We now turn our study to the role of the husband within a marriage.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
Paul uses the creation story to show that man is the head of woman. Notice Paul does not say that a man should be the head. He says that man is the head. Men are leading in their home even if they leading very poorly. A man who let’s his wife lead is a man who is leading poorly. Paul uses hair styles to show how shameful it is for a woman to be acting outside of her husband’s authority. He ends by saying that this is teaching on headship is the same in all of Christ’s Church.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33
The husband’s headship is not one of hard-handed authority and rage. It is one of sacrificial love. A man is to change his wife by giving of himself for her good and discipling her in the Word of God. The word husband simply means “gardener.” A man must tend to his wife so that she grows and becomes beautiful and fruitful.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
A man must seek to know his wife and honor her. He is not to use his superior strength or size to abuse her, instead he is to use his strength to protect her and care for her. He is to be mindful that she is a child of God as he is. How a man treats his wife will affect whether God answers his prayers.
A man is the leader in his home. He is either leading well, or he is leading poorly. His leadership is to be one of loving self-sacrifice for the holiness of his wife. He is to be making her beautiful, healthy, and pure. He is to give up of himself for her good.
“You can tell a man’s character by the countenance of his wife.”