God appointed the husband as head of the family, just as Jesus is Head of the congregation. The apostle Paul stated: “A husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body. Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” (Eph. 5:23, 25) Indeed, Jesus’ treatment of his followers sets the standard for how Christian men need to treat their wives. Let us consider some of the ways in which Jesus exercised his God-given authority.
Jesus was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29) He was also a man of action. Never did he abdicate his responsibilities. (Mark 6:34; John 2:14-17) He kindly gave counsel to his disciples, even repeatedly when necessary. (Matt. 20:21-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 22:24-27)
Still, Jesus did not berate or humiliate them, nor did he make them feel unloved or incapable of carrying out what he was teaching them to do. Instead, he praised and encouraged his disciples. (Luke 10:17-21) No wonder Jesus gained the respect of his disciples by his loving and compassionate treatment of them!
Jesus’ example teaches husbands that Christian headship is not a position of harsh domination. Rather, it is one marked by respect and self-sacrificing love. The apostle Peter encouraged husbands to imitate Jesus’ loving ways by “dwelling in like manner” with their wives, “assigning them honor.” (Read 1 Peter 3:7.) How, then, can a husband exercise his authority and at the same time treat his wife as someone worthy of honor?
One way a husband can honor his wife is by carefully considering her point of view and her feelings before he makes decisions that affect the family. Perhaps a decision has to be made regarding a move or a change of job or regarding everyday matters, such as where to take a vacation or how to adjust the family budget so as to cope with the rising cost of living.
Because the family will be affected, it would be beneficial and kind for the husband to consider his wife’s opinion, as it may help him to arrive at a balanced, more considerate decision, and it will be easier for her to support him. (Prov. 15:22) Christian husbands who honor their wives gain not only the love and respect of their wives but, more important, the approval of Jehovah.—Eph. 5:28, 29.