Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Relationship Series: Husbands and Wives

In the last post, we discussed marriage. We delved into its two-fold purpose: procreation and representation. Procreation, as we discovered, is much more than simply “having kids,” but is a far greater calling than it is often credited. Marriage also serves to represent God, firstly in His relationship to the Church, but also in the relationship of his triune nature.

Is this really all there is to marriage, though?

If both individuals in the relationship are working toward the same two purposes, of what importance is it for a wife to be a wife and a husband to be a husband? In other words, is a wife’s role different from that of a husband’s? And if so, why?

If you read last week’s post, I hope the answer is already coming to your mind. The roles of husbands and wives are different, because they are specifically designed to fulfil the purposes of marriage. If we do not fulfil our roles as husbands and wives, we will never fulfil the purposes of marriage.

The begging question, then, is “What are the roles of husbands and wives?”

We began to answer this question in the last post, as it related to Ephesians 5 and Christ’s relationship with His Bride. Even so, there’s much more that can be learned about each of these roles:


As we like to teach to the youth at my church, there are four important roles that a husband and father has in his home: Priest, Prophet, Provider, and Protector.

A priest, in the time of the Old Covenant, was a man who would go to God on behalf of the people. He would make sacrifices in payment for the sins of the entire nation of Israel. Similarly, as the leader of our families, husbands are to represent our families before God. We are responsible for their welfare, and should be continually committed to prayer, among other things.

While a priest goes to God on behalf of the people, a prophet does the reverse; he goes to the people on behalf of God. Simply put, he is the Lord’s messenger. Therefore, as husbands, we are responsible for teaching the Word of God to our wives and children, training them in both word and action to follow Christ, preach the gospel, and defend their faith in a deceived culture.

As a provider, husbands do more than just “put food on the table.” Providing for a family spans all aspects of life: physical, spiritual, emotional, educational, and beyond. Thus, being a provider requires that we not only supply what is needed, but that we can effectively sustain what we have in all of those areas.

As with being a provider, being a protector involves much more than simple physical protection. There is so much more that threatens our families than mere physical dangers. Sinful attitudes, emotional distress, and financial instability are all things from which our homes must be protected.

This is certainly not all there is to being a Priest, Prophet, Provider, and Protector; there is much more than I can put into a single post. Even so, these elements are foundational to a proper understanding of who we must be as husbands and fathers.


In the symbolic image of Christ’s relationship to His Bride, the Church, we’ve seen that husbands and fathers must take on the same responsibilities with our families as Christ does with us. That is, just as Christ is our Priest, Prophet, Provider, and Protector, so are men to be in the home. Knowing this, what responsibility does a wife (symbolizing the Church) have?

Passages of scripture that are often cited for wives’ roles are Ephesians 5, Proverbs 31, and Titus 2. Ephesians 5 emphasizes the importance of submission, whereas Proverbs 31 nearly resembles the role of a manager. In reality, these two aspects, submission and management, are one (Titus 2 demonstrates this). However, let’s look at each separately.

In a largely feminist society, submission appears to devalue, cheat, and even abuse women. But does it really? Think about what it represents. Does the Church’s submission to Christ devalue, cheat, or abuse us? Of course not! In fact, it does the opposite. Not only this, but a wife’s submission to her husband’s authority frees her from the responsibility (and consequences) of being a Priest, Prophet, Provider, and Protector.

But what does it mean for a wife to submit? Does it mean that she becomes a slave, or that she must give up her dreams and aspirations? Once again, of course not! Submission is a yielding of authority – an acceptance of the fact that someone else is in charge. It’s resting under the protection and provision of the head.

We, as the Church, are called to submit to Christ, but we are also sent to be representatives of Christ as “managers” in His Kingdom, managing our homes, our lives, and even the gospel itself. Now, although the husband is the leader of the home, Proverbs 31 paints a picture of a woman who beautifully compliments the provision and protection of her husband by effectively managing what he has given her by his own faithful service. In this way, a wife can be a living example of the Church.


We’ve hardly scratched the surface of the roles of husbands and wives, but I hope this serves as a thought-provoking introduction into how we can represent the Lord in our lives through marriage. By faithfully fulfilling the roles that God has so wisely designed, we can truly meet the purposes of marriage and reap the overflowing blessings it brings.

With all of this understanding of marriage, the question remains:

How do I get there?  What impact does this make on dating in the twenty-first century?  We’ll be answering these questions and more in next week’s post!  

In the mean time, add your thoughts in the comment section!