Derek Prince - A Husband's Responsibility
Now let’s consider briefly the husband’s responsibilities in this relationship. I suggest five things. What’s the first one, husbands? Love, that’s right. This is not an option, it’s not a recommendation; it’s a commandment. Look in Ephesians 5:25. Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives... Okay? If you don’t love your wife, you’re disobedient to Scripture. How much? ...just as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Notice the kind of love is a self-giving love. Not a taking love, but a giving love.
The second responsibility is to be head. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says: The head of woman (or the wife) is the man... What are the functions of a head? If you consider the natural physical body, I would suggest you could think in terms of four things. The head receives input from the whole body. The head makes decisions. The head initiates action. And the head gives ongoing direction. Those are the responsibilities of a man. I don’t know whether you heard about the couple that had been married a long while. One day the husband said: When we got married 22 years ago, we agreed that I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. Well up to now we’ve never had any major decisions.
The third responsibility is to provide. 1 Timothy 5:8: If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. I have to say there are preachers that are not providing for their own households. Who will go around preaching. The Bible says they are worse than an unbeliever. Some good many years ago I was in a place and another minister made a casual remark. He said: The expert is the man away from home with a briefcase. At that time I was traveling widely across America and preaching. That really went to my heart like an arrow. I thought: Does that describe me? The man who can make it work everywhere except in his own home?
There’s a lot of preachers like that. I don’t say that to be critical. I just state it as a fact. They’re successful on somebody else’s territory but not in their own homes. Then, turning to Ephesians 5 again which is a key chapter for this teaching, Ephesians 5:26, speaking about Christ it says: That He gave himself for the church that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. I believe that’s a husband’s responsibility. It’s to wash his wife and his family with the teaching of the Word of God. I believe that has a cleansing, sanctifying effect which nothing else can ever have. That doesn’t mean that the wife cannot be a preacher and a very powerful minister. But nevertheless, the primary responsibility, the source of teaching in the home, should be the husband. And then Ephesians 5:29, still on this theme: For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
So, husbands have a responsibility to nourish and cherish your wives. I embarrass my wife sometimes because I say things that she probably thinks I ought not to say. She doesn’t even know this but I feel God wants me to say it. I was in a meeting not so very long ago, less than a year ago, and there was a very good message given. I don’t even remember who the preacher was. Then there was this time of silence before communion. He said: Why don’t each of you ask God if He’s got anything to say to you? Well, I’m a little bit cautious about that, because if God says something, I don’t want to ignore it, understand?
So sometimes I think: Well, maybe I won’t ask. But anyhow, I did. And I got a very simple answer: Be kinder to your wife... You can never be kind enough to your wife, really. I don’t believe I’m unkind. But I realized there were areas in which I was not sensitive. I didn’t really appreciate my wife’s needs. We’d been through a very hard time the last two years. Ruth has been seriously sick and we have been struggling and fighting for her health. When she became sick, I had to say to myself: Brother Prince, it doesn’t look as though you’ve been a very successful husband. And I’ve tried to learn my lessons from it, too. Both of us have learned a lot. So, there are no perfect husbands, brothers. Even preachers aren’t perfect husbands. In fact, sometimes they’re some of the worst, to say the truth, frankly.