(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25, NASB).
In Section I, we stressed the fact that there are steps to spiritual strength which will enable you to live at peace with yourself and at peace with your fellow men.
The reason for including the first section in a course intended for parents is to show that it takes happy persons to make a happy partnership. Section II will show that it takes a happy partnership to create the climate for happy parenthood.
In this section, therefore, the material will point out some of the ingredients that go into making a happy partnership–into making a happy marriage. Lessons 5 and 6, although brief, deal with proper attitudes toward each other.
This lesson has to do with the attitude of the husband toward the marriage. Paul describes the ideal relationship between all Christians to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Then he goes on to describe the ideal relationship between husband and wife.
The husbands’ proper role
According to this teaching of Paul, “the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23).
“Give, and it will be given to you”
A certain man started his career by doing a routine job for a large utility company. He was a good worker; and when the time came for him to be promoted, his superior opposed it because he didn’t want to lose a good worker. The man in line for promotion learned through this experience that a superior who thinks only of himself can hinder the growth and progress people under him.
This good worker now supervises thirty engineers. He does everything he can to inspire them, to help them, to teach them. He promotes them within his own department as fast as possible. Other departments look to him for good men also. Because of his generosity, he is forever losing his best men and training new ones. However, his reward is great. He gets the best of cooperation from his men. They are loyal to him because he does his best to see that they are well taken care of. His experience reminds one of Christ’s words:
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).
It is such an attitude toward his family that a husband should have. He is “head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Christ gave His life for the church.
Show “yourself to be an example of good deeds”
The husband who heads his family properly will seek to minister unto his wife. What can you do to be personally helpful to your wife? What can you provide for her that will make her tasks easier and happier? What can you do to be personally helpful to your children? What can you provide for them that will make their lot easier and happier? To be the head of the wife is to be dedicated to her best interests–to her happiness.
Several years ago, the dean of a college was the guest of a certain farmer whose son and daughter were students in the institution which he served. He rode with these young people to their home, along with two other students. It was a journey of four hundred miles. On the way the son and daughter spoke in the highest terms about their dad. They had great admiration for him as a father, as a husband, as a churchman, and as a citizen.
During the visit this man and his wife slept on cots in the basement so that the guests could have the best rooms in the house and in order that the children could use their rooms while they were at home. The next morning the son found that his father had washed his car for him. During the day, the daughter used her father’s car, while he used the truck. He helped his wife in the kitchen, to give her free time with the children while they were at home. The children helped him with the farm chores. They pitched in and helped with the housework. This was as wholesome a family atmosphere as it is possible to achieve.
Now this man was no slave. He was not browbeaten. He was not ordered around or imposed upon. He took the initiative in being a servant. He was greatly appreciated and respected by his wife and children. They were as ready to be helpful to him as he was to be helpful to them. He offered his services to them. They offered their services to him. People in the church and in the town reflected the attitude of his wife and children. He was a man who was looked to for leadership and service both in the church and in the community.
Here was a prosperous farmer. He was respected as a leader by his family, church, and community. Yet he was a willing servant, a man who was of a mind “not … to be served, but to serve.” One is reminded of Paul’s words to Titus ” … in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds …” (Titus 2:7). Submitting to this man was a privilege.