God is the designer of the family, and this creation is significant to him. Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, and He joined them together so they could be “a greater representative together of the One whose image they bear” (Wisen). God joins a man and woman together as husband and wife to give us a picture of our relationship with Him as well.
Although men and women are created uniquely, and both have equal value in the sight of God, He has given husbands and wives specific roles and responsibilities within marriage. The following information was taught at the Faith Biblical Counseling Training Conference in Lafayette, IN, and is organized in the Wisen study at the end of the article.
Husbands and Wives
Husbands are called to Love, Lead, and Learn their wives to give them security. Wives are called to Follow, Finish, and Fan their husbands to provide them with significance. As each spouse fulfills their God-given roles and responsibilities, marriages function as the Master Designer intended, and each spouse bears His image well while giving Him glory.
God is a God of order, and He placed the husband as the head in the marriage relationship. “This does not mean men are better leaders or better suited to lead” (pg. 45). It doesn’t mean the husband is more valuable or is to “rule” superior to his wife, but he is the head because God designed and structured it this way. As the head, the husband is to Love his wife even if she might not be very lovable at the moment. Love is more than a feeling; it means putting “you before me” (pg. 53). Husbands, sacrificially give your time, attention, and resources to your wife so she may know Jesus better.
Husbands, when you said “I do,” you signed up to Lead, whether you knew it or not. Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you. You will most likely mess up at times, but choose Lead anyway. Lead your family by setting a godly example. Read the Bible, pray, serve others, make wise decisions, handle money well, and take the initiative to plan things for your family.
Lastly, Learn about your wife. You may have thought you knew some things about her when you married, but you probably soon discovered that you didn’t know everything about her. “She looks, thinks, feels, and responds differently than you” (pg. 63). Make sure you know how she processes things, what communicates love, and when she may have questions. Constantly be studying your wife because just when you think you have her figured out, she will probably enter a different season where more learning will need to occur.
Doing these three things will give our wives the security they crave. And while a wife that will Follow, Finish, and Fan her husband makes it easier for the husband to Love, Lead, and Learn guys, we are called to exhibit these qualities regardless. Wives, you are called to “run in your lane” and not perform the husbands’ functions.
Follow carries the idea of submission, but probably not in how you might be thinking or defining it. Follow (submit or be subject) means to come under authority. Wives come under the authority of their husbands, and husbands are under the authority of God. Both men and women are called to submit to authority at times, and in God’s design of the family, wives Submit to husbands as children submit to parents. To clarify, this submission (Follow) does not mean the wife has a lesser value, is the slave of her husband, or has to remain silent. To Follow is to place herself under the authority of her husband in the marriage relationship.
Wives also Finish, or complete, their husbands. “Eve finished Adam and made him whole” (pg. 97). “Our husbands need our care, and we need to constantly be on the lookout for ways to be their helpers” (pg. 99). Pray for your husband and ask how you can help him. As you support your husband, be his biggest Fan, too. Cheer him on and encourage him in how you talk with him, talk about him, touch him, and look at him. Give your husband respect because he has the position of head of the house. Ladies, just like husbands, it is easier if your spouse fulfills his role, but you are called to fulfill yours regardless.
Obeying the designers’ instructions shows that husbands and wives value what He values. May God give us the grace we need to carry out our responsibilities within marriage. May we work diligently to do what God has called us to do, and may our marriages be strengthened and bettered because of it.
The Marriage Wheel: Moving Your Marriage in God’s Direction by David and Kristen Wisen