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Marriage: Foundations & Principles – Lesson 3: The Role of the Husband

Scripture Verse: Ephesians 5:23; I Peter 3:7.


Have you ever worked for a company that didn’t define your role as an employee? Confusion and disappointment were most likely every-day occurrences because you didn’t know what you were supposed to do. Believe it or not, the same confusion and frustration is present in many marriages because husbands and wives don’t know their job definition. Successful performance is hindered by ignorance. Therefore, it’s important to specifically define the role of both the husband and wife.

The husband’s role encompasses a variety of things but narrowed to concrete tangibles, he is a leader and a lover. As a leader, a husband is called to figuratively wash his wife’s feet, as Jesus did his disciples’ feet; he is called to protect her from the spiritual, emotional, and physical wolves of this world; he is to give her all she needs to be successful in the Kingdom of God. Ordained by God to leadership and authority, every husband carries the burden of making decisions in times of hardship and disagreement. Even so, wisdom charges husbands to seek the counsel of their wives on every issue.

Dictatorial rule isn’t the model of leadership. Christ’s wondrous love for the Church is a husband’s model for leadership. A humbling but necessary question for every husband is this: “Am I leading my wife and children as Christ leads the Church?” This is the only standard by which husbands have been given to judge their performance.

Not only called to lead, a husband is called to love. There is no end to the love Christ has for the Church, as there should be no end to the husband’s love for his wife. Without doubt or hesitancy, a wife should be able to say she knows her husband loves and adores her more than any other person on earth.

Lesson Questions:

  1. Examine the comparison between Christ as Head of the Church and the husband as head of the wife. Ephesians 5:23; I Corinthians 11:3.
  2. True authority is founded upon servanthood and submission. How is the husband called to serve his wife? Ephesians 5:28-29; Philippians 2:3-8; I Samuel 1:8; Ruth 4:10-13.
    Note: In John 13:1-15, the model Jesus established for true leadership is servanthood. True leaders carry a towel and basin, not a scepter.
  3. Christ was sacrificed so that the Church might be pure and holy. Discuss the husband’s responsibility to crucify his desires for the welfare of his wife and family. Ephesians 5:25-27; Mark 10:45; Ephesians 1:22-23.
    Note: Just as Christ does everything for our good and our best interest, so too must husbands do everything for their wives’ best interest.
  4. Scripture teaches Christ is the Savior of the Body. Since the husband’s position is compared to Christ’s, should the husband be considered the “savior” of the wife? Ephesians 5:23-27; Isaiah 54:5.
    Note: Salvation is available to all, regardless of gender or marital status. This principle speaks to the husband’s responsibility as the family priest, called to lead his wife and children into a familial relationship with Jesus Christ.
  5. Why did God make husbands the spiritual leader of the family? I Corinthians 11:8-12; Genesis 2:21-25; I Timothy 2:13-15.
  6. The husband’s authority is derived from what source? Genesis 3:16; Colossians 3:19; I Peter 3:1.
    Note: In the above verses, wives are commanded to be in subjection to their husbands. Since they are commanded by God, it is God who gives husbands the authority to lead the family.