Ephesians 5:21-24 , ”Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
1 Corinthians 11:3, , “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
One of the greatest problems facing many families today is the lack of leadership by the husband. Some husbands don’t realize that God has ordained them for this role, while others simply don’t understand how they should lead; still others simply refuse to lead. Most men do not realize that many of the serious problems that are occurring in their homes directly result from their failure to lead. It is clear that the lack of the husband’s leadership in his home will definitely create a chain reaction of marital, financial, and parenting problems.
We have all heard jokes about “who wears the pants in the family.” Yet leadership in the home is no laughing matter. During the last few decades our culture has redefined the meaning and responsibilities of men and women in society and in the home. Many men are confused and insecure. Many do not know how to act in the home.
Increasingly, many men are becoming passive in the home. They’ve decided that the easiest thing to do is nothing. The simplest thing—with the smallest risk—is to stay on the fence with both feet firmly planted in mid-air and let the wife do it. When a man is married to a strong wife who will take over, he often lets her do just that.
Naturally, I am a quiet man. I am also not very confrontational when it comes to disagreements and quarrels. I got that from my Dad, who is a very soft spoken but very wise man. In my entire life I have never heard him raise his voice in annoyance but he has a quiet confidence that makes you fear when you have done something wrong. Zimbabweans are generally not a confrontational nation, but more diplomatic about issues. So when I got married to my wife, who is a Nigerian, there was a culture shock. She is very opinionated, and aggressive about getting things her way. She is a go getter and because of that, we clashed on the key issues in the home where I had to take firm decisions. I was more laid back, calm, soft spoken and diplomatic in my approach, and she expected a man who was more vocal, aggressive and no nonsense, and I know she got this from her dad who was a military man. There were many times where I felt she was overstepping her boundaries as a wife and trying to lead the family. But I soon learnt that when a woman does not receive leadership in some areas, it is easy for her to try and find a solution and take the lead.
The modern world has created a lot of confusion regarding the roles of the wife and husband in marriage. Most of the traditional gender roles are considered outdated and it is no longer clear who does what. There are many reasons why men fail to lead; let me give you just a few.
- Many times men did not see good male leadership modelled in their own homes as they grew up.
- Some pastors do not teach about a husband’s leadership role because they fear being charged with male chauvinism.
- Many husbands are just lazy and would rather relinquish the leadership in the home to their wives.
- Other husbands simply give up when their wives challenge them for the leadership of the home as their wives remind them of all their poor decisions in the past.
- Other husbands are manipulated by their wives through tears, denial of sex, or constant verbal harassment to relinquish leadership.
These are just some of the reasons that hinder men from taking the responsibility God has ordained for them as husbands. It is essential to understand that none of these reasons are valid excuses that God would ever accept for a husband not being the leader of his home.
The role of the husband in the Bible starts with leadership, but encompasses provision and protection. Scripture makes it very clear that a husband must be a leader of his home and have healthy control of his life. A husband will never influence his wife if he does not care for her. He can demand and she may follow as a result, but he will never truly have her heart unless he provides for her needs, cares for her well-being, and protects her both physically and spiritually. For as Scripture says:
1 Timothy 5:8 – “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”
Colossians 3:19 – “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them
1 Peter 3:7 -”Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers”
“Head” does not mean male dominance, where a man lords it over a woman and demands her total obedience to his every wish and command. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that we are all equally His children and are of equal value and worth before Him. As Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Paul says the same to everyone. God has placed the husband in the position of responsibility. It does not matter what kind of personality a man may have. Your wife may be resisting you, fighting you, and spurning your attempts to lead, but it makes no difference. I believe our wives want us and need us to lead. You are not demanding this position; on the contrary, God placed you there. You will not lead her perfectly, but you must care for you wife and family by serving them with perseverance.
Today’s godly woman yearns for her husband to be a spiritual leader. The number one complaint among godly wives IS NOT, “My husband isn’t treating me equally.” The broader complaint is, “My husband isn’t the spiritual leader.” How can and should you spiritually lead your wife and children? To accomplish this task you first must be a spiritually committed man. It is obvious that you cannot lead anyone anywhere if you have not been there first. This is what Jesus meant when He reproved the Pharisees saying: “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matt. 15:14). Jesus was using an obvious metaphor to illustrate that these religious leaders had spiritual blindness and could not fulfil their responsibilities of leadership.
Do you have the spiritual eyesight necessary to lead your wife and children into the kingdom? Without knowing what the truth is, how can you lead them into the truth (Ps. 25:5)? To be this kind of leader you must do as Jesus commanded: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Unless you take the lead to seek first the kingdom, none of the other aspects of your leadership will have any effect upon your wife or children. Why? Because they will see the contradiction between what you tell them to do versus what you are doing by your example.
If God has planted His Words in your heart, share them with your wife and children. In doing so you are washing your wife and children with the water of Word of God (Eph. 5:26-27). This is how you can nourish them with the truth of God (Eph. 5:29; Eph. 6:4). When you sit, walk, and lie down are the times when you are together with your wife and children. Therefore, take these opportunities that you have when you are together.
Husbands, do you want God to speak through you and use you as a godly man to lead your family? Ask God to speak to your heart and empower you with His anointing to be the man He has called you to be. Only then will you be just and lead your home in the fear of God. Why not ask Him now to begin His work in you?
Will & Ceci Chaniwa – Twitter @matrimonyfn