What are the roles of husband and wife in the family?
In the days of our parents and grandparents, men and women had specific roles in the home. The man was already considered the head of the family and he was an authority figure. He was the one who had a paid activity, which allowed him to provide for the needs of all his family, to bring him the necessary comfort, and to live easily. As for the woman, she was considered mainly as the housekeeper of the family: she was in charge of the maintenance of the house, and the education of the children.
But what about nowadays? And what about Christian couples? What places do husbands and wives occupy within their families? Do they exercise the same roles within their family? Are their roles consistent with the Word? We will try to find out by relying on the Holy Scriptures.
The husband: head of the wife, head of the family.
The Bible tells us that “ 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” Ephesians 5:23 (KJV). As I mentioned in the introduction, the man has always been considered the head, the head of the family. This passage confirms it. Indeed, in the image of Christ who is the head of the church (body of Christ), the husband once remained and still remains to this day authority in the majority of Christian and non-Christian homes.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (KJV) also reminds us of this: “For man was not taken from woman, but the woman was taken from man; and man was not created because of woman, but the woman was created because of man. The creation of man before the woman was not a coincidence but rather the will of God. It was part of His divine plan, a plan that the woman was already a part of. It was His desire that the man comes first, occupy the first place (1 Timothy 2:13), and that he could welcome the woman whom God wanted and prepared for him, to be complementary to him. This biblical passage makes it clear: “For just as the woman was taken from man, so man exists through woman, and everything comes from God” 1 Corinthians 11:12 (KJV).
As far as our current society is concerned, the husband often has a protective role, he brings security within his family, financially, materially, emotionally, emotionally, and physically. We can say that he is the decision-maker because it is he who decides in the majority of cases; it does not impose anything but influences more or less the decisions, the choices. As you will have understood, his opinion matters a lot, as the role he plays is not secondary but rather decisive. As I was saying, he watches over his family, takes care of them, and provides at all levels. He is responsible for his family and must ensure that it lacks nothing, be it his wife or his children. As far as his children are concerned, he certainly brings them comfort, and security but also an education that is at the same time healthy, balanced, and firm.
1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV) also warns us about this: “If anyone does not take care of his own, and especially of his family, he has denied the faith, and he is worse than an infidel. As I said, the husband is also a model, a benchmark.
The husband: a father, a model, and a benchmark.
The husband is certainly an authority figure, but he is also a father and a point of reference for his wife and children. Like our heavenly Father who is benevolent, protective, and watches over us daily, the husband sets about the task in a diligent, constant, and persevering way for his whole family. He is a confidant, a friend for his wife, an equally considerable help for her, but also an adviser for his children. He is an outstanding model in the eyes of his children who identify with him and will even go so far as to project themselves through him.
This is why he does everything to adopt responsible, irreproachable conduct. And as a Christian husband, his first model and model of perfection is Jesus: “ Be my imitators, as I myself am of Christ” said the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV). This verse is valid for both husband and wife.
As I mentioned above, the husband tends to become a benchmark, a reference for his family, especially his children. He occupies a position, a delicate role because the happiness and the well-being of his family depend on him and rest for the most part on him. He can sometimes apprehend this mission of husband, and father and very quickly perceive it as a burden to bear, a burden. Reason for which God made him precious help in the woman.
He must learn to show wisdom and humility, be able to rely on his wife from time to time, and delegate certain responsibilities to her. The Word tells us this: “For when one falls, one lifts up his companion” Ecclesiastes 4:10. This is the advantage that couples have: being able to take turns, and relying on each other. Let us remember what this other passage also tells us: “At this time this is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she will be called hommesse (woman in other versions) because she was taken from man” Genesis 2:23.
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The woman: a help, a support.
After the creation of man, God took His time to create, to fashion the one He had carefully chosen for man, who according to His plans was to become a help for him, to whom he was to unite and with whom he was going to have children. The ways and purposes of God are perfect. The Word says that: “The purposes of the Lord endure forever, and the plans of His heart from generation to generation” Psalms 33:11. There are no coincidences with Him. What does the Word tell us through this biblical passage? “ The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper like him” Genesis 2:18. It was God’s will to perfect the woman in every detail: “The Lord God formed a woman from the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man” Genesis 2:22 (KJV).
Man and woman cannot live without each other, separated from each other. They were created to live together, contrary to what our society wants us to believe; they are complementary and need each other. I mentioned the fact that the husband had a major role in his home. The woman, for her part, has no lesser role; she also has an essential role to play, to hold within her family. I would even say that it is essential for the functioning of his house.
Indeed, she takes care of her house but also of her own: she becomes a friend to her husband, a benevolent listening ear, and an adviser both for him and for his children. She brings a lot to the education of her children.
Most of the time, the husband plays the role of “policeman “ and the wife is the one who will develop a close relationship with the children and deepen communication within her family, both with her husband and her children. She adds value to what the husband has already brought: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. ”Proverbs 31:10-12 (KJV).
The woman is a precious help in the eyes of the man, in her capacity as a wife but also in her role as a mother.
Woman: wife, bearer of life!
The wife comes to assist the husband, to assist him in his role of father and husband, but also in the education of the children, and the upkeep of the house. Indeed, she wears several hats within her home. The Word describes her as follows: ” She works with a joyful hand, she brings her bread from afar, she gets up when it is still night, and she gives food to her house and the task to her servants. » Proverbs 31:13-15 (KJV). Like this biblical passage, for many years, women have also had a paid activity; she also contributes financially in her household.
Apart from this other role, the Lord has entrusted her with a mission that is both delicate and important, which her husband cannot accomplish: to bring life. Yes, it is the will of God that the woman should become pregnant, that she carries this pregnancy for 9 months, and that she bring this child into the world: ” If I carry a woman to the end of her pregnancy, ask the Lord, will I prevent the child from being born? If it is I who prepare a birth, declare your God, it is not to make it impossible! Isaiah 66:9.It is a privilege for women, a grace to give life. It is an undeserved gift of God. A special bond, almost fusional, is created between the woman and the child during pregnancy and well after birth. A bond gradually develops between the two. The mother becomes a confidante, a sympathetic ear, and much more.
The husband, the father instructs and trains, while the mother teaches, inculcates: “ Hear, my son, the instruction of your father, and do not reject the teaching of your mother” Proverbs 1:8.
The mother inculcates certain values in the child and complements the education already given by her husband. She is indispensable in her family. She is also involved in her husband’s life. What does the Word tell us? “She does him good, and not evil, all the days of her life” Proverbs 31:12.
She does everything possible to please her husband and be a source of well-being for him. What does this other passage tell us? “A virtuous wife is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful one is like decay in his bones” Proverbs 12:4. She is a model in virtue, gentleness, benevolence, kindness, wisdom, patience, etc.
I would like to conclude by stating that:
The husband is often more authoritarian, and firmer; it is a role that he must play as a figure of authority and must inspire respect, fear, and consideration at the same time. However, he remains benevolent, and attentive to his family and the woman shows him in her own way, love not only on an emotional level but also by bringing him certain security. He remains a model of patience, rigor, discipline, courage, perseverance, etc. The woman, on the other hand, brings sweetness to her family. She is patient, caring, flexible, and available. She is a shoulder to cry on and like her husband, she advises and takes the time to build the relationship within her family. She is the interface, the mediator between her husband and her children. She assists her husband and her children as best she can on a daily basis (affectively, emotionally, and financially as well). The reason why husband and wife must be united, attached to each other.
“Besides, let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife respect her husband” Ephesians 5:33.
“ Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3 (KJV).
As much as possible, they must be exemplary: “Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children;” Ephesians 5:1 (KJV).