What Is The Husband’s Role In A Marriage?

The Bible teaches consistently that the husband is to play the role of the head of the home. Ephesians 5:23 can’t be any clearer when it says: “For the husband is the head of the wife…” 1 Corinthians 11:3 backs that up by saying: “…the head of the woman is the man…” The husband wasn’t just granted this role in the New Testament age either. In Genesis 3:16, God says to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Now, whenever a preacher starts throwing around these verses, someone might say, “I think that women are just as good as men.” Well, the fact is, women are just as good as men. The issue of headship has absolutely nothing to do with superiority.

As proof of this, let me revisit 1 Corinthians 11:3, and this time I’ll quote all of the verse. Paul says to the Christians of Corinth: “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.” Please notice that last part of the verse: “the head of Christ is God.” I ask you, is Christ (God the Son) inferior to God the Father? No, He isn’t. The two are coequal as two-thirds of the one holy Trinity that is God (John 10:30; John 14:7-11). But is Christ submitted to God the Father? Yes, He is (Matthew 26:39-44; John 4:34; John 9:4; John 17:4). So, clearly, submission does not imply inferiority.

And, husband, you should know that being the head of your home is about responsibilities, not rights. Here again we can trace the idea all the way back to Adam and Eve. After their sin in the garden of Eden, they heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). Immediately they hid themselves from Him (Genesis 3:8). They didn’t want Him to see that they had lost their sinless innocence and been forced to make and wear coverings of fig leaves. Of course, God already knew what had happened. But His reaction was interesting. Genesis 3:9 says: “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?'”

Wait a minute. Wasn’t Eve the one who caused the trouble? Wasn’t she the one who first gave in to Satan’s temptation and ate of the forbidden fruit? So why didn’t God specifically call for her? If nothing else, why didn’t He call for them both together? Why did He single out Adam?

He did that because Adam, as the head of his home, had to bear the brunt of the responsibility for the mess his home had become. You see, being the head of the home is an incredibly serious thing in God’s eyes. When there is trouble in the home, the first person God comes looking for is the husband. Even if the wife or the kids are the primary troublemakers, everything kicks back on the husband to some degree. If a home goes down on a man’s watch, that man can’t just completely wash his hands of the whole situation and say, “It wasn’t my fault.” Maybe it wasn’t, but just as a coach or manager can’t disassociate himself from his team’s bad season, a husband has to answer for what happened under his headship.

I’ll leave you now with one of my favorite illustrations about headship. It involves a young man and some chickens. The young man was a farmer’s son and one day he announced to his father that he was ready to get married. The farmer said, “Son, why do you want to get married? Don’t you know that when you get married your wife will boss you around?” The young man said, “Oh, I don’t believe that.” The farmer said, “Okay, let me ask you to do something. Go round up a dozen chickens, tie their legs together, put them in the wagon, hitch up the two horses, and take the wagon into town. Stop at every house you come to. Wherever you find a husband who is the head of his home, give him a horse. Wherever you find a woman who is the head, give her a chicken.” Then the father concluded by saying, “I’ll bet you give away all your chickens and come back with the two horses.”

So, the young man did as he was told, and it didn’t take him long to realize that his daddy knew what he was talking about. The first eleven houses the young man visited, the woman was the head and the boy gave away a chicken.

He only had one chicken left, but he wanted to see things through. He knocked on the door of the twelfth house and watched as a husband and wife answered the door together. The young man said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to know which one of you is the head of this home.” The man said, “I am.” The young man looked at the wife and asked, “Is that true?” She said, “Yes, it is.” “Well then,” he said, “I have a real treat for you. I’m going to give you one of my horses. Which one would you like?” The husband said, “I’ll take the black one.” The wife said, “But I think the brown one is better.” The husband said, “Fine, I’ll take the brown one.” The young man said, “No, you’ll take a chicken!”

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