The following are some truths that I have learned recently in a Bible study I attend. One of my mentors and elders at Grace Church, Carlos Chung, has really helped me understand from Scripture my role as the decision maker in the home. I hope that some things I have been learning will help you bring glory to Christ in your marriage!
The Bible is clear that men and women are both equally God’s image bearers (Genesis 1:27), and therefore equal before God and with one another, both fellow-heirs in their lives together and in their relationship before God (1 Peter 3:7; Galatians 3:28). Yet Scripture is also clear that men and women are called to different yet equally important marital roles. I want to spotlight the role of men as leaders, focused especially on the role of the husband as the decision maker in marriage. God has chosen the husband to lead his wife and family spiritually into following the Lord’s will for their lives according to Scriptures. This is how God has ordained that the wife and family be spiritually supported, loved, and cared for as God desires. So how does this practically work out? Let’s consider a few principles on how the husband is to make biblical decisions, and then follow with the wife’s role next post.
This might seem contradictory, but when it comes to the husband as leader of the home, making decisions is just the tip of the iceberg. The CHARACTER of the man behind each decision is what is most important. A husband can make right decisions but have terrible character. What a man believes behind every decision is of utmost importance.
I believe that God’s design is for the man to lead practically and spiritually by making decisions. Certainly a man should consult his wife’s opinion with every decision possible, but where opinions differ, a family ultimately can’t stay at an impasse. The husband should then have the final say. Why? Because the husband will ultimately be held accountable for the marriage and the decisions made in the marriage. When a decision is not jointly agreed upon, the man must step up to make it because he knows that he is responsible foremost unto God for that decision.
Paul reminds believers in I Timothy 2:13-14 that the husband is the leader. We know that Eve sinned first, yet Adam, as the leader, is ultimately held accountable. Ultimately, men you will be held accountable for all the decisions made and all the decisions that were NOT made for your family. Because men will be held accountable and will stand before God for how they manage their homes, they need to be committed to help in decision making!
Wives, because you husbands will stand before God and give an accounting, you must help your husbands to make wise and biblical decisions. This decision making is illustrated in the Church in the way pastors/elders are entrusted with decision making.
So we have laid the groundwork that men should be the ultimate decision-makers. The next logical question is, “how are men to practically think through making decisions?”
According to Ephesians 5:22-29, the husband is commanded to love and care for his wife first and foremost on a daily basis. A husband who leads like Christ constantly reevaluates his motive, which should start and end with love. All that he does must be from love for his wife, and from a desire for what is best for her. Caring for his wife must be his ultimate priority.
Although men are called by God to lead their families, men need to constantly ask themselves, “Do I have my wife’s best interests in mind with this decision?”
Always try to ask yourself if your decision will improve or hurt your wife’s mental, physical, spiritual security and peace. If your wife is not happy with your decision, it may not be in her best interest. If it comes down to a choice between two destination options for vacation, why not seek your wife’s well-being?
The biggest reason there is such a debate about whether men ought to be leaders in a marriage relationship is because far too often men do not lead their wives in humility.
While men may be called by God to lead their wives, they are also commanded to lead with selflessness.
Philippians 2:3 says,
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”
If men put this verse into practice as they make decisions, my best guess is that it would solve 95 percent of the issues faced. Most wives will not resist leadership that is selfless, humble, and Christlike. Think of it as a race to the bottom of the list. Men, we are called to serve our wives, even if it will cost you your life. Making decisions with her best interests in mind is the best place to start.
The Ultimate Example
Jesus is the consummate example of true servant leadership. He gave up His rights in order to save us (Philippians 2). Men, may we ask God for the grace to be observant of the fears, sorrows and cares of our wife. Our wives are our helpmates, and a second set of eyes and perspective will greatly aid us. We will be very foolish if we fail to listen to our wives as we make decisions.
One last thought: men do not have to make all the decisions! Men should delegate things to their wives and then back the wife’s best choice. When it comes to most decisions, men can and should often defer to their wives and seek their wisdom in the situation. Don’t elevate your preferences. More often than not, your wife is losing if you get what you want. So if around this Valentines day you get a $200 work bonus, buy that new dress for your wife over a new power tool!
It is imperative that I remind us all that loving and serving God should ultimately come before the needs of one’s spouse. If a decision comes between loving your wife or God, the Scripture is clear that allegiance to our King is first and foremost.
The level of pain may be more immediate or more pronounced when I don’t please my wife, but allegiance to God is much more vital. Men are called to make the biblical decision, even if it doesn’t always make our wives happy.
And remember that the best fuel for men to extravagantly love and serve their spouses is to ask, “What is God’s love for us like?” The essence of His love for us is reflected in His commitment and His sacrifice for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what our love for our wife needs to look like too. For me, it often means placing her needs ahead of my own, even when we disagree.
May we all be quick to remember the little line in the marriage vows we spoke on our wedding day to both God and man, “Forsaking all others, until death do us part.” God will use your relationship with your spouse more than anything else to make you more like Christ. And ultimately, that is His purpose for marriage!