Roles & Responsibilities in Marriage

Ephesians 5:15-33


Introductory thoughts:

a) Men and women have distinct roles in marriage

b) Their roles are equal in value but different in function

c) These roles were established before the Fall


1. Submission, v. 22

2. Headship, v. 23

a) a physical head, I Corinthians 11:7

b) source or origin, Colossians 1:18

c) a person with authority, Ephesians 1:22


What does headship mean?


1) Headship is more of a responsibility than a right.

2) Headship is the authority to serve.

“If headship means ‘power’ in any sense, then it is power to care, not to crush; power to serve, not to dominate; power to facilitate self-fulfillment, not to frustrate or destroy it.  And in all this the standard of the husband’s love is to be the cross of Christ, on which he surrendered himself even to death in his selfless love for his bride.”

                                                                                                                        -John Stott

3) Headship is the opportunity to lead.

4) Headship nurtures and nourishes. 


3. Love, v. 25-30


“Christ ‘loved’ the church and ‘gave himself’ for her, in order to ‘cleanse’ her, ‘sanctify’ her, and ultimately ‘present’ her to himself in full splendor and without any defect.  In other words, his love and self-sacrifice were not an idle display, but purposeful.  And his purpose was not to impose an alien identity upon the church, but to free her from the spots and wrinkles which mar her beauty and to display her in her true glory.  The Christian husband is to have a similar concern.  His headship will never be used to suppress his wife.  He longs to see her liberated from everything which spoils her true feminine identity and growing towards that ‘glory’, that perfection of fulfilled personhood which will be the final destiny of all those whom Christ redeems.  To this end Christ gave himself.  To this end too the husband gives himself in love.” 

-John Stott


4. Respect, v.33

5. The Gospel, v. 32

“When God made man, then women and then brought them together in a relationship called marriage, he wasn’t simply rolling dice, drawing straws or flipping a coin.  He was painting a picture.  His intent from the start was to illustrate his love for people.”   

-David Platt