffee would have made the tobacco taste even sweeter.

As I smoked, the fragrance evoked warm memories of sitting on the front porch with Tom – what I was truly craving, even more than the smell or taste of a cigar. For this, there is no such thing as a satisfying “fix”.

When Tom called me tonight, he mentioned something about having some wine with dinner. Wine isn’t something Tom usually orders. Between my cigar and his wine – swapping each other’s vices at the same time unaware – I’d like to think we got to share a moment together this evening after all.

BTW: A slightly altered version of this blog entry can be found here.