Ephesians 5:25 offers the principle instruction to married men: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church." If you want a biblical marriage, then you need to understand how Christ loved the church.
Some men think Christ is Jesus' last name. Of course, Christ is not a name but a title for Jesus that means "Messiah" or "anointed one." Jesus loved the church—His family—as its Christ, or anointed one. Since husbands are to love their wives in the same way as the anointed one loves His family, they need to know exactly what Jesus was anointed to do. In the New Testament, as we shall see, husbands become anointed ones.
In theology, Christ occupies the classic threefold office of prophet, priest and king. Let's explore how this relates to you.
1. The role of a prophet. A prophet represents God to people. In the Old Testament, a prophet would face the people and speak. Jesus was a prophet who spoke the Word of God to the people and was, in fact, the Word incarnate. A prophet speaks for God.
A husband is to be the family prophet. He represents God to his wife (and, by extension, his family, the fruit of their union). When his wife reacts emotionally, he calms her with God's wisdom. He proclaims the gospel of faith to his family. He provides biblical instruction and training to his wife and children without becoming legalistic. He prepares family devotions and encourages private devotions. He is the arbiter of family values. He insists on regular church attendance. He is a messenger from God to his family.
2. The role of a priest. If a prophet represents God to people, then a priest represents people to God. In the Old Testament, a priest would turn his back to the people and mediate for them before God. Jesus is the High Priest who mediated between people and the Father by the sacrifice of His life. A priest mediates before God.
A husband is to be the family priest. He represents his wife and children to God. He spends time in prayer each day remembering the needs and concerns of his wife. He prays for the salvation of his children. Like Job, he asks the Lord to forgive the sins of his children. He sets the spiritual temperature in the home. He sacrifices his life for theirs. He is a mediator to God for his family.
3. The role of a king. A king takes responsibility for the welfare of his people. He provides both justice and mercy for them. Jesus is a king from the line of David. A king provides for and offers protection and security for his people.
A husband is to be the family king. He provides for the needs of his family. He works diligently to earn enough for food and shelter. He administers discipline with fairness. He quickly forgives and overlooks offenses. He acts in a manner worthy of receiving honor. He treats his wife with consideration and respect. He is careful not to be harsh with her. He is a provider for his family.
Husbands are to be the anointed spiritual leaders of their wives. God has anointed you to lead your wife as her prophet, priest and king. Because of the fall, your wife, according to Genesis 3:16, has a desire for you that is best rendered "a desire that borders on disease."
So you must be gentle and wise because she is more fragile than you. It is God's will for your marriage to work. Give her a voice in the marriage. After God, but before all others, make your mate your priority.
Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida's 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror and A Man's Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.