The more completely a husband is submitted to the Lord and His will, the more effective he will be as a husband and leader. He will become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He will have more fruit of the Spirit evident in his life (Gal 5:22, 23; Eph 5:8-10). He will be more Christ-like in everything he does. As a husband submits to the Lord, he takes on more of the character of Christ in his own life.
THE NEED FOR PRAYERFUL HEADSHIP
God has established His order for marriage: the husband is to provide Christ-like headship and his wife is to submit to (come under) his loving authority (Eph 5:22-33). This is the order God has ordained, and it is the only order God honors and supports. It is simple in concept, yet challenging to practice every day in marriage!
At times, things may be difficult between a husband and wife. The husband may become selfish or uncaring in his role as head. Or the wife may be reluctant to submit to her husband’s authority. [Note: “The Biblical Role Of A Christian Wife” (page 30) instructs wives on true, biblical submission.]
For the husband whose wife is unwilling or reluctant to submit, the first thing he should do is pray. A husband should pray for his wife, and seek for God’s wisdom, grace and patience. God may bring correction to the husband for an improper attitude or desire. Or the Holy Spirit may bring conviction and change to the wife’s heart. Prayer frees God to work in you, your marriage and your spouse! Prayer is always the first thing to do when there is conflict in a marriage.
Likewise, when the wife submits to her husband’s authority in faith, patience and trust in God, it is God Who takes responsibility for the husband. As the wife does what is right in God’s order for marriage, God is free to work in her, her husband and the marriage (see 1 Peter 3:1, 2).
God does not expect husbands and wives to accomplish His order by their own striving. God established the order for marriage. Thus, He will make available all His grace, strength, wisdom, patience and love to any couple desiring to live in obedience to Him.
WHAT HEADSHIP PROVIDES
When a husband provides Christ-like headship to his family, with a heart of service and sacrifice, God can use him to accomplish His purposes.
HEADSHIP BUILDS UP AND EDIFIES
A husband’s Christ-like headship will edify and build up the members of his family. His words and actions should model the love and encouragement of Christ.
As a husband honors his wife and treats her with courtesy and respect, the children learn the principles of godly headship. A husband’s love for his wife helps release her to respect, love and trust him in return. She will also more readily submit to his leadership.
A Christ-like husband also understands the importance of his part in raising the children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4, nas). The Lord has placed both a father and mother in the home. They are to both act as the Lord’s hands and voice to teach and train the children He has given them. Disciplining and instructing children as the Lord would do is an essential part of the husband’s role in edifying the family. The training of children is not to be left only to the mother. The husband is required by the Lord to take part in the process (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21).