Who Does the Dishes?


Decision Making in Marriage by Winston Smith – a summary

How do you decide which family responsibilities belong to you and which belong to your spouse?

Love is Your First Responsibility  

  • No matter what your role is, no matter how important you think your job is, no matter how good you are at it, if you’re not acting in love, then what you do has no value.
  • No matter how marital roles are defined, they are only different expressions of love.

Biblical Authority is About Responsibility and Care 

  • Jesus makes a radical distinction between the way he exercises authority and the way the world does.
  • Authority should not be about status and power, as the disciples’ request assumes.
  • In Jesus’ kingdom, authority is exercised withe the attitude of a servant who is working for the welfare of others.
  • Jesus makes it clear that husbands must not use their authority to serve their own ends of prestige, convenience, comfort, and control.
  • God is asking wives to allow their husbands to love and care for them.


The Role of the Husband 

  1. Serve your wife with sacrificial love.
  2. The goal of your love should be to build up your wife and help her grow as a Christian.
  3. Don’t use your authority to hinder your wife’s growth.
  4. Get to know your wife.

Living Out Your Servant Leadership

  • Jesus is your model and your companion in seasons when discouragement sets in.
  • How you respond to her criticism may be your most powerful way of loving your wife and a testimony to Christ’s work in your life.
  • Servant-leadership means spending more time understanding how to minister to her than defending yourself.

The Role of the Wife  

  1. Have the right view of submission.
  2. Understand respect as a form of love.
  3. Act in love even when you are disappointed.

Living Out Your Submission  

  • What does submission look like in a marriage where the husband demands obedience?
  • How will you guard against the temptation to say no to your husband’s decisions simply out of fear?
  • Loving your husband means being a trustworthy companion that will invite him to share openly about how he’s wrestling with decisions.
  • Loving your husband also means being willing to share with him your perspective on difficult decisions.

Some Advice for Husbands and Wives  

  1. Don’t recreate your parents’ marriage.
  2. Consider how God has uniquely gifted each of you.
  3. Don’t consider any gift either inferior or superior.

Reflect Christ to Each Other and the Watching World

  • Understand that your marital roles, however you define them, must reflect the character of Christ.
  • Whatever your role, whether it is leading, following, or both, you are called to look to Jesus as your example and the only one who can empower you to live out your ultimate calling to live in love and grace.

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