With Pastor Carol Wanjau
Unlike previous generations where men and women had clearly defined roles, we find that there is a lot of gender role confusion and reversal of roles in marriages today.
We are in the era of the feminism and other similar movements which in a bid to empower the woman, they have inadvertently contributed to conflict in the home. However, it is worth noting that these movements sprung up in response to the damage done by male chauvinism, where the woman is perceived inferior to the man.
Both philosophies are wrong and harmful in that they place a gender above the other, contrary to what the Bible teaches… that God created man and woman, equal in value and importance. Let us examine the differences in gender roles.
Man was created first…to lead. This does not mean that he is more important, or more valuable than the woman. Nor should it be taken to imply that husbands are to dominate their wives. The man just has a higher load of responsibilities than the wife. Some of these are to:
- Live in relationship with God. Granted this is a requirement of everyone. However, many people overlook the great necessity for a man’s submission to God. As the priest and cover of the home, it is key that the husband be in relationship and submission to and is guided by the Lord.
- Lead the family. The husband is responsible for leading the family towards God’s vision and purpose. Furthermore, he is called to inspire his wife and children to flourish and live as God created them to be.
- Make the home a safe place. The man must move to create and nurture trust in the home. His family should feel secure and stable physically, emotionally, and physically.
- Bring out the beauty in his wife. It is upon the husband to bring out the best in his wife. This involves appreciating, affirming and supporting her.
- Bring home the bread. As primary provider the husband is responsible for ensuring the financial security of the family. This entails making smart investments, planning and saving.
- Protect the home. The man must protect his family. Many husbands have fallen into peer pressure and bad habits, jeopardising the stability and well-being of their families in the process. This is wrong. Husbands must take seriously the responsibility of protecting their families even if it means cutting off bad company and giving up harmful habits.
- Be accountable. To stay on track in their roles as husbands and fathers, men should find suitable and godly mentors who will guide them and keep them accountable to the biblical standards set for the man.
We hear it often thrown about that a woman can better do what a man can do. But that isn’t how God designed things to play out. His intention wasn’t for man and woman to compete and reduce each other, but rather that they be in a relationship with Him and fulfil a specific purpose. This purpose includes serving him in various spheres of our lives including marriage. For the wife this is to:
- Respect her husband. Men do not perceive love from a woman who does not respect them. Wives must therefore take this role seriously for the sake of their marriage.
- Build up her husband. Many women are known to tear down their husbands using harsh and disparaging words. This is not ideal. We must determine to speak to our husbands only in ways that build them up.
- Appreciate her spouse. When things don’t go as planned or when he fails to live up to an expectation you had, it is easy to start comparing your husband to other people. Don’t do this. Instead appreciate him for who he is and remember the qualities about him that inspired you to settle down with him in the first place.
- Support her husband. Sometimes you won’t see where his dreams or plans are heading, but support him anyway. God has given him a vision for your family; help him get there by being present and someone he can rely on for support.
The world has a lot to say about what men and women ought to do in marriage. As Christians we must filter these out and stick to the truth. God created man and woman equal, but with different roles as husband and wife. Let us live out the roles He intended for us and enjoy the enrichment of marriage that follows.
- Men do not perceive love from a woman who does not respect them.
- Speak to your spouse in a way that builds them up.
- Living out your godly roles as a spouse will enrich your marriage.
- The upbringing of a child influences their sense of identity.
- Man was created first to lead not dominate.
- Your beliefs about gender roles will influence your behaviour in the home.
- It is upon the husband to bring out the best of his wife.
- Support your husband as he leads you towards God’s plan for your family.
Carol Wanjau is an Executive Pastor at Mavuno Church and is also a Marriage and Family Therapist and Author.