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Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.”

(Ephesians 5:22-28a, ESV)

As Christians, what better can we do than to look to Christ our Savior? As we “look on Him whom we have pierced,” we see our redemption flowing from that precious side from which the spear has been removed—a washing of water, a cleansing in His blood. From the side of the second Adam, His bride is created. The water of baptism cleanses her from the filth of her sin, and the blood she receives from the chalice at His table continually provides His assurance that she is His. In this way, we, as His bride, receive His perfection, His cleansing, His grace. His kingdom is opened to us. All that we need is provided. This is the love of a husband. This is the love of a wife.

The husband loves by giving. He provides all that his bride needs. He works and he labors so that she will be satisfied and rejoice in what she has. His joy is in giving her all that he is and all that she needs. He teaches her and his whole household of the One who gives all blessings, both temporal and eternal. Are you a husband? Do you see the needs of your beloved? Do you consider what is best for her? Is it your highest joy to give to her and provide for her?

The wife loves by receiving. She sees the hands of her husband at work and knows that the labor of those hands are hers. She creates with the resources her husband provides and gives beauty to the household just as the church creates music and art and the like with the gospel message that has been given her. Are you a wife? Do you receive what your husband gives you with thanksgiving? Do you seek his will in how your household is run? Have you made your home a place of beauty for your family?

Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. We are called to be a picture of Christ and the Church: men, to love as a husband loves; women, to love as a wife loves. What better can we do but look to Christ our Savior? He loves by giving to His bride. His bride loves by receiving from Him. May God give us His grace to reflect Him in all that we do.

See also: Who Is This Who Stands a Sojourner

Rev. Justin Whitmore serves as pastor of Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and White Creek Lutheran School in rural Columbus, Indiana, where he lives with his wife and nine children. Before being called to serve in Columbus, Pastor Whitmore served the dual parish of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clarinda, Iowa, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Shenandoah, Iowa.

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