“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27.

When a potential husband applies for a marriage license, all that is required of him is that he pays a fee. There is no training, no video, and no job description. Most lack the fundamental skills, yet the license is granted. Many of those husbands are trying to learn as they go to figure out exactly what God expects of them as husbands and fathers. Some are insecure, others are confused. Some decided that the easiest thing to do is nothing. The simplest thing—with the smallest risk—is to stay on the fence. Others boldly try to “wear the pants in the family.”

Fortunately, there is an answer. The Scriptures clearly give us the model for being a man, a husband and father. That role starts with leadership. Scripture makes it very clear that a husband must be a leader of his home. Furthering this understanding, Ephesians 5:21-24 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Again, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, Scripture says, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

One of the primary roles of a husband in the Bible, then, is to lead. Leadership simply means influence. Therefore, a husband should influence his family. Husbands are not dictators, they should not demand, they should not rule over their wives. In no place does Scripture teach or endorse that women and children be considered second rate or inferior to men. Instead, husbands should influence their wives and families with their voice and their actions, attributes that bring glory to God and value to their spouse and family. The product of a good husband is a strong, confident, spiritually mature wife and family.

Men often joke that they just can’t figure women out. Physics genius Stephen Hawking has pondered the secrets of the universe, but says that women “are a complete mystery.” But not to God. But the apostle Peter instructs husbands to “…live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7).

The NKJV Study Bible explains it this way: “A Christian husband should be intimately aware of his wife’s needs, her strengths and weaknesses, and her goals and desires. He should know as much about her as possible in order to respond in the best way to her.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your definition of leadership? Influence?
  2. Husbands are told to love and respect their wives. Does this mean to meet their needs? If not, what does it mean on a daily level?
  3. Would your marriage look different if you really tried to put your spouse’s needs before your own?
  4. In Philippians 2:1-7,  Paul writes about how Christians should treat each other. How does this passage apply to husbands and wives, though not written specifically for that context?