The root cause for issues in marriages are contentions of the wife and lack of authority from husband. This is true in many Christian couples today. In this post, we will explore from Scriptures regarding a husband’s authority in marriage, proper honour and understanding of wife.
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire [shall be] for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”Gen 3:16
The most important role of a husband is to have authority in the family. In other words, he must be the final authority in any decision for the family. We can see this very clearly in the law of vows.
But if her husband overrules her on the day that he hears [it,] he shall make void her vow which she took and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound herself, and the LORD will release her. Also any vow of a widow or a divorced woman, by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. If she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an agreement with an oath, and her husband heard [it,] and made no response to her [and] did not overrule her, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement by which she bound herself shall stand.Num 30:8-11
As we see in the above law, a woman is always under the authority of her husband except if she is a widow or divorced.
Ahab and Jezebel
But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. … So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”1 Kgs 21:25, 27-29
The relationship between Ahab and Jezebel is a good example for how a woman can have authority to stir up her husband to do evil. Even though Ahab humbled before God later, we can see how Jezebel was able to use his name to kill Naboth to steal his vineyard and do wickedness in the sight of God where Ahab seems to be a subordinate to her.
Honoring and Understanding
Husbands, likewise, dwell with [them] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as [being] heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.1 Pet 3:7
Having authority doesn’t mean being bossy but rather, honouring wife and understanding her as well. But what does honouring wife really mean?
“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this [Man] get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.Matt 13:55-58
Jesus wasn’t honoured for His wisdom and mighty works, and they didn’t believe in Him. Using the same example of honour, when the wife does something good or suggesting with wisdom, it is the husband’s duty to listen and understand his wife, not disregard her as if she knows nothing.
A wise [man] will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counselProv 1:5
God created woman to be a helper comparable to man as we read in Genesis. By not listening and not understading the wife, the husband is essentially discarding the help God had given him.
[As for] My people, children [are] their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause [you] to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”Isa 3:12
In any Christian family, God wants children to honour their parents and the husband to have authority in the family. As Peter said, husband must not only honour the wife but also dwell with her with understanding.