The Roles And Responsibilities of A Husband
by bro Lee Tian Seng
At the beginning of creation, God instructed that Adam, as a husband, should rule over his wife Eve.
Genesis 3:16 - To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Since then, the husband takes on this role as the head of the family, and his wife is to submit to him.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Some Christians question if it is reasonable that the husband be given this authority and that the wife should always submit to him. What if the husband abuses his authority and treats his wife badly? What if the wife can do a better job than the husband as the head of the family? Should she still submit to her husband? If we are to understand more completely on what the Bible teaches about the husband’s role, we will appreciate the wisdom of God’s Word concerning it.
It will not be possible for the husband to abuse his authority and ill-treat his wife if he fulfils God’s expectations of him to love and care for his wife. The husband should question if the decision he makes demonstrates his love towards his wife. If not, he should not make that decision. To ascertain that he rules the family with love, it may be necessary for him to discuss the decision with his wife to see how it may affect her and to get her feedback.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 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. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
The husband is also expected to be considerate and respectful towards his wife when he rules over her. So, he cannot be uncaring towards her or be insensitive to how she feels.
1 Peter 3:7 - Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
We have to understand that God has commanded the husband to be the head of his family, even if the wife can do a better job. Yes, the wife may be smarter or earn more income than the husband, but that does not mean that she should be the head. She has her own role to fulfil as a wife. It is also not just about who is smarter or richer, because God actually looks to the husband to be the spiritual leader of his family, just as Abraham had commanded his family to keep the way of the Lord.
Genesis 18:19 - For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.
In considering a partner in marriage, a woman should consider if she can submit to her prospective husband. If she finds it difficult because of differences in personality and socioeconomic status, perhaps he is not suitable to be her husband.
The role as the head of the family also comes with responsibilities. As the husband, he needs to provide for the physical needs of the family. Just as children are responsible to provide for their mothers who are widows, God expects us to provide for our families. So, it is expected of the husband.
1 Timothy 5:8 - 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.
As a father, God also expects him to nurture and teach his children the way of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 - And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
God expects husbands to perform his roles and responsibilities. He also set this as a criteria of the man whom the church should select as an elder.
1 Timothy 3:4-5
4 One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?).