Summary: In this sermon, we focus primarily on God's commands in Ephesians 5. I have leaned heavily on material from David Platt's book Counter Culture, chapter 6, and also three sermons from John Piper on marital roles.


A. One day a little girl and a little boy were playing in the yard.

1. The girl asked the boy, “Hey Billy, do you want to play house?”

2. Little Billy said, “Sure! What role do you want me to play? Do you want me to be the husband, the son, or the brother?”

3. Little Sally replied, “I want you to communicate your feelings.”

4. “Communicate my feelings?” little Billy said in bewilderment, “I have no idea what that means.”

5. Little Sally nodded and said, “Perfect. You can be the husband.”

6. Oh, the roles of husbands and wives in marriage…we can poke a lot of fun at it, but it is actually a very important and serious matter.

B. Today, we are continuing in our Marriage Matters series.

1. I hope you have been finding the lessons to be thought provoking and marriage transforming.

2. If you haven’t heard all of the previous lessons, then I would encourage you to go to our website or our YouTube channel and watch or listen to the sermons you missed.

3. So far we have learned that marriage ain’t easy, but with work every marriage can be improved.

4. We have also learned that marriage belongs to God. And because God created marriage, He has a right to define it and that following His plan for marriage will make it the best it can be.

5. Last week, we explored the need for forgiveness in marriage and we learned about the blessing of having a grace-filled marriage.

C. Today, we want to explore and embrace God’s design for husbands and wives.

1. God has created man and woman for marriage, and God has created us to carry out very specific roles that will make our marriages healthy and fulfilling.

2. On the sermon slides for today, you will notice that I’ve chosen an image of a man and a woman dancing, which I think is an excellent illustration of the unique roles in marriage.

3. A dancing couple must know their steps and fulfill their role for the dance to work.

a. The steps and the movements are designed for a leader and a follower, and are appropriate for each of their unique shape and strength.

4. And so it is in marriage…God has made husbands and wives to live in a balanced and symbiotic way.

a. The husband and wife are uniquely designed as man and woman to carry out their God-given roles.

b. When the husband and wife know their steps and fulfill their role then the marriage dance is beautiful and successful.

5. Today, let’s endeaver to understand and embrace God’s design for husbands and wives.

I. God’s Design for Husbands and Wives

A. The Apostle Paul describes God’s design for husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:21-33.

1. This text was read as our Scripture Reading for today, and it is also a text that we spent time with in the second sermon in this series as we sought to understand how marriage is picture of the relationship between God and His people (the church).

2. One of the things that is crystal clear in Ephesians 5 is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned and that they are not reversible any more than the role of Christ and the role of the church are reversible.

a. The roles of husband and wife are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and His church.

3. Paul wrote: 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (5:22-24)

4. As you are probably aware, these words and concepts are not welcome in our day and age.

a. They are truly countercultural and are considered politically incorrect.

b. I can just hear someone saying, “Are you serious?...The husband is the head of the wife?... And wives should submit to their husbands?...Are you serious?”

5. Yes, I am serious, because God is serious, and God is good.

6. In our limited understanding and in a context where these words have been abused, many people hear words and phrases like these in Ephesians 5, and recoil in disgust.

7. But if we will just pause for a moment and consider the picture of marriage from God’s perspective and design, then our reaction may be different.

B. When the Bible says that “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church,” we immediately need to ask the question, “What does it mean for Christ to be the head of the church?”

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