Twice the apostle Paul stated the headship of a husband:
1 Corinthians 11:3—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.
Ephesians 5:23—For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Although these verses are found in the New Testament, a husband’s headship didn’t have its beginning under the New Covenant. Neither does male headship have its beginning in the Old Testament under the Old Covenant. It doesn’t even have its beginning at the fall.
Male headship began at creation itself
Understanding this is important, because if we think headship began after the fall, then it becomes part of sin’s curse. If we see headship beginning at creation, we understand it is part of God’s natural, healthy, divine plan for husbands and wives.
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and the rest of Genesis 1 gives an overview of all six days of creation. God created man and woman on the sixth day. Then, in Genesis 2:7–25, God zooms in on the creation of Adam and Eve since mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. It is in this account that God established man’s headship.
1. God established Adam’s headship by creating him first
Have you ever considered that tension in your relationship can be a good thing? Often God is introducing areas that need to be improved. He wants you to embrace these marriage struggles. The best way to do this is by asking each other tough questions:
A husband might say, “Outside of the Lord Himself, do you feel like you are taking second place to anything in my life?”
A wife might ask, “Do you feel like I respect you?”
Then there are right and wrong ways to respond to these questions:
Imagine a wife answers that she does not feel that she is the supreme relationship in her husband’s life. He should not try to talk her out of the way she feels or persuade her to see things differently. This will make her feel even more misunderstood.
Imagine a husband answers that his wife makes him feel disrespected. She should not argue with him and try to convince him he is wrong. This will make him feel even more disrespected.
Instead, each spouse should listen to the other, apologize the right way, and try to make the appropriate changes. When couples ask each other these difficult questions, they should expect some painful discussions. That’s great.
If we’re going to have healthy, joyful relationships, we have to learn to handle frustrations in marriage that inevitably arise. These frustrations can actually increase as we become more familiar with the Bible! Since the standard set by God’s Word is so high:
A husband could easily become frustrated that his wife is not more respectful or submissive as God’s Word commands.
This is illustrated by a situation that took place years ago when I was teaching on marriage. While talking about husbands loving their wives, a woman stood up in front of everyone and criticized her husband for the way he mistreated her. I could have interrupted and said, “Can we pray for you two?” or “Why don’t we talk about this after the study?”Instead, I was caught so off guard that I did the worst thing possible—nothing! I simply stood there with my jaw dropped while the angry wife finished berating her husband. After that I decided it was important to give people encouragement for handling frustrations in marriage…
First, handle frustrations in marriage by remembering your own weaknesses.
Instead of keeping a mental account of all that your spouse does wrong, remind yourself of your own struggles. Instead of focusing on your spouse’s failures, focus on your own. We all have plenty of weaknesses to work on without obsessing over the weaknesses of our spouses. When we start to feel frustrated toward our spouse, we should think back about the ways we’ve failed. This will humble us and diffuse the frustration we’re feeling. Continue reading Handle frustrations in marriage with these three encouragements
A few years ago I learned the important lesson that marriage is a reflection of our relationship with Christ. Katie and I faced the biggest crisis of our marriage. I started pastoring Woodland Christian Church when it was fairly small. Within three years the congregation had tripled in size. I admit that before I became a pastor, I was completely unaware of how much work is actually involved in shepherding a church of even a few hundred people. I had been an Army officer, a supervisor at a distribution center for Target, and an elementary school teacher. But none of those occupations approached the amount of mental and emotional energy and sheer hard work pastoring entails!
We had no secretary or associate pastor at the time. Almost all of my waking hours were packed with studying, teaching, counseling, making phone calls, sending e-mails, meeting with people, addressing administrative responsibilities, and tending to benevolence issues. When I was home, I should have been an engaged father and husband. Unfortunately, I did not have much left for my family emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Although I was failing as a husband and father, I was able to convince myself I was still pleasing the Lord. I compartmentalized my life by saying, “I am a Christian first, a spouse second, a parent third, and an employee fourth.” Instead, I should have said, “I am a Christian spouse, a Christian parent, a Christian employee.” The danger of seeing ourselves as a Christian first and a spouse second is we can find ourselves believing the lie I bought into at the time: “If I can be a good pastor, I can please God even though I am not the best husband.” The truth is that I was a poor husband, and I should have recognized that meant I was not pleasing the Lord.Continue reading Marriage is a reflection of our relationship with Christ
Husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves based on Ephesians 5:26–27:
That [Christ] might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
This is discussing what Christ does with His, Bride, the Church. Since the context is marriage, it’s also explaining what husbands should do with their wives. Christ “sanctifies and cleanses” His bride, so husbands should sanctify and cleanse their brides. This makes a husband at least partially responsible for his wife’s sanctification.
Watch the short video of Katie and I discussing the answer and/or read the transcript below…
Just as Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself, so husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves
There is a tremendous truth contained in these words. Christ does what He does in verse 26—sanctifying and cleansing the church—so that He can obtain for Himself the glorious church, or bride, described in verse 27 that “has no spot or wrinkle but is holy and without blemish.” The simplest way to say it is: Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself.Continue reading Husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves
“Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?”
This is a good question to understand, because many people don’t think there’s a difference between a wife loving her husband and respecting him. This leaves many women thinking they respect their husbands, while the husbands are not feeling respected. Watch the short video of Katie and I discussing the answer and/or read the transcript below…
Can a wife love her husband without respecting him? Not only would I say it’s possible, I would say it’s common! Most women will say they love their husbands, and I believe they do. But many of these same wives might not respect their husbands. I’ve met men who have told me they feel loved by their wives but not respected.
In marriage counseling, when I hear wives expressing their frustrations about their husbands, it typically sounds like this: “I don’t feel that my husband loves me. I wish my husband loved me more. He never tells me he loves me.” But when husbands express frustration, it more often sounds like this: “I wish my wife respected me more. I wish my wife followed my lead. I wish my wife supported my decisions.”
In truth, it is much easier for a wife to say she loves her husband than to show it through respect. But it is through respect that a wife expresses her love for her husband. If a wife does not show respect, her husband will not feel loved. A good perspective for couples to keep in mind is that feeling unloved is as painful to a wife as feeling disrespected is to a husband.
An example from scripture of a wife loving her husband without respecting him
We’re striving for one live session each Thursday night at 7PM PST. After we finish, I upload each video to our Marriage God’s Way YouTube channel. Please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any videos!
I have to say this is much more in Katie’s comfort zone than mine. I like to plan things out in detail. By the time I preach a sermon, I like to have invested a lot of time polishing it. I wouldn’t mind the videos so much if they weren’t live. The inability to start over is particularly nerve-wracking, but this is the only way to participate with us. People can post thoughts, questions, contributions, etc in the comments section while we’re recording.
Below are the three most recent videos we’ve done. I’ll provide a brief explanation of each, so you can decide which to watch.
Wives, embrace your husband’s leadership style, from Chapter Fourteen.
Husbands, you get the wife you prepare for yourself, from Chapter Nine. Ephesians 5:26-27 says Christ “sanctifies and cleanses the church…that He might present her to Himself a glorious [bride]”. Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself, and since this is a marriage passage it contains the same application for husbands with their wives.
Developing a strong marriage takes daily investment– you can’t set it and forget it. Relationships are ever changing, because people and life are ever changing. With intentional changes, you can build a stronger marriage and go deeper with your spouse.
Here are 3 ways you can build a stronger marriage-
1. Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt
There are going to be times in which your spouse says or does something that hurts your feelings. It can be easy to jump to conclusions that they did the offensive thing on purpose. Just because they know you better than anyone else, doesn’t mean that they always know how their actions will affect you.
Instead of concluding that they did something intentionally, give them the benefit of the doubt. Believing that they meant to hurt you will cause your defenses to go up. Going to them about an issue when you are defensive will usually lead to unnecessary fighting.
Rather than believing that they were trying to hurt you, consider that they did it unknowingly. Your spouse is not your enemy, but you can make them out to be if you don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.
2. Become a Lifelong Student of Your Spouse
My husband, Austin, says that I’m his favorite subject and that he is committed to studying me for the rest of his life. Boy do I give him a lot to learn.
Over the last few years, my husband and I have had some major breakthroughs communicating with each other. I feel that we have always had a great foundation communicating, but we were still missing the mark with each other. This is not to say that we have it all figured out, but there are a few things that we have discovered that keeps couples from communicating well.
Listening To Their Words Doesn’t Equal Understanding
We are told over and over again that all we have to do is really listen to our spouse. I can tell you that there have been plenty of times that I have intently listened to my husband and still didn’t understand what he was communicating. Why isn’t listening enough?
You Aren’t Speaking The Same Language
If I were listening to someone speak another language, I would have little idea of what they were trying to communicate. This happens in our native language as well. Words do not have the same meaning to everyone. One person in the relationship will say something as clearly as they know how and the other will not interpret it correctly.
My husband and I have very different ideas of the meaning of the word relax. For him, relax means to sit in front of the television and do nothing for the rest of the day. To me, relax means to leave the house and go do something so I can shut off the working part of my brain.
Also, before we go any further, let me encourage you encourage you to check out Scott’s book, Marriage God’s Way. You’ll be blessed and it will help strengthen the communication – among other things – in your relationship!
If you have any questions, contact Scott personally. He’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 977-2877.
The love God has for the world: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The love man has for sin: John 3:19 This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The love husbands are commanded to have for their wives: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Another word for love is phileō, and it refers to strong affection or brotherly kindness. This is…
The beginning of words like philosophy (love of wisdom), philanthropy (love of fellow man), or philharmonic (love of music).
Used of the religious leaders who “love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets” (Matt 6:5).
The way Mary and Martha described Jesus’ feelings for Lazarus when they said, “he whom You love (phileō) is sick” (John 11:3).
You see the two words – agapaō and phileō – used together when Jesus repeatedly asked Peter if he had agapaō for Him. Since Peter was humbled by his recent denials, he wouldn’t tell Jesus His love for Him was unconditional; instead he said he had phileō for Him (John 21:15-17).
Now the most interesting use of phileō…
Titus 2:3-4 says “older women” are to “admonish the young women to love their husbands.” This word for love is phileō. So even though husbands are to have agapaō for their wives, wives are to have phileō for their husbands. Why aren’t wives expected to have the same sacrificial, unconditional love for their husbands that husbands are to have for their wives? Is it that husbands don’t want or need that kind of love? I don’t think that’s it at all: I think it’s that wives are to love their husbands differently than husbands are to
love their wives. Wives are to love their husbands by being their friends. I think most men – myself included – would say it can be very discouraging and trying at times being a husband, father, provider, spiritual leader, and everything else that falls on most men’s shoulders. Can having a wife with sacrificial, unconditional love be encouraging? Yes. But what could be even more encouraging?
Having a best friend.
What does it look like when a wife isn’t a friend to her husband, when she doesn’t phileō him? It’s described in Proverbs:
Her “contentions are a continual dripping” (19:13b, 27:15),
She makes him want “to dwell in a corner of a housetop” (21:9a, 25:24) or “in the wilderness” (Pro 21:19a).
But when a wife has phileō for her husband, when she is his best friend, “the heart of her husband safely trusts her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro 31:11-12).