Summary: The husbands responsibility topwards his wife
Studies In The Christian Family (2)
The Christian Husband
We come this evening to our second of four studies in this short series on the Christian Family. In the scriptures God has given us His blueprint for a happy home-life and as part of that blueprint He sets out the primary duty that each member of the family ought to fulfil in respect of the other members of the family. We began the series last week by focusing our attention upon the wife’s duty in respect of her husband as we find that duty set forth by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5/22-24 and we saw that the one word which summed up her duty in this respect was the word “SUBMIT” - “Wives submit to your husband…wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” I don’t intend to spend any time this evening going over what we learned in relation to this subject last week, if any of you were not able to be here last week and are interested in obtaining a tape of the sermon then you can have a word with me after the service and we can furnish you with the tape.
This evening we want to look at the other side of the marital coin so to speak and consider the duty of the husband with respect to his wife. I finished the sermon last week by saying that if the wife thinks that God is asking a lot of her in requiring that she demonstrate an attitude of submission to her husband, that demand is as nothing compared to what God demands of the husband when it comes to his duty in respect of his wife, and hopefully we will see this to be the case by the time we come to the end of our study of God’s Word this evening.
Turning then to Ephesians 5 once again, this time to v25-33 I want you to consider with me in the first place this evening
1) The Nature of The Husbands Duty:
Paul writes in v25 - “husbands love your wives.” V28 “husbands ought to love their wives…” v33 “each one of you also must love his wife.”
In thinking of the wife’s duty to her husband we saw that her keyword in God’s blueprint for family life was SUBMIT. That being the case one might have expected that when Paul came to give a keyword to the husband that summed up his duty towards his wife that that word would have been RULE; that Paul would have focused on the husband’s responsibility to exercise his God given authority, to demonstrate his divinely appointed head-ship within the marriage relationship. But Paul doesn’t say “husbands RULE OVER your wives.” He says “husbands LOVE your wives.” Now in saying that he is not for one minute denying that the husband is to rule his own household, that he is to exercise his God given authority within the home. However what Paul makes clear here in this passage is that the exercise of that rule in the home by the husband, the demonstration of his position of head-ship within the family must always be carried out in the context of LOVE.
And it is vitally important to point this out at the very beginning of our study this evening because any imbalance here will be detrimental to and may even prove to be disastrous for the marriage relationship and for family life. For example in the case where a husband exercises his authority over his wife and over his children, but fails to do so in an attitude of love, such an unbiblical imbalance produces cold, dictatorial authoritarianism. – “I am the boss in this house and you will do as I say” On the other hand an imbalance in the other direction where the husband whilst loving his wife and children, fails to undertake the responsibilities of leadership, fails to exercise his God-given authority in the home, such an imbalance can produce a weak and often hen-pecked husband who bows to his wife’s every wish even in situations where her wishes are not wholly in keeping with scriptural principles.
In the culture of Paul’s day the greatest danger was undoubtedly that of the husband over-emphasising authority at the expense of love. And so Paul lays the stress where it needed to be laid “Husbands LOVE your wives.”
This then is the husband’s keyword – LOVE
But what did Paul mean when he said that husbands were to LOVE their wives. What was in his mind when he used that word LOVE. Now this is an important question because the word ‘love’ is a word that is used today to describe a wide range of feelings and experiences, both emotional and physical. It is a word that is used to explain and to justify certain forms of conduct.