The Husband's Role In Marriage

Faith Church January 31, 1999

The Husband’s Role In Marriage

The roles of marriage - the husband, the wife, and the young person have become very confusing to many.  In part, the problem is that one person attempts to fulfill the other person’s responsibility.  Often times the children are trying to act like the parents, or the wife is trying to take the responsibilities of the husband, and the husband neglects to function in a way that God intended for him.
  While we know this leads to confusion, the question is, “Where do we turn to sort this all out?”  The choices are very simple.  We can turn to our culture and listen to the “counsel of the ungodly,” or we can turn to the sufficient source of truth, the Word of God.
Steve Farrar, author of Point Man, says, “If you are a husband/father, then you are in a war.  War has been declared upon [your] family.  Leading a family through the chaos of American culture is like leading a small patrol through enemy-occupied territory.”  If husbands are to avoid becoming a casualty of war, we must understand and fulfill our role as husbands.

I.  God Wants Husbands To Be LEARNERS.

1 Peter 3:7:  “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
A.  God stated this principle in the form of a command.
1.  What word or phrase from this verse teaches us that this is a command?

The command to “live with them” implies more than sharing the same address.  Peter reinforces Ephesians 5:31 and Genesis 2:24 which state “the two shall become one flesh.”  Therefore, living with your wife in an understanding way fulfills, in part, the one flesh relationship of the husband to the wife.
2.  What would you say to a husband who viewed this as optional?

B.  This is a command to understand.
The word “understanding” actually comes from a Greek word which is also translated “knowledge.”  This particular word means a knowledge based on personal experience.  That is, because of what you’ve done with that person, because of interaction with them, you understand or know them.
This is the same word that Paul used in Philippians 3:10 when he said, “...that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”
Our culture says, “You just can’t understand a woman.”  But God says to the husbands, you must understand your wife and you must learn to “live with them in an understanding way.”
1.  What things should a husband seek to understand about his wife?

2.  In what kind of situations do husbands especially need to work hard at being learners of their wife’s needs?

3.  What are some attitudes or hindrances on the part of a husband that may keep him from being a learner?

For additional study:  Consider the context of the word “likewise” as Peter connects it to his words in 1 Peter 2:13-3:7.
“All husband-wife relations should be governed by ‘knowledge,’ a knowledge derived from reason and common sense, as well as understanding of the Christian principles directing the marriage relationship.  That involves the husband’s understanding of the wife’s desires, goals, and frustrations; knowledge of her strengths and weaknesses in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms.’”
“The recognition of her greater weakness is not derogatory, and does not imply inferiority.   Generally speaking, the wife is physically weaker than the man, but it is unfair to imply that she is intellectually or morally inferior to him.”
D. Edmond Heibert, 1 Peter, p. 205-206
4.  What are some practical ways a husband can understand his wife in the following ways:
1)  Communication: 
2)  Finances: 
3)  Child Rearing: 
C.  Being a learner gives honor to the wife.
1.  List some typical reasons a husband may give for refusing to give his wife proper “honor” by being a learner?

2.  How would knowing that a wife is an “heir together of the grace of life” help a husband give her honor?

Note:  The responsibility here is on the husband to give the honor to his wife.  Therefore, a husband cannot use the excuse that “she doesn’t deserve it.”  The husband must give honor to his wife by being a learner regardless of his wife’s imperfections.
D.  A husband’s prayer life is affected by the kind of learner he is.
1.  What are some implications to a husband’s marriage and family if his prayer life is being hindered by his disobedience to 1 Peter 3:7?

2.  According to Psalm 66:18, what are the results of harboring unconfessed sin in our hearts?

Psalm 66:18:  “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”
“To be understanding, he must try to enter into her situation and see as much as he can what she is facing from the woman’s viewpoint.  That is difficult to do, but that is what it means to be understanding of another person: to try to get into [her] shoes.”
Jay Adams, Christian Living In the Home, (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1972), p. 97

II.  God Wants Husbands To Be LOVERS.

Ephesians 5:25:  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;”
A.  This is a command.
1.  What would you say to a husband who viewed this as an option?

2.  Paul made it clear that loving your wife is “not for a few spiritual guys.”
Ephesians 5:28:  “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself;”
For additional study:  Consider the context of Ephesians 5:18 and the relationship of being filled (controlled) by the Spirit and husbands loving their wives.
B.  This is a command to love.
1.  If you polled the average person on the street of your city, how would they typically define “love”?

2.  Practically all of the world’s ideas about love have to do with “getting” and “self-satisfaction.”  But that is NOT Biblical love.
C.  Our standard of love is Jesus Christ.
According to the following verses, how would you define Christ’s love for us?
John 3:16:      Galatians 2:20:  
D.  Paul mentions four qualities of Christ-like love that husbands are to exemplify toward their wives:
Sacrificial Love
1.  In what ways did Christ sacrifice for us?

2.  In what ways can a husband show sacrificial love for his wife?

“A husband is not commanded to love his wife because of what she is or is not.  He is commanded to love her because it is God’s will for him to love her.  It is certainly intended for a husband to admire and be attracted by his wife’s beauty, winsomeness, kindness, gentleness, or any other positive quality or virtue.  But though such things bring great blessing and enjoyment, they are not the bond of marriage.  If every appealing characteristic and every virtue of his wife disappears, a husband is still under just as great an obligation to love her.  If anything, he is under greater obligation, because her need for the healing and restorative power of his selfless love is greater.  That is the kind of love Christ has for His church and is therefore the kind of love every Christian husband is to have for his wife.”
John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Ephesians
(Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), p. 297

Purifying Love
Ephesians 5:26-27:  “...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 should be holy and blameless.”
1.  What are some things from which a husband would need to protect his wife in order to help her give a good account when she stands at the judgment seat of Christ?
2.  What are some things a husband can do to help keep his wife “pure” in this world?
“Love wants only the best for the one it loves, and it cannot bear for a loved one to be corrupted or misled by anything evil or harmful.  When a husband’s love for his wife is like Christ’s love for His church, he will continually seek to help purify her from any sort of defilement.  He will seek to protect her from the world’s contamination and protect her holiness, virtue, and purity in every way.  He will never induce her to do that which is wrong or unwise or expose her to that which is less than good.”
John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Ephesians
(Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), p. 300
Caring Love
Ephesians 5:28-30:  “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.”
1.  What are some practical ways a husband can love his wife?
2.  See Wayne Mack’s Homework Manual, Vol. 2 -- 103 Ways to Show Love for Your Wife.
Unbreakable Love
Ephesians 5:31:  “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.”
This is a direct quote from Genesis 2:24.  God intends for marriage to last, so Paul emphasizes the permanence and unity of marriage.  What are some ways a husband can violate this “leaving and cleaving” principle?”
Note:  These four qualities are taken from John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Ephesians (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986).

III.  God Wants Husbands To Be LEADERS.

Ephesians 5:23:  “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.”
I Corinthians 11:3:  “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.”
The world has defined leadership as the number of people who are under your authority.  Leadership is synonymous with dictatorship.  But that is not God’s view of leadership.  Christ does not lead that way!
Matthew 20:25-28:  “But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”
1.  What are some of the general differences between Christlike leadership and Gentile leadership?

Christlike leadership is servant leadership.

1. What are some ways a servant-leader would handle the following situations compared to “Gentile leadership”:

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