The Role of Husband and Wife

God has designed that the Christian family conform to a certain structure. Because this framework provides the stability for family life, Satan works hard to pervert God’s intended design.

First, God has ordained that the husband be the head of the family unit. This does not give the husband the right to selfishly dominate his wife and children. God has called husbands to love, protect, provide for, and lead their families as the head. God also intended that wives to be submissive to the leadership of their husbands. This is clear from Scripture:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything (Eph. 5:22-24).

The husband is not the spiritual head of his wife—Jesus is the one who fulfils that role. Jesus is the spiritual head of the church, and the Christian wife is just as much a member of the church as her Christian husband is. In the family, however, the Christian husband is the head of his wife and children, and they should be submitted to his God-given authority.

To what degree should the wife submit to her husband? She should submit to him in everything, just as Paul said. The only exception to that rule would be if her husband unless expects her to disobey the Word of God or to do something that violates her conscience. Of course, no Christian husband would ever expect his wife to do anything to violate God’s word or her conscience. The husband is not his wife’s lord—only Jesus has that place in her life. If she must choose whom to obey, she should choose Jesus.

Husbands should remember that God is not necessarily always “on the husband’s side.” God once told Abraham to do what his wife Sarah told him (see Gen. 21:10-12). Scripture also records that Abigail disobeyed her foolish husband Nabal and averted a catastrophe (see 1 Sam. 25:2-38).