The Responsibilities of the Husband
As Joshua addressed the people on the eve of his death, after they had occupied the promised land, he made a statement which clearly shows the influence of a man as the head of his own house. He said, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua's proclamation was a challenge to all of Israel, and indicates that a nation's well being is largely attributable to the leadership of the home. As the head of the home, the primary responsibility of the Husband/Father can be summarized in this way. He determines by the force of his will, his good example, and his love for God and family, that his home will serve God. It can rightly be stated that any man who does not make it his primary goal to have a God fearing and obedient family will fail in his responsibilities to them.
Though the world is not comfortable in expressing the need for the man to head his home in this way, the godly wife will welcome it. She understands her need to submit to her man's position as head of the home, and welcomes his careful and resolute determination to lead his family in the way of righteousness. "In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death" (Proverbs 12:28).
Regarding the husband's treatment of his wife, Peter wrote, "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 Peter 3:7). The idea of the understanding and honor due the wife is indicative of her worth to her husband. A husband is to treat her in accord with the moral standard to which God has obligated him. He is to recognize her as physically delicate, and as an equally deserving spiritual being. As such, his behavior toward her is to be gracious and gentle. The abuse, both physical and verbal, that many wives suffer is the shameful behavior of men who are failures in the sight of God.
The Godly Husband
The man who is pleasing God with regard to his familial obligations is characterized by several important attributes.
The godly husband puts his family, and especially his wife, before all save God Himself. He especially elevates the needs of his family above his own. His position of authority and headship carries with it the potential for abuse, and he is ever cognizant of his great responsibility before God. He adores his family, but does not let his affection for them cloud his good judgment as he cares and provides for them. May God supply men such as this in all our Christian homes!