God uses marriage to refine us. Marriage is the one relationship where followers of Christ take a vow to intimately serve the other. Jesus demonstrated that service is part of His kingdom work when he washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper in John 13: 1 – 20. This principle of service applies to marriages because striving to have a godly marriage is part of His kingdom work.
The husband is called to serve his wife and family by being the spiritual leader of the family, providing for the family, and loving his wife like Christ loves the church. As the spiritual leader the man needs to have a consistent means of sharing God’s Word and praying with his family daily. He should demonstrate how to worship the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength. He model the same heart as Joshua, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24: 15, NIV). As provider, the husband should be able to provide the means for clothing, shelter, and food. As lover of his wife, he should have an all-out consuming passion that is only for her.
The wife is called to serve her husband and family by raising godly children, being a helper to her husband, and submitting to her husband’s authority under God. God speaks of raising godly children within the marriage relationship in Malachi 2. Wives are to assist their husband’s in raising children who fear the Lord. As helper, the wife is to walk along side her husband to assist him in the call God has on his life in service to Him. In submitting to the husband’s authority, wives demonstrate the respect a husband needs when he is committed to leadership in Christ.
God has given these distinct roles to each spouse to create order and clarity within the marriage. In His infinite wisdom, He determined that this was the best way. But, regardless of the role, it involves service to others.