RELIGION COLUMN: Marriage responsibility falls on men

Published 5:21 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

By Jake McCall

Before I propose this problem I will acknowledge two things: First, I have only been in pastoral ministry for three years, and, so, I would agree with anyone who suggests that I have a lot to learn. Secondly, I know that most rules have an exception and that would apply here.

Yet, so far in my experience as a pastor to married couples, as a friend to married couples and as a family member to married couples, there is an overwhelmingly consistent pattern among Christian families and families within the church.

That pattern is that men do not know how to be husbands. I am aware that marital issues involve both sides, and every man that is married knows that his wife has imperfections and things that need to be worked on.

But 19 times out of 20 a marriage is in trouble because the man is a poor excuse for a husband, father and leader. Some of it is because he doesn’t know how to be a husband but most of it is willful neglect. I can look at my own marriage and humbly recognize that the times Alana’s and my marriage suffered was when I failed to take responsibility or failed to lead or failed to love or all of the above.

We husbands are responsible for our marriages. We must take full responsibility for our marriages, not a portion, not half, but full responsibility. When we married we became the shepherds of our wives. We are to care for their emotions, their well-being, and their souls.

This is not to say that our wives are beneath us or unable to care for themselves. They are certainly just as important and significant and equal in the home, in the church, and in society. However, this is to say that we have been given a specific leadership role and we have got to stop neglecting it.

We are called to be the compass that sets the direction for our families. Wives will respond to husbands that they know they can trust and know love them. The breakdown of the family in our society and in our churches today falls on the men. It is our problem. It is our failure.

If a woman wants a divorce, it is most likely because her husband refused to sacrificially love her and lead her. If a woman commits adultery, it is most likely because her husband made her feel unwanted and uncared for. She is not without sin or excuse but I still believe it is ultimately the husband’s responsibility to remain faithful and also to be a husband that keeps his wife faithful.

I truly don’t mean to upset some whose marriages fall into the exception category but the state of marriage is a joke and the missing link is the biblical man who sees his responsibility according to Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”

That is an enormous challenge and cannot be accomplished without the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ but nevertheless it is our only hope for our marriages and the state of marriage today.

With this context in mind, I want to invite you to invest in your marriage through an upcoming marriage conference. The “Love and Respect Marriage Conference” will take place on April 13-14 at First United Methodist Church of Clanton. The participating churches are First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, West End Baptist Church, Grace Fellowship Church, First Assembly of God and Liberty Hill Baptist Church. Though you don’t have to belong to any of these churches or any church, please contact any of these churches if you are interested in registering. We hope you will.

–Jake McCall is pastor of Grace Fellowship in Clanton.