Michael Ng

The Role of the Husband and Father

by Michael Ng


In the husband-wife relationship, a couple is a complete unit. They are one-flesh as the Bible clearly explains in Gen 2:24. At the same time they are interdependent on each other (1 Cor 11:11). They are to complete, not compete with each other. Couples must understand that their weaknesses and strengths are meant for them to complement each other. The woman is to be her husband's helpmate as well as playmate. Couples who do not recognize this truth and build their marriage according to God's design will experience a lot of tension and disharmony when they compete with each other like enemies.

A man who wants to establish a harmonious home will give top priority to his wife. He will love her, lead her and listen to her.

What does it mean for a man to love his wife? I'm afraid the word 'love' has been badly misused. "I love my dog; I love durians; I love Honda" and "I love my wife." What is the difference? Is there any distinction? According to Eph 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." This is the standard of love we are talking about. Regardless of my feelings, the command to love my wife is "agape", the unconditional and sacrificial love which lasts for all seasons; whether in spring when my wife is blooming or in autumn when she will be withering. Love is a commitment. Love is an act of the will, not one based on emotions. Feelings cannot withstand the difficult trials in a marriage. Only love built on commitment and sacrifice can stand the test of time.

When a wife is secure in her husband's love, she will have no problem submitting to his leadership. Leadership without love is like a dictator's rule. The husband who loves best leads best. And the best way to love your child is to love his mother. Someone said, "Be careful that your marriage doesn't become a duel instead of a duet." Love your wife unconditionally and sacrificially, and then your marriage will become a beautiful duet.

Another important role of the man is leadership. The man must lead. Eph 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, ..." God has designated the husband as the head of the relationship. This is the creation order. The husband is therefore responsible to lead his family, with his wife as his helpmate. Together, they are a team and not enemies. It is unfortunate that some wives would say, "My husband is the head, but I'm the neck." Given such a situation, it is likely that in that marriage there is a power struggle. In many homes, there are men who are reluctant to lead.

Perhaps out of frustration, women either take control of the home or refuse to follow the husband's lead. This is a 'no win' situation.

The husband is the pilot, his wife the co-pilot. Together, they chart the course of their destination. Along the way, if they go off course, both must help each other to get back on course. The safety and well-being of their children is in their hands. For whatever reasons, a man who does not lead as he should is ultimately answerable and responsible for the consequences of his lack of leadership.

The husband must love, lead and listen to his wife. When a husband fails to listen to his wife, this is one sure sign of a communication breakdown. One of the most common complaints a counselor hears is, "My husband doesn't listen." Husbands, hear your wives out, don't interrupt, and don't offer solutions, just listen! When you listen, you're showing your love as you consider her feelings and points of view.

Let's look at the man as a father. To be a good and effective steward of his family, a father needs to remember the following.

Time is essential. A father cannot teach and train if he does not give time and spend time with the family. I have yet to meet a man who complains he has plenty of time. Try asking your children what they think is the most important to you. Fathers, don't confuse the important with the urgent. Prioritize your time. You need to block out time to attend to the things that are important. What matters most to you? Is it your family - your wife and children? Make them your priority! Fathers, when was the last time you spend an hour with your children? Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where is your heart today? What is your treasure? Look at how you spend your time. Most of us would like to think that our family matters most, but how much time do we give to our wife and children? Tim Hansel said, "It takes time to be a good father. It takes effort - trying, failing and trying again."

Without time, it is impossible to teach and train. You need time to give instruction to a given subject, to give knowledge, to give lessons, to impart to another. A good teacher is a trainer.

Deut 6:6-9 "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

A father's responsibility in giving spiritual instruction is a continuous process. Fathers, do you realize that little ears are listening; that little eyes are observing you? Who are their role models in today's culture and society? Who are your children following? 1% of the child's time is spent under the influence of the Sunday School; 7% the influence of the public school and 92% under the influence of the home. Fathers, if we do not impart to our children the positive moral and spiritual values while they are under our charge, it is unlikely we will have much influence when they leave the home later. While they are still young and impressionable, teachable, we must spend time to teach and train them. We are their mentor, their trainer, their discipler, their encourager, their cheerleader, their hero and best of all, their father!

Do you know what they are learning in school, outside of school, from friends, from TV, from books they read? Do you know what influence them most today? What is going on in their lives? What kind of information and influence are shaping their lives? If you don't, fathers, make sure you find out! Otherwise, you will not be able to help transform them!

Rom 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The word 'transform' is derived from the word 'metamorphosis' which is to change, like the ugly caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly. Our children too are directly influenced by worldly values through the media, their peers, etc. That is why as fathers, we need to teach and train to transform them to biblical standards and values so that when they become adults, they will be able to make good judgments and decisions based on such biblical values. When we have them grounded in the Word of God, we have discharged our responsibility as a father, as a steward of our children.

A father prayed, "Our Father in heaven, I'm a father on earth. You have given me this gift and responsibility. Grant me wisdom to carry it out. Let me be there for my children when they need me, and get out of their way when they don't."






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