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Marriage that Works - Is There a Man in the House?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 5:00 am

Marriage that Works - Is There a Man in the House?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 4, 2024 5:00 am

What does it take to be a “real man?”  Chip explores this question and reveals a refreshing perspective that you’ll want to hear.

Main Points

Redefining manhood in our marriages and homes

  • It always begins with mutual submission.
  • A great dance/marriage requires clarity of roles.
  • Husbands are to "step up" and give their lives to lead their families in righteousness.
Broadcast ResourceAdditional Resource MentionsAbout Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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It is tremendously difficult to be a godly man, to know what it means to be a man, and have the power to live that out.

Most of us didn't have good examples, and most of us honestly don't know what it looks like. I want to help you today. Let me encourage you.

Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. We're in the middle of our series, Marriage That Works, based in the book of Ephesians. Now today Chip begins to break down men's and women's roles, responsibilities, and expectations inside a marriage covenant. So in this program he'll focus on helping guys be godly husbands, and also the type of men the Bible calls them to be. Now if you're ready, let's get started. Here's Chip with his talk, Is There a Man in the House?

from Ephesians chapter five. When I was in high school I visited a young gal. She was a couple years younger than me, and I went over to her house to meet with her and her mom. And as I walked in, you know, small talk, there was a picture on the mantle of a very good looking guy, and had a military uniform and his hat on and a smile, and I just casually said, well who's that? And her face really changed, and she goes, well that's my dad. And I thought, well maybe did I say something wrong? And her mom said, well you don't understand, that's her dad, but he's been missing in action in Vietnam for a number of years now.

And so we're kind of in limbo. We pray every day that someday he'll come back and I'll have a husband and she'll have a dad, but we just don't know. And as I got to know that girl I saw the incredible deficits that occurred because the gaps of a missing in action father. I mean she had needs to be loved and encouraged and to know what it looks like to be cherished, and that just wasn't there, and her mom had the same kind of needs. And I've researched the family quite a bit because I grew up in one of those dysfunctional kind of families, and my dad was a very good guy, but he was a passive dad. He was a great athlete and he was a very strong man, but my mom ran everything in our home.

My dad couldn't even pick out his own clothes. I remember one time sitting later in their marriage, I was in I think high school at the time, and I came back and he was just really ticked off and he'd been there all day, and I said what's wrong? He goes, man I'm hungry. I said, well is there no food in the refrigerator?

He goes, yeah, but Marty's not here to fix me a sandwich. And I thought, that's pathetic is what I thought. But you would be shocked at how many marriages and how many homes where the men are missing in action. And by the way, don't feel like if you're a guy here you're like, oh why did I come today? This guy's going to slam me. I am not.

I'm compassionate. What I want to tell you is there is a profile, a picture in scripture of what it means to be a man that delivers for a woman and delivers for kids and is the kind of guy you girls want to date. But most of us men, we didn't grow up and we've never seen it, and so we're going to talk about it.

And the impact's devastating. Let me do a little research before we get started and give you what I call the evolution of the American male. 1950s, GIs come back from the war. It's early 50s.

Suburban is flourishing. The word divorce is unheard of. It happens maybe with movie stars. 99% of all the young girls and young boys in the world have a mom and a dad. They live together. They build a little house and they're going to do the American dream.

Bam, it's the 60s. Make love, not war. Existentialism comes into the reality of how people actually live. Relative truth gets planted, and so all of a sudden sex and love and marriage are separated. So you can have sex or hook up with someone, but there's no commitment to love them.

There's no commitment to marry, and the stability of the family begins to disintegrate. Hit the 70s and feminism in its height is birthed. Now obviously the need for people to get equal pay for equal work was very important, but the feminism of the 70s was radical. It was men and women are essentially the same.

There are no real differences. And then we went on a track, and in the 80s people got tired of the sexual issues, and it was the me decade. It was Wall Street. It was affluence. It was money. It was work.

It was make it. And the more the better, the more the better, the more the better. And workaholism took off in greater measure like never before. By the 90s it was confusion.

We had Columbine. The sex roles were blurred. The sex roles were changed. What's a man do?

What's a woman do? The rise of homosexuality, openly gay things became more and more prominent in the culture. By the 2000s the world was just going in all kind of different directions. So 80 percent of the kids that grow up will not have a father at some point in their childhood between birth and 18 years old. Families are disintegrating with the financial fallout and the emotional fallout.

About 65 percent of all the people before they get married live together to kind of try it out, and then the research tells us that if you live together it sort of kind of hurts your chances of staying married. So we've got all this confusion. In fact, I would challenge you to think of the last movie that you saw or the last TV program you saw where a man was depicted as strong, sensitive, courageous, caring, protective, and providing for those around him. Our heroes have changed. Who's our heroes now? Athletes and actors.

Now think of that. Athletes and actors. And what do they both do? They play. Our heroes play. What's really an actor?

What do they do? They pretend to be other people. So now we have a world where we give millions of dollars and frontline and fame and little teenage girls, I read a survey where preteens, their goal in life was to be the person who helps in the star room with the famous person. That was their goal in life.

I'm an 11-year-old girl and someday I want to be the person that brings water to the rock star. Now think of that. That's pathetic. And so our heroes become players and actors, and we learn that our players for money create one image and exploit women and destroy their families when they're not at home. And so you've got this development of the evolution of the American male, and there's two major consequences. One is the father-absent family, and then the other is the impact of changing roles. In terms of the father-absent family, a report by the US government consisting of authorities on child development did an evaluation of adolescents in America. It was called Code Blue, and their summary of their report, never before has one generation of American teenagers been less healthy, less cared for, or less prepared for life.

And then they note in the byline, this occurred, mind you, in one of the most affluent and privileged nations in the history of the world. It goes on to say in another study that boys suffer most from the absence and non-involvement of a father. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, boys without a father are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to go to jail, four times more likely to need treatment for emotional and behavioral problems than boys with father. Harvard University psychologist Dr. William Pollack, who's the author of Real Boys, says divorce is difficult for all children, but divorce is devastating for males. He says the basic problem is the lack of discipline and supervision in a father's absence and his unavailability to teach his son what it means to be a man. So father absent homes or disengaged passive fathers beget father absent homes and more disengaged fathers in the future. Finally, sociologist Peter Carle believes that boys in our day, think of this, he says 80% of the time of boys are spent with women growing up, so they don't know how to act as men when they grow up.

When that happens, the relationship between the sexes is directly affected and men become helpless and more like big kids. Anybody seen that lately? Where, you know, a real man puts a baseball hat on backwards and wears the jersey of a 20 something year old making $20 million and plays fantasy football and his livelihood and manlihood and significance is in playing and pretending because issues like providing, he's never seen. Leadership, he's never seen. Courage, he's never seen. Spiritual leadership, he's never seen.

And you really don't have a clue of what it means to be a man. The result is the roles change and they blur. Psychologist Pierre Mornel is a psychologist and author in San Francisco. It's an older book, but as this was developing, he had all these people in the powerful financial districts, their wives were driving over the big bridge and getting counseling.

And he said the stories kept being all the same, all the same, all the same. My husband is a big, you know, powerful person in the financial district. He drives downtown San Francisco. He's in the city. He's making multimillion and sometimes billion dollar deals. He is forceful. He's strategic. He's powerful.

He's well educated. When he walks in the room, people snap too. And I've been and I've seen him at work and then he comes home. And he's like a couch potato.

His number one thing is the remote. He puts the Wall Street Journal or the sports page in front of his face. He doesn't lead our family. He doesn't lead our kids. He's not active.

He's passive. And so he wrote a book called Passive Men. And his thesis is it creates wild women.

And I will suggest the result is very, very confused kids. And you know, that little girl that I told you about when her dad was missing in action, it produces not good stuff. And today we have more and more marriages and families where the man is missing action.

And often that doesn't mean he's not in the home. I grew up, I didn't know what it meant to be a man. I just did what my dad did. I figured out how to get good in sports. I figured out how to play and pretend. And then I became a Christian.

And I had to completely relearn and literally start from scratch about what it means to be a man. And so that's what we're going to do in our time. We're going to talk about what it means to be a real man. And so as we do that, here's what I want you to do. I want you to know that there's two things we want to avoid.

I call them the two PCs. One, the politically correct, it doesn't matter, whatever, any family style, any alternative. Can we just agree that in light of the research and in light of families and divorce and kids and even the financial damage, that the current politically correct quote, this is what a man is, does not work. And then second before we go on, that pseudo-Christian, I call it PC, where in the name of God, you know those caricatures you have of Christian men who are narrow, bigoted, stupid. They take the Bible and go, I'm the head of this house and the Bible says so, so everyone's supposed to do what I'm... That is not what the Bible teaches.

If anybody has to thump your chest and tell people you're in charge, believe me, you are not. We're going to look at a picture as you turn the page of what a real man is. And what a real man is, we're going to learn, is defined by God in a way that does something very powerful in his wife. He does something very powerful if you're dating him. It's something very, very powerful and refreshing if he's one of your friends and if he's your dad. It's you grow up one day and when he's a real man, you say in your heart, even without words, someday I want to be like him. Someday I want to be like him.

I bet I can count on four fingers in all the young men I've counseled and mentored and especially guys in ministry, probably on four fingers, the young men I've ever met, that when I ask them, tell me a little bit about your dad, I've had them just, I mean, almost well up and say, here's what I'll tell you about my dad. Someday I want to be just like him. And I learned he was an engineer. You mean an engineer like him?

He said, no, no. I want to be a Christian like him. I want to be a dad like him. I want to be a husband like him. I want to be a man of integrity like him. But I'll tell you what, I don't know about you guys, that's my dream for my kids. And it's never too late.

In fact, sometimes when it occurs late, they can see the difference even more. So where does it begin? Redefining manhood in marriages and our homes, it always begins with mutual, write the word submission. It always begins with mutual submission. There's this umbrella that covers the entire passage about relationships.

And this umbrella is submit to one another out of the fear of Christ. And he's going to talk about the marriage relationship, then the child parent relationship and the slave master relationship and all through the rest of the entire book of Ephesians from chapter 5, 21 to the end of the book, there's this umbrella that governs. Of course, you're living out various roles and responsibilities, but it's with the sense that first and foremost, you're going to walk with God and your goal and desire would be to love or put the other person in the relationship ahead of yourself.

So that really eliminates an awful lot of the argument about role and who's the leader, who takes the first step and who's the most powerful and all those things become secondary. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and he'll continue our series Marriage That Works in just a minute. But first, do you long to have the God-honoring, love-filled relationship Chip's been describing? If so, keep listening after this teaching to learn about a tool we've developed to help husbands and wives deepen their connection to one another and with God. Stick around for more details.

Well, with that, here again is Chip. I call it the metaphor of the dance. What does mutual submission look like? I jotted this down. The word submit here is very interesting in the ancient military term.

It's a compound word of hupo to mean under and taso that means to be in order or rank file. Rather than promoting self-assertion, it urges the readers to be subject or submit to one another. One commentator calls this a mutual desire to get less than one's due.

Now think about that. You're in a relationship with your husband or your wife, and it's a mutual desire instead of asserting my rights my way, it's a mutual desire to get less than you are due. It's a sweet reasonableness, an attitude that the Spirit of God is in control to consider this person that you're married to more important than yourself. Mutual submission is the dance floor itself and the space within we have the freedom to move. It requires that the man and the woman, each in lordship relationship to Christ, come to see the dance asking each other, how can I make you successful? How can I serve you? How can I express my love and our roles together? Male chauvinism and female manipulation find no place here.

They've evaporated even before the first steps begin. This is the dance that God has designed for two people who say, our first commitment is first and foremost to you. God, you are the choreographer.

You tell me what step I need to take when in this dance of marriage so that I can serve my partner, honor you, and as a byproduct be deeply fulfilled. Now I don't know if you've ever watched either the old black and white movies where like Fred Astaire, remember when people used to dance when they would dance together? Or if you've watched Dancing with the Stars? Or I like the ice skating when they have the male and female and they put it to music and the guy does this and he catches her and then she goes like this and she's doing all this, right? Now you think about that, if he's not at the right place at the right time, she's really going to get hurt.

And you talk about trust, I mean, he's doing this, right? Now you understand they work for thousands of hours to create what you watch, what seems like a seamless piece of beauty and art and to the music. And each step someone wrote it, it's been choreographed. He knows that at this place on the ice he needs to slide here, he needs to prepare, he needs to catch, he needs to lift, she needs to let go.

Every single step by each person has been written out in advance. And when you see it, if you didn't see like the very first note, when you see it you couldn't tell me who took the first step or who took the second. All you would see is to the music the beauty and the rhythm of the dance. That's how God designed marriage.

He's the choreographer. The issue has very little to do with who takes which step, it's who's responsible to make it work. And so God gives some instruction to men, this is how you do the dance to make it beautiful for you and for her.

Next week, ladies, here's how you do the dance to make it work. And so what you learn is that mutual submission is a picture of a fellow loving of one another, not some sort of battleground for who does what in a marriage. The great dance or marriage requires clarity of roles. It's really much more about who's responsible than the big debate about who leads and who does this and who does that. The person who leads is the person who's responsible. What I'm about to tell your husband or your boyfriend or for some of you your son is absolutely impossible for them to do. I mean, this will be, this is a real man.

Here is the bar. This is what God expects, this is what you to do. When you do this, women feel cherished, loved, completed. When you do this, a family is going the right direction in the right way for the right reason. When you do this, little kids grow up and think you're the greatest thing in the world.

They have a great self-image, they have clear moral values. But what I'm about to share with especially those that are married with your husband is, I mean, they could go like this and just be so covered with guilt like I was. It was like, are you kidding?

I never saw this. How could I ever do this? And so what I want you to know is one, there's hope. And ladies, this would be very helpful. If you'll keep your elbows like in, because as your husband listens to God for the next few minutes, this will not help. Or some of you are kind of a little more, you know, oh God, God, God, please, please, please, I'm so glad he came today. He so needed to hear this. Get him, Holy Spirit.

Please don't go there. Or for others, oh Lord, I'm so glad he's been come upon this day to hear the word of God that he might be married to one as righteous as I. How about you just pray, oh God, I can't imagine trying to live up to this, and I know it's hard.

No, no, it's impossible. Will you show me anything I can do to help my man, whether it's my boyfriend, my son, or my husband, to be what you've called him to be? Because until men step up and be who God wants them to be, families and marriages will never be what God wants them for his glory or for you. And so he says, starting out with the dance, he goes, wives, be subject to your own husbands and to the Lord.

Here's the reason. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the church. So there's a role, there's a responsibility here. He himself, Jesus, being the savior of the body, but as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Here's where it gets hard. Husbands, love your wives. Well, how? Just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Well, why did he do that? That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word. That he might present to himself a church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and be blameless.

Application. So there's this some connection between a husband loving a wife, the same way Jesus loves his church. So husbands ought to love their own wives.

How? As their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself because the two member became one. For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the church because we're his members. Now, guys, if you have a pen, pull it out. I want you to circle and underline a few words. First of all, I want you as quickly as you can to scan that, and every time the word love is there, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it.

You're going to get something real quickly, right? Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church. No man loved his own body, right? This word is not phileo love. Be a good friend.

Be loyal. This is not eros love. This isn't sexual love.

This isn't even storge love, which is have a good family connection. This is agape love. Agape love is not an emotional love.

It may or may not have emotion. Agape love is unconditionally giving another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost. That's how Jesus loved you. That's how Jesus loved me. When I was in my sin, when I didn't want any of God's help and I absolutely didn't deserve it, Christ died in my place. When Jesus was in the garden, and he was fully man and fully God, and in his humanness, knowing that God the Father would turn his face away from him and your sin and my sin would be placed on him, he said, basically, translation, if there's a plan B that we haven't thought of, why don't we go with plan B instead of this cross stuff? Nevertheless, not my will, right?

But yours. Listen, Jesus did not emotionally want to die for you. He didn't feel like it. He chose to. Agape love is a choice.

It's a choice. When I, as a man, treat my wife well, when I'm sensitive to her, when I care about her, when I respond in ways that God wants me to because I feel really good about her, that's a good thing. It's a far greater thing when she hurts me and wounds me and is acting in ways that make me feel like I want to push her away.

Agape love is I give her what she needs the most when she deserves it the least at great personal cost. Now women, that's what God calls your husband to do to you. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Is There a Man in the House? from our series, Marriage That Works. Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. You know, it's no secret that the institution of marriage is in trouble.

What was once a foundational part of society is now becoming an irrelevant and outdated custom. But there is hope. Join Chip as he challenges this status quo through his study in Ephesians chapter five. Learn how in the face of cultural pressure you can raise godly kids, have a healthy home life, and build a lasting marriage. For more info about this series, visit

That's Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, you've said before the communication is the highway upon which love travels. What do you mean by that? What I mean by that is you can love your mate with all your heart and with the very best of intentions and do what you really think is communicating love.

And let me just tell you from personal experience, you can absolutely miss it. For years and years, I mean, I was trying so hard in my marriage, and I was kind of speaking Italian, you know, and she only spoke French. And what I mean by that is that there's a language that communicates to your mate, but you may not use the same language. So for me, verbal affirmation, physical touch, those things communicate, wow, I really feel loved. Well, to my wife, it was acts of service. I mean, it was like vacuuming the floor, taking out the garbage, and then meaningful time together were hers. And so I was doing one thing, and she was like, hey, here's a great dinner and look how clean the house is.

I'm going, okay, thank you very much. And so we had to learn the other person's love language. And then for us, having the tools that when there is conflict, how do you resolve it without attacking the person? And so out of that led us to marriage counseling, and out of that led us to a number of tools that really helped us learn how to speak the other's language and how to resolve conflict and how to really communicate. And that developed into a small group series called Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage. Let me encourage you, watch it by yourself if you have to, but better, get two or three couples, and I will guarantee one thing, it'll get deeper, richer, and better.

Dave, why don't you tell them how to get it? Well, to order the Small Group Study Guide, go to or call 888-333-6003. And let me tell you, just by investing some time in this study, you'll be blown away by what you learn about marriage and what God has in store for you and your spouse. So for complete details about our Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage Small Group, go to or call us at 888-333-6003.

App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, Chip, I think your talk today really hit a nerve for a lot of couples out there, and that's why we want to encourage our listeners to join us for our next broadcast, to hear the rest of this message, because there's a lot of practical encouragement to come. Well, Dave, I do know that is a very raw issue, and probably a lot of women are thinking, boy, I wish my husband could hear this. Actually, they're thinking, forget, hear it.

I wish he would do what this guy said. And a lot of men, if they're like me, are feeling like, if that's what it means to be a man, I don't have a clue. And Dave, here's what I want people to hear.

They need to hear the grace side, God's heart in this. The average male is missing in action in the home, but the average male is missing in action in the home for the same reason I was. We didn't have a dad that modeled Christ-like servant behavior. We didn't have a man who provided and protected.

We had a breadwinner. We had a good guy, but he didn't serve. He didn't love. He didn't lead spiritually.

He didn't, I mean, he didn't know how. And so now for many of us, we've come to Christ. We want to be good men. We want to be good fathers, but we don't have a picture of what I also know right now in America, 40% of all the children in America at some time in the first 18 years are living in a home where there's not even a dad there.

So that just multiplies the problem. And third is, as believers, we don't know what the Bible says. We don't know what does God say it means to be a man. And so, you know, I put a baseball hat on backwards and I watch sports center and you know, rah, rah, rah, and you know, hey man, you know, that's what it means to be a man. You know, I could catch something or throw something or, you know, I'm powerful at the office or I can build something. And this whole side of what it means to be a man is very, very difficult.

But I will tell you, there's something in a man's heart that longs to be a man. And this series will help men get there. Thanks, Chip. Looking forward to our next broadcast. As we close, I want to thank each of you who makes this program possible through your generous giving. 100% of your gifts go directly to the ministry to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you found this teaching helpful, but aren't yet on the team, consider doing that today, won't you?

Sending a gift is easy. Go to or call us at 888-333-6003. Again, that's 888-333-6003. Or visit App listeners, tap donate. And let me thank you in advance for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. We'll listen to next time as Chip picks up in his series, Marriage That Works. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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