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Current culture has a lot to say about similarities in the roles of husband and wife in marriage. What does the Bible has to say about roles in a Christian marriage?

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Both spouses permit the husband to believe he's actually in charge. – Anthony Pegram Aug 24 '11 at 1:32

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My answer would be that the Bible has little or nothing to say about roles (that is, who does what) within a marriage, but it has quite a lot to say about authority. Authority does not have to do with who does what, but who leads whom and where the buck stops.

Ephesians 5:21-33 is key:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Which, in the context, starts of with an admonition for mutual submission between believers and then goes on to define the authority structure within a family.

I have yet to meet a women who honestly would object to being submitted to a man whose objective was to love her "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her".

Note also that Christian authority is (should be) exercised with a servant's heart. That is to properly lead my wife I must strive to serve her.

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We kept verse 22 in our marriage vows, although many choose to remove it, because as it was explained to us, submitting to your husband is much easier to do than to love your wife as Christ loved the church. So in fact, the men get the harder deal than the women in that relationship. – Mark Henderson Aug 24 '11 at 1:04
@Farseeker thought-provoking... – studiohack Aug 24 '11 at 4:38
I'm curious... how does this interpretation relate to the fact that some Christian sects prohibit divorce even in cases where the husband has completely failed to meet his obligation under that standard (for example, infidelity, prolonged physical abuse, separating the wife from the church, etc.)? – HedgeMage Aug 24 '11 at 14:22
@HedgeMage: I think that would be good as a separate question. – Lawrence Dol Aug 25 '11 at 6:13
+1 Good answer. I especially like the last sentence, really sums it up. I'd also add that without God's guidance and the Holy Spirit men cannot achieve what God expects from us in a marriage. I cannot on my own love my wife in this way. – dcreight Oct 25 '12 at 16:53

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