by Matt Slick
Marriage is a sacred institution established by God for the primary purpose of bringing Him glory. It's main purpose is not, as some think, to procreate, or to have companionship, or to fulfill sexual needs. No. It's primary purpose is to bring glory and honor to God. It is only in marriage that we are able to carry out the commission of God to replenish the earth and to subdue it. This commission by God can only be properly accomplished in marriage where the husband and wife in faithful, covenantal relationship purpose to glorify God by having children, raising them in a godly fashion, and sending them out into the world having trained them in the ways of the Lord. This is what marriage is for. It is outward focused (for God's glory), not inward centered (for our comfort).
Unfortunately, in this world of feminism the biblical role of women has been compromised. Too many Christian men don't know how to be men since, unfortunately, many of them learn "manhood" from one of two main role models on TV: the wimpy, bumbling male buffoon who is the object of laughter or the macho stud who can kill thousands with his bare hands and then go fornicate his brains out. Add to this sad state of affairs the unbiblical allowance of teenage rebellion and disrespect (due mostly to parental failure) and it is obvious that families are under attack. What is a Christian family to do?
The answer is simple. Men, it starts with you. So listen up. You are the ones responsible for your families. You are the ones who are the heads of your families. This is how God set the family structure up. God made the first married couple in a certain order and gave them certain duties. Adam was made first and God put him in charge of the Garden (Gen. 2:7,15). Adam looked for a helpmate from among all the animals and found none suitable (Gen. 2:19-20). So, God made Eve to aid him in the commission God had given Adam (Gen. 2:22). It was Eve's purpose to aid Adam in accomplishing the will of God. Furthermore, remember that sin entered the world through Adam, not Eve, even though she sinned first (Rom. 5:12). God addressed Adam for the failure, not Eve. To use an analogy, it was Adam who was the captain of the ship and when it went aground, he was the one God came to. Therefore, the responsibility of the family falls on the man. If you don't like it, that is too bad. That is how God set it up.
The healing of the Christian family begins with the head: the husband. The husband needs to take the helm and lead the family in spiritual matters -- whether he likes it or not. He can't be perfect at it and that's okay, but he is responsible for carrying out his duties as a husband and for loving his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). This is a very tall order to love his wife as Jesus loves us. But that is our calling. It is love in the family, lead and exemplified by the husband that sets the tone of the marriage. He is responsible for the well being of the family. It is to Him that God will come and require an account. This is serious business and the man needs to take it seriously.
Aside from the unfortunate reality where women must lead due to divorce, widowhood, separation, etc., if the woman is the leader in the family it is because the man has not taken his proper place. The man is the spiritual head, the discipler of the family (1 Cor. 14:34-35), the teacher, the one responsible for the the material, financial, and spiritual well being of his family (1 Tim. 5:8). It is a tall order, but it is simply the way it is. And one more thing: a family is a family by virtue of the covenant bond of marriage. It does not become a family once children arrive. Children are welcomed into the family at birth and need to be taught how to be proper, godly members of God's covenant family.
But what of the wife? What is her responsibility in marriage? It is simple. She is to respect, honor, and support her husband (Eph. 5:33). She is to encourage him to be the leader. She is to not undermine his position has head. This means that wives should not show him disrespect by speaking ill of him behind his back to anyone else. In addition, though many women will not like it, the woman's primary responsibility is to take care of the home (Tit. 2:3-5) and to make it a suitable place for the family to dwell as she aids her husband and nurtures the children (1 Thess. 2:7) with love (Tit. 2:4).
Of course, the husband and wife are both responsible for overlapping and helping each other as they love one another (1 Cor. 13), but the primary duty of a husband is to love and provide. The primary duty of a wife is to nurture and respect.
Is this important? Absolutely! Is it popular? No. But, it is what God calls us to do as Christians. So I ask you, how important is your family to you? How seriously are you considering them before God, not just in provision, but in love, nurturing, honor, training, and godly upbringing?