HUSBAND’S ROLE IN MARRIAGE—Part One
1 Peter 1:1-7 (literal translation)
“Likewise, you husbands dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered.”
In our day, marriage. Infidelity is sky-rocketing. Marriages are falling apart at the rate of one out of every three nationally, one of every two in California, that is, every other marriage in California ends in divorce. It seems like the only answer that people have if they get into a little deep water in their marriage is ditch the ship, divorce. You know that is something like having front frontal lobotomy when you have a head-ache. Now some people are just like that. They do not have the maturity, they do not have the development to face their problem and fully address the situation.
We have looked at the role of the wife for the last three weeks. We found that her role is essentially from the word “submit,” which means to arrange her life under her husband. That meets the basic, essential, fundamental need of the husband, which is achievement.
We come to the role of the husband in 1 Peter 3:7. He has an entirely different role than his wife. The role of the husband is different because the nature of the woman is different from the nature of the man. The nature of the man centers in achievement, but the nature of the woman revolves around security in her husband’s love for her. As you can imagine, the Word of God fits right into that particular need.
Let us look at another passage just for a moment in First Samuel. In this passage we have a particular husband’s estimate of himself. We are beginning to read at verse four. “And when the time was that EJkanah offered, he gave to Peninah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion: for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb, And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret (she was worried) because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her (that is, her adversary); therefore she wept and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband, to her, Hannah, why weep you.? and why eat you not? and why is your heart (your mental attitude) grieved? why are you so depressed? (catch this) am I not better to you than ten sons?”
What gall! Here is a woman who wants to fulfill the basic need to have a child. This guy comes along and says I am better than ten sons. What audacity!
1Samuel 1:9-10, “So Hannah, rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, (she still carried that bitterness even after he had informed her that he was such a wonderful person and that he could be as much to her as ten sons. How could she still be bitter after having a husband like that!).
“And prayed unto the Lord and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, 0 Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give unto your handmaid a man child, then will I give unto the Lord all the days of his life (this child) and there shall no razor come upon his head” (that is, he will completely be set aside unto the Lord).
And after she prayed in verse 18 she said, “Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat and her countenance was no more sad 11 (She believed the Lord.) “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned to their house to Ramah; and Elkanah, the husband knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” This woman received her child by faith, not from her haughty husband!
The role of the husband in the United States has really become twisted from a biblical viewpoint. After World War II it was discovered that 2 ½ million men were rejected from the services for neurotic and psychotic purposes. Just about everyone began to look for the culprit. Who is responsible for all this neurosis? Who was responsible? Eureka! They found the culprit! Do you know who it was? It was mom. The psychologists called this syndrome “momism.” The apron strings were nothing more than umbilical cords of emotion for these boys. They could not take the discipline of the army. They could endure the rigors of military service. They fell apart emotionally.
Later it was discovered that it was not an over-protective mother, but it was a mother who was detached, a mother who did not care, a mother who did not get involved with her son. The pendulum swung to the other side.
Then someone had the audacity to suggest the possibly that it was the husband, the father, and not the mother. The father is too busy He was so enamored with all of the things that he has to do, he just does not have time for his boys. Then Margaret Mead, the great sociologist, came up with the idea that we must asked the father to get involved in the PTA, the Little League and other organizations that would involve the father with his sons. Now we have a thoroughly domesticated the male homosapien that he has lost his masculinity. The pendulum keeps swinging, trends and counter-trends, as to the role of the husband in marriage.
The Bible has very concrete things to say about the husband’s role in marriage. We have already looked at the wife’s role in marriage, let us look at the husband’s role.
Verse 7, “Likewise,” the wife has responsibility and in this verse the husband has responsibility in marriage. “Oh, you mean the husband has some responsibility? I thought it was the wife’s responsibility to be the keeper at home. I deeded it was her duty to take care of the children. After all, I must go out arid bring home the bacon. I have to struggle in the salt mines at work.”
“Likewise,” remember we had that word in verse 1 for the you wives. The context goes all the way back to verses 11 and 12, “Dearly beloved I beg you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your behavior honest among the Gentiles that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” You have a responsibility to glorify God as a husband. How do you glorify God as a husband?
Note the word “dwell…” Do you know what the word “dwell” is literally? “Dwell” comes from two words meaning to be at home and with. The idea is to be at home with your life, to domesticate with your wife. This has sexual implications to be sure, but it is far broader than that. It means that the husband has responsibilities toward his wife domestically.
Sometimes husband become so busy, so enamored with their jobs that they forget about their family. This is especially true when it comes to their wives. He is as busy as a bee but someday he may find his honey is gone!
“Likewise you husbands domesticate with your wives.” There is strong emphasis in the Greek on the word “with.” “’With” means together, to share life with the wife.
I want to re-translate the next phrase because the English cannot bring out the full idea, “Accord.mg to the standard of experiential knowledge.” Husband are to domesticate or live with their wives according to the standard of experiential knowledge.
Now we have covered six verses for the wife but there is only one for the husband. There is more in this one verse for the husband than all six verses or the wife.
A woman related that her marriage and said, “You know I knew my husband for 18 months before we were marriage. However, I really did not become acquainted with him until I asked him for money.” That is about the story with many marriages. Very few people know each other adequately before they marry. They were attracted to certain things about each other, but they rarely reach a point of self-revelation.
A husband said, “My wife, all she thinks about is money, money, money.” A sympathetic friend asked, “Well what does she do with it?” The husband answered, “Beats me, I don’t know, I never give her any.” This is a man who does not dwell with his wives according to experiential knowledge.
Very few men know why their wife nags them. It never occurred to them that do not meet the central need of their wives. They view the nature of their wives like they view themselves. As we have seen in previous studies, the fundamental need of the husband is different from the wife.
There are a number of Greek words for knowledge. One is oida, that word means academic knowledge. Another is gnosko which means experiential knowledge. The husbands need to understand the implications of experiential knowledge. I am going to give you a list of experiential knowledge that the husband should have toward his wife:
Be gentle and kind. Husbands do not have to be some kind of a creep to be gentle. Gentleness does not have feminine implications. In fact, the man who can be gentle is truly strong. He sees his wife as a finely tuned instrument. He does not retort in kind, get back or get at his wife. A man can do this when he is inwardly strong.
Make her feel wanted and needed. One of the biggest complaints of women is that their husband takes them for granted, “He does not give me adequate attention. He never asks about what is important to me. He has his own projects and interests, but he gives very little attention to mine.” A woman needs to feel that she is wanted.
Appeal to her. Part of experiential knowledge of a wife is that she has to feel that you desire her, that she has significance to you. She wants to know that you esteem her enough to buy her flows. Appeal to her concretely.
Give her approval. “Honey, it is wonderful to spend time with you. I appreciate all that you do. I know that most of what you do is behind the scenes, but I see them and appreciate all you do. I can’t think of anyone other than you with whom I would rather spend time.”
Be a man. If a woman is not a neurotic she wants a man for a husband. It is true that women come to the place where they have been rubbed the wrong way so often and for such a long time that they have become callous to their essential need as a woman. When she does this, she takes the leadership and reins of the home, a role for which God did not deign her. There is a tendency for a woman to let her husband lean on her emotionally; that is her nature. But she will hate you for it.
I counseled a woman that you do not know. Her husband died. She was now in her sixties and carried a great guilt complex about her former relationship to her husband. She did not know what her problem was when she came for counseling, but she knew something bothered her. All through her life she ruled the roost; she dominated her husband. She decided almost all factors about their lives. But I told her something that she did not want to hear. She wanted to talk about her guilt, but I said, “you hated him, didn’t you?” She paused for a long time then broke down crying. For the first time in her life she recognized that she recognized that she hated her husband for his letting her dominate him. Her husband did not assume the role of a man in their marriage.
Make her feel desirable. “Honey, it is a pleasure to be with you. I can’t wait to come home to be with you. I think of you often throughout the day.” The husband must put his wife in the framework of acceptance.
Be financially responsible. People who spend their money on escape mechanisms are not responsible. An escapist mentality does not deal with things as they are but as they wish them to be. Financial responsibility requires objective analysis. To spend without regard to one’s true financial situation is irresponsibility in marriage.
Set the emotional tone in the home. This is a difficult category for men to come to terms with. If the husband is critical of others and carries bitterness about life, then a tone in the home is set. Both wife and children will live with those attitudes.
Know her moods. Women are chemical creatures. There are times of the month when she may not be in the greatest mood. This is chemical, not attitudinal. Why blame her for something chemical in her body? She is not blue because she decided to be that way. It is important to recognize her ups and downs.
Protect and shield her. A wife wants her husband to protect her. He should never run her down in public. Give her emotional security by being there for her.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the only way that you can become a biblical husband with its high standards for marriage is for you to personally receive Christ as your Savior. How do you do that? You do that by faith by believing that the cross of Christ
is the only way that your sins can be taken away. Faith excludes all effort on your part to be acceptable with God. “To him that works not (stops working for salvation) but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted (calculated) for righteousness” Romans 4:5) Do you want to start a. new home? Come to Christ. He will enable you to be the husband you should be. You can do this if you pray this prayer with me:
Lord, I cannot be right with you by good works. The only person who is acceptable to you is Jesus and He paid for my sins. I receive His forgiveness right now by faith. His death on the cross paid for my sin. Amen.