Has anyone ever wondered why over the past decades society has typically associated husbands with the responsibility of being a protector, being an authority figure and caring for the family in whatever form that may be?
Could it be because the word husband comes from Anglo-Saxon words meaning “house band”, which is sometimes interpreted as a strip of metal or rope used to bind the house and therefore suggests that a husband binds his house together with organization and control?
No matter the origin of the word however 1 Corinthians 11:3 states “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”. As Christians we believe that husbands are the heads of our households and as such they must take on the role of leadership by leading the family spiritually, providing discipline in the home, and ensuring that the needs of the family are met.
In today’s world of equal rights and feminism it is easy for teachings such as these to be misunderstood. It is important to understand however, that a position of leadership does not imply an authoritative or domineering role. On the contrary, the husband who rules with an iron fist is likely to experience a rebellious and angry household. In fact, Colossian 3:9 specifically states: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them”. Similarly, the wife who allows her husband to lead her will experience the fullness of joy that comes from enabling her husband to play the role God created him to play.
Equally important to leadership is love. When you read Ephesians 5:25-29, you will realize that the calling of a husband is a tall order. But it is one that can be fulfilled by the grace of God. The scripture reads:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
The manifestation of love comes in many forms and may be as simple as listening to her, encouraging her, providing emotional support, allowing her to feel accepted and providing companionship. But in the addition, this scripture points to the more challenging aspects of marriage and the sacrificial love that leads a husband to love his wife as himself (at a minimum) and beyond that, to love his wife to the extent that he would give himself up for her, as Christ did for the church.
It is a tall order indeed, but one that every Christian man can meet with the help of the Holy Spirit and with the guidance of the word of God.