From the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible we learn that our God is a master at design, able to create order out of chaos. What He has done for the universe, He has done for the home as well. God’s design for the home is a place where there is order and not chaos, a place where the man and the woman have responsibilities and obligations to one another as husband and wife. Following God’s design, it is more likely than not that we will be heard to say, “There’s no place like home!”
Let’s consider together, as a first and foundational matter, that the Bible instructs both the husband and the wife to live together in the fear of God in a condition of mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21). This is the very first admonition given through Paul as the Holy Spirit moved him to set out God’s design for the home. We all joke about the husband being the head of the home, but that the wife is the neck that turns the head. The truth behind the joke is that a head and a neck are both required to work in harmony together for the home to function! The balance of the passage in Ephesians describes God’s design for harmony in a household.
Does God desire for the man to be the head of the home? Absolutely, and the model the husband is to follow, the pattern for his behavior, is the headship of Christ over the Church. The best one word description of Christ’s headship, and therefore the husband’s, is sacrificial. God’s design for the husband in the home is for him to give of himself sacrificially to provide, to protect, to procreate, and to promote (to lead the family in and toward holiness).
What is God’s desire for the woman in the home? She is to come alongside her husband supportively. She is to be his helpmeet, his homemaker, and, as God blesses, a happy mother to their children. Notice that these are all support functions—just as it is the neck that supports the head of a body. Her role in God’s design for the home is no less important than the man’s—it is simply different.
I’ve spent a lot of time studying the Scriptures and the world God created for us, and there is one conclusion that I find inescapable. Men and women are different. It’s a surprise, I know, but it is true! God designed the man in such a way that what he needs more than anything from his wife is respect. The most important thing to a wife is that her husband gives her security. Every decision a man makes for his home needs to consider first the impact of that decision on his wife’s sense of security. As I provide for my wife, and my children, I must ensure that I do not become self-absorbed in the act of providing so that I forget for whom I am providing. Someone has said, “Don’t make your wife a widow while you are still alive.” Husband, your wife needs the security that comes from the certain knowledge that she is of paramount importance to you.
We read in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” How does a Christian submit unto the Lord? A Christian, and therefore also a wife, demonstrates submission through obedience. A wife’s purpose as a helpmeet is to seek after true oneness with her husband. To achieve this, she must seek to follow her husband’s leadership. Her failure to follow is interpreted by her husband as a lack of respect toward him. It should not be difficult for a wife to follow her husband if the man she is following is himself seeking to live in obedience to the same Lord she loves and obeys. He is modeling Christ. She gives him the respect he needs and desires when she obeys him in the same manner that she seeks to obey her Saviour and Lord.
Clearly, it is impossible to have a home patterned after God’s perfect design unless the husband and wife are both born again, and beyond that, seeking the filling of the Holy Spirit daily. Christian homes are to be places of calm, not chaos. When the husband and wife give all of themselves to the task of living holy before God, it will be true that there’s no place on earth like the Christian home.