Gender roles are not popular. The idea that a man might be in charge of his household comes across in our culture as archaic, misogynistic, and sexist. The concept of these roles has been ABUSED in the church. Sad truth is some men are cowards. They don’t know how to earn respect so they demand it blindly. They use their “authority to control/subjugate their wives.
Just because something has been abused doesn’t mean it’s wrong. God designed marriage. No matter how many guys abuse authority God still gives it to the men. Guys, God has placed you in charge. You are responsible for how you use that authority. God didn’t put you in charge so you can enslave or subjugate your wife and kids. You are not better than your wife. You are not more important than your wife. You are given authority so that you can love, protect, and take responsibility.
In Matthew 20:25 Jesus talks to His disciples and He tells them the rulers of gentiles use their authority to dominate. Not with us, we are to lead by serving. Those in authority use that authority to care for those under it. Godly authority is not about commanding it’s about serving. The reason God gives you authority over your wife is so that you can serve her effectively. You are in charge so you can lift her up. Godly authority isn’t about being in charge. Jesus says: “I didn’t come to be served but to serve”. The highest authority there is didn’t come to boss us around but to love us and to serve us. Jesus is the standard. He sets the example for us to follow. Jesus has all the authority. He doesn’t demean us, He uses that authority to elevate us. He serves us. He cares for us. He lifts us up. You don’t hear Jesus demanding that we submit. So you don’t.
Men lead by serving their wife. Wives are told to submit. Not a popular word, but a beautiful one when understood correctly. The purpose of submission in marriage is not for you to become a slave but for you to choose to serve your husband instead of yourself. In so doing you fight to meet his needs freeing him up to fight for yours. Instead of having a marriage with two people fighting each other to get what they want you get two people fighting for each other each trying to give the other what they want. This attitude transforms your marriage from two selfish people battling over who is more selfish into two selfless people competing to see who can love the other person more. When you decide to fight for your spouse instead of against them and they do the same, everyone’s needs get met and no one has to focus on themself. That’s the beauty of God’s design for marriage. It gives you what you need and teaches you how to be loving and selfless at the same time.
God gives authority. From that authority He expects men to lead their families selflessly, lovingly, and sacrificially. Jesus died for those under His authority. He lived His life loving us and treating us as if we mattered. He gave everything for us. That is what authority should look like.