Authority In Marriage

This topic is perhaps the hardest for a couple to understand and follow. We live in a society that emphasizes the equality between sexes. And we are equal in the eyes of God. The problem is that our society cannot recognize the difference between equality and authority.

Equality And Authority

There is nothing wrong in saying that males and females are equal. In the eyes of God, we are equal. We are equally important and valuable to Him. We are also capable of having equal intelligence. However, males and females usually look at and solve problems differently. And sometimes this is a very good thing.

However, in every other way, we are not equal. God did not create us to be equal; He created us to complement each other. This is what happens in a Biblical marriage. When a man and a woman find that they complement and complete each other, they can have a wonderful marriage. This is how God planned it. They do not have to compete anymore because they realize that they both bring different strengths into the marriage.

However, when it comes to authority, everything is different. Remember this, when one person has more authority than another, it does not mean that one person is more important than the other. Look at any business. For instance, who is more important, the president (CEO) or the treasurer (CFO) of that business? The president has more authority, but the treasurer can make or break a business faster than any other person in that business. This makes him/her more important to that business than the president.

The very same thing is true in a marriage. God designated who is to be the head (the president) in a marriage. But this certainly does not make him more important than his wife. In fact, the wife may just be the more important one because she is the one that stabilizes and keeps harmony in the family.

Marriage Negates Our Own Rights

Before you get upset with me, hear me out. The Bible is very explicit when it comes to what our relationship should be within a marriage. He did this for a very specific reason. Remember, men and women are different. That is how God created us. Thus, He specified how we need to relate to each other within a marriage.

The first thing that we need to remember is that when we marry, both the husband and wife give up our own rights. We surrender them to our spouse. Yes, we still have our own interests and we will do many different things. However, no matter what we do, we do it, thinking about how it will affect our spouse. In any successful marriage, spouses put each other first.

This is one of the biggest reasons that there are so many divorces in America, even among Christians. Women are just not ready to surrender their rights to their spouse. And husbands are not ready to take the leadership in the marriage that God commands them to do. However, unless we do, there will always be friction. And if this friction gets big enough, divorce in inevitable.

Marriage will often require us to give up much of what we had planned for ourselves while we were single. This applies to both the husband and the wife. However, as we will see, God gave the husband a very special function within the marriage. This is why the husband’s choice of vocation should take precedence over the wife’s.

However, in our modern world, sometimes this is just not practical. For instance, if the wife’s career is already established, it might be more practical for the husband to change his. This need to be worked out before the marriage takes place. This is where the husband needs to make the right decision as the head of the house.

The Husband Is The Head Of The Wife

Why did God say this? Why did He command that the husband was to be the head of the wife and thus, the head of the family? Whole books have been written on this. But the reason can be summed up as follows. God made men stronger so that he could protect his family. In order to protect his family, his family needs to follow his instructions.

As a very simple illustration, how can a husband physically protect his wife if she insists on going out by herself in dangerous parts of the city? He cannot. The same thing is true in the spiritual realm. If a wife wants to receive the spiritual protection of her husband, she must obey him, so he can protect her.

Thus, the truth that God is trying to get us to understand is that in order for the husband to protect his wife (both physically and spiritually), she must obey him. This is why Ephes. 5:22 (NKJV) says: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” And again in Ephes. 5:24 (NKJV): “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

Too many times, husbands jump right on this in the wrong way. “Now my wife has to do what I say.” Wait a minute. Did you read what God said about you, as the husband? Ephes. 5:25 (NKJV): “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Does this sound like dictator to you? Or does it sound like a servant, willing to serve and protect his wife?

Look at what Jesus did. Philip. 2:8 (NKJV): “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” The verses before this show how Jesus gave up His position as God and took on humanity. He gave up His power as God to take on the position of a servant to the human race.

Yes, Jesus is still God, and He still has authority over us, yet He took on the form of a servant. He came to the earth, took on humanity and died for our sins.

Husbands, are you willing to do this for your wife? Are you willing to put her first in your life? Are you willing to put aside your own desires for her good?

Husbands, are you willing to love her, not for what you can get out of it, but loving her to make her life better? Are you willing to lead in ways to make her life better, rather then to just make your own life better?

Wives Respect Your Husband

Your husband is commanded to love you. Are you willing to respect him? Even when he doesn’t do what you think that he should be doing? Remember what Ephes. 5:23 (NKJV) says: “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Notice what I underlined. If your husband has committed himself to be the head of the family in the same way that Christ is the head of the Church, you need to respect (trust) him. No, he is not perfect, he will make mistakes. But remember, God will honor his intensions and good will come out of it because he is trying to do what God is leading him to do.

Wives, you do have a very important role to play in your marriage. As I said, your husband is not perfect (do I even need to say this?). If you can see that your husband is making the wrong decisions, you need to talk to him about them. However, make sure that God has given you very good reasons for him to change his mind.

If you can clearly show good reasons that he should make other decisions, a good godly husband will listen and make the correct changes. However, do not think that he will automatically change his decision just because you have said that he should. He may have clearly heard from God and knows why he should not change his mind.

Also, if your husband is trying to follow God’s will for you (as a couple), God will honor his decisions and the outcome will be beneficial to the both of you.

Remember you will have a much more harmonious marriage if you look for and then praise the Christ-like leadership in him than if you scold and nag him over his perceived failures.


Leave a Reply