December 8, 2012

Biblical Masculinity In Marriage

This is the second post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?, Post Three: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 1Post Four: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 2

This will only be a brief overview of our roles as men in marriage. It won’t be super-spiritual or deeply theological, although I believe marriage is deeply spiritual and theological at its foundation because it is a picture of God’s love for us. There are many wonderful books that cover this topic in greater detail that would be worth your time in reading. I have recommended a few HERE and you can see the full list HERE.

I will try to be a bit more practical in this study since most of us know or have an idea of what God expects from us in marriage. A lot of times, I believe, we just don’t know what we are doing or how we should go about it.

Marriage – We Are to Cultivate Our Wives

  • God said it was not good for man to be alone.
  • He created woman to help him in his cultivation and they were to work together as one.
  • God created marriage, man did not. Therefore He defines its boundaries and purposes.
  • God made man the head of the family, man did not. He gives us a picture of male headship all throughout the Bible.
  • Some who argue for Egalitarianism say that male headship or patriarchy came as a result of the Fall. Others argue that when Paul made his claims of male headship in the home and church those roles and positions were only binding on that specific culture and time period.
  • Paul actually destroys both arguments by taking the basis for his claims all the way back to the Creation story and order before the Fall. He therefore says that the way God set things up are binding on all peoples of all cultures and all time periods. – 1Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13; Gen. 2
    • Woman was made for the man.
    • Woman was made after and from the man.
      • She was not made from the dirt like the rest of the animals, but from Adam’s side showing her equality with Adam in value and worth.
      • Equality is not the same as egality (See my previous post for the difference between egalitarianism & complementarianism).
    • Woman was brought to the man – as a father would give his daughter away in marriage.
    • Woman was named by the man.
    • Probably the most overlooked sign God gave us that points to male headship in the home is that after the Fall God goes looking for Adam and holds him responsible for his and Eve’s sin. Accountability and responsibility show headship.

God Instituted Male Headship in the Home – What Does This Look Like?

  • As husbands we are to humbly take up our responsibilities and serve our wives as:
    • Prophet – Proclaim and teach the Word of God in our home. Make sure that our wives and children believe correctly about God.
    • Priest – We are not, of course, her high priest or the mediator between her and God, Christ is. But, we are to pray for and with our wives and lead out in worship in our homes. Men, we set the spiritual temperature of our homes.
    • Provider – Meet her physical needs as well as her spiritual and emotional needs.
    • Protector – Protect her spiritually, physically, and emotionally from the attacks of the enemy.

Our Goal – Love Her as Christ Loved the Church

  • Our task is not small and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
  • Eph. 5:22-33
  • When men embrace true, biblical, selfless masculinity, women usually flourish.
  • Scripture always addresses the woman first when talking about marriage. Why? Wouldn’t it make sense to address the man first? The reason is simple.  No man can lead a woman who refuses to be led.
    • Most women, by nature of their flesh, will rail against male authority and leadership. God cursed the woman’s mind at the Fall. “Your desire will be for your husband”. This is not the good type of desire. It is the desire to usurp his authority by force or manipulation.
  • It is extremely important that we get marriage right because it is a beautiful picture that God has chosen to use as a symbol of His love for us in the Gospel. – Eph. 5:32
  • Loving our wives as Christ loved the church is not some ambiguous, mushy love.
    • He gave Himself. He sacrificed for Her good. He provides and protects.
    • This is not hard to understand; hard to do, yes, but we can understand this command.
  • Christ initiated His relationship with the Church. We didn’t go searching for Him. He came to us. We should lead out in our homes in initiation.
    • Give forgiveness freely.
    • Take initiation in seeing the relationship grow and improve.
      • Good marriages don’t just happen because you are both Christians. It will take work.
  • We are to love and “nourish” her whole person (body, mind, and spirit). She is not there for your sexual pleasure only.

A Few More Words

Before we move on to some practical applications I want to point out a few things I believe we forget as husbands. These thoughts weren’t in my original notes, just a few things God brought to mind as I continued to dwell on this topic.

  • Men, your wife needs you. No one can replace you or fulfill your role in the home!
  • If you are looking to have authority in the church or be looked upon as a man of wisdom who can help others and give guidance, learn how to love your wife and children well. God, through Paul, tells us that this is what qualifies a man to be looked at as a leader.
  • Your wife is first and foremost God’s daughter. Way before she is your wife she is a child of the most high God!
  • In being God’s child, as you are, she is also your sister in Christ before she is your wife.
    • These are the relationships that will not disappear or fade when we go to be with Christ. We will not be married in Heaven (Mt. 22:30). But we will be God’s children and therefore siblings forever.
  • Then, she is your wife. You are a steward of her life, not a master! God has given you His daughter for you to love, care for, nourish, and point her to Him as the One who will fulfill her.
  • She is your helper, not your servant. She is to help you as you fulfill God’s call on your life to cultivate family, church, community, business, etc.

Practical Applications

This list of suggestions are just that – suggestions. I am not you. My wife is not your wife. You guys have your own relationship. This is just to give you an idea of things you can try in order to help your marriage grow. This is also not meant for you to look at and compare yourself to. I do NOT have it all together, nor have I “arrived” as a husband. If you are doing a few of these things, none of theses things, or nothing at all do not beat yourself down and stop trying. If you know you have not been the husband God has commanded you to be (join the club), then repent. Run to Christ, not away from Him. Move forward in His strength by His grace and Spirit. Confess your shortcomings to your wife and model repentance in your home by changing.

  • Seek Christ. The BEST thing you can do for your marriage is humbly and diligently seek God and grow in Christ-likeness by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Get counsel and accountability. You cannot carry this God-given weight of family leadership on your own. If you try to, you will either put the weight down, shirking your responsibilities, or it will crush you and you will wallow in defeat and self-pity. Depend on the power of the Spirit and surround yourself with godly friends and mentors who will help you in this task. If need be seek marriage counseling from a pastor or Christian marriage counselor. There is NO SHAME in this! There will be difficult seasons in which you both need some help getting beyond. Your marriage doesn’t have to be on the brink of divorce for you guys to go to counseling.
  • Be there. Most women feel loved with quality time and gentle touch.
    • Time out with the guys is good and has its place, but your focus should be homeward.
    • This may mean cutting out some hobbies or finding ones that don’t cut into family time, cutting back time at work, not being involved in so many ministries at your church, etc.
  • Date nights. This is a must, especially if you have small kids! This doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. But, get her out of the house regularly with just you.
  • Communication. Talk to her. Ask her what’s going on in her life (it’s all too easy to live in the same house with someone and not know what’s happening in their life). Ask her how you can love her better. Don’t get angry at her answer or try to defend yourself. Be quiet and listen.
  • Read a book together. Take time to discuss sections of the book. Have the same Bible reading plan and talk about what you are learning.
  • Take the lead spiritually. Teaching the kids, family devotions, etc. Don’t make her carry the full load that you were designed to carry. This lets her know that you are about your family. This will help her soul.
  • Pray for and with her. This, for some reason, is very difficult for most men, but extremel beneficial for you both.
  • Help her with the house work. Don’t complain when she’s has a rough day (or week) and the house is a mess. Dig in and help. Ask her how you can help and serve her.
    • Over the last several years God has used multiple circumstances to work me over in this area. It was a hard lesson to learn, but as I humbly serve my wife because I love Christ, God has blessed and grown our marriage.
  • Help her guard her time. Schedules are busy and getting busier. Don’t let her get stretched too thin with everyone else’s schedule (or her own). Make sure she has time alone with God and plenty of down time to rest. She will run herself ragged trying to do it all thinking that she’s doing the right things and helping out. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it is necessary.
  • Keep in touch throughout the day if your job allows it (calls, texts, etc.).
  • Occasionally bring home something just for her to let her know you were thinking about her that day.

We have a big job. But it is a fulfilling job – lead our homes.

I’d love to hear other ways you have found to love your wife well. Let us know with a comment below.

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