Session 8: Husbands

Sessions 8, 9, and 10 are designed to be both stand-alone and related sessions; this session will focus on the husband. On average, when working with husbands, you may have to focus on empathy and emotional expression a bit more than when working with wives.

Helpful videos to share with the client.


How to Process Your Emotions

On Being Out of Touch With One's Feelings

Alfred & Shadow - A short story about emotions


It's Not About The Nail

Men often boast in the title of the head of household, priest of the home, leader of the family, man of the house, and any other accolade that communicates headship. Unfortunately, many men have taken on the title of headship without the lifestyle of servanthood. Men who have reached a mature sense of masculinity understand that they must exercise initiative. It is their responsibility to take an assertive role in the condition and direction of their family. 

Passive Husband / Emotionally Passivity

It is very typical for a husband to be absent and disengaged from marital and family life, with the exception of providing an income. Husbands often feel that by providing for the family financially they have met their responsibilities. What may seem like a nagging wife may be an overwhelmed wife longing for her husband to assume his God-design role and lead his family. 

Adam’s first words to Eve can be found in Genesis 2:23 which were “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” These were words of affirmation, recognition, and purpose. Adam was emotionally available and connected to Eve, as his first words were to affirm her existence and value. This is contrasted dramatically with today’s husbands who are emotionally passive.

An emotionally passive husband is one who is unreactive to the shifts and nuances of his wife’s mood, thoughts, and experiences. This emotional passivity may be self-pleasing seeking sex rather than intimacy, objectification rather than affirmation, apathy rather than empathy, and contempt rather than respect. 

An emotionally present husband, who is head of his house, takes the initiative in the psychological well-being of his family. He is concerned and inquiries about the inner workings of his family members daily activities. He is sensitive to his family’s emotional expressions and is able to express his emotions healthily. He exchanges emotional passivity for emotional assertiveness.

Spiritually Passive

Why have the title, priest of your home, if there’s no priestly functioning taking place? If there is no leading in prayer, if there is no pointing to Christ, if there is no Christ-like lifestyle being displayed -why claim the title of a priest? Being able to lead others to God is an honor, an honor which God has called men to take the initiative in (1 Tim. 2:11-14; Eph. 5:22-23). 

A priest is one who leads and teaches others the gospel of Christ by initiation and implementation. A husband who is the priest of his home will initiate prayer. This may be accomplished by him leading the prayer or by him delegating prayer to another family member -as long as he is the initiator. Instructions concerning fasting, worship, daily living, and other spiritually impacted activities should be at the husband’s implementation. The husband does not need to be timid before God, as he is commanded to come boldly before God’s throne. 

Asserting your spiritual authority as a priest of the home also means protecting and having spiritual authority over those who live in your home. Protection is more than locking the house doors at night or protecting against natural threats to your wife and children. Protection is also being sensitive to the spiritual climate of your home and being able to make adjustments when needed. Spiritual sensitivity only comes about when you are spending time with God in prayer and reading his word, conditioning your ear to hear the voice of God.

Husbands are to Take Initiative

Initiative is taking charge and responsibility before someone else does. There is no reason why your wife should be the one taking the initiative in your family. If there is disorder in the home -the husband is to initiate order. If there are financial difficulties -the husband is to initiate fiscal stewardship. If there is an argument -the husband is to initiate peace. If there is anger -the husband is to initiate forgiveness. 

If God visited your family today, who would he ask to give an account for the family? Who would be the designated representative? Just as God first asked Adam in Genesis 3, it is the husband who is the first responder and the one who first must give account for his family. Husband headship and initiative was the precedent created by God, first illustrated by Adam, and later in Christ. 

Ephesians 5 teaches us that as Christ heads the church, the husband heads his family. However, the orientation in which the husband is the head resembles more of a servanthood lifestyle. Jesus illustrates this perfectly in John 13 by washing his disciple’s feet. The disciples knew what Jesus was doing was a servant’s job, as did Jesus. Jesus also knew exactly who he was and the position he held when he stated "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am” (John 13:13). So, if Jesus, knowing he was Teacher and Lord demonstrated leadership by serving -how should a husband demonstrate leadership -by serving. 

Just as much as Christ has sacrificed for his church, so should a husband sacrifice for his wife. When God created you as a man, he designed in you everything needed as a husband to fulfill your role (2 Peter 1:1-11). Your wife is looking to be relieved from the burdens and responsibilities she was not intended to carry. Now it is up to you to reject passivity and draw out what God has placed in you. 

Session questions:

  1.  What roles will you play as the head of your home?
  2. How would you feel if your wife made more money than you?
  3. Could you be a “stay-at-home dad?
  4. What does servant-leadership look like in the home?
  5. Who forgives first?
  6. How do you expect to be treated as a man?
  7. Who will you confide in (be accountable to) as a husband?

Complete and Continue