The essential balance of roles in marriage 

Jefferson Khumalo 

A man only requires peace, respect and moral support from his partner for him to succeed, while a woman desires safety, reassurance and a dependable leader who keeps his promises. Everything else is a bonus. 

In the fabric of marriage, each thread plays a vital role in weaving a strong and harmonious bond. A woman is designed or anointed to be a helper to her husband, while a man is designed or anointed to lead his wife.  

If there is a displacement or swapping of roles between the two, it can lead to a serious catastrophe. This is because the capacities will become dysfunctional due to the displacement. 

Reflecting upon this wise statement, I am compelled to highlight the significance of maintaining the delicate balance of roles within the marital union. As I delve into this subject, I am guided by the principles that wives and husbands must not compete but rather complement and support each other.  

When I say that wives and husbands must not compete, I am emphasising the importance of embracing our unique roles and responsibilities. Instead of vying for dominance, we must strive to work in tandem, acknowledging and appreciating the strengths that each of us brings to the union. It is through this mutual respect and recognition that we create a solid foundation for our partnership to flourish. 

Inherent in this dynamic is the belief that spouses must be responsible and accountable to each other. By upholding our individual responsibilities, we create a supportive environment where both partners feel valued and validated. 

Finally, I am reminded of the crucial need for spouses to protect each other’s emotions. This entails fostering an environment of open communication, empathy, and understanding. By safeguarding each other’s emotional well-being, we fortify the emotional core of our marriage, allowing it to weather the storms that may arise. 

The wisdom I am sharing in my original quote in the first paragraph serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate dance of roles within marriage. As I reflect on these principles, I am reaffirmed in my commitment to honour and uphold the unique roles of both myself and my partner. By doing so, I am contributing to the enduring strength and vitality of our union, creating a space where love, respect, and understanding can thrive. 

I am committed to fostering an environment where mutual respect and collaboration are the cornerstones of our partnership.  

I firmly believe that by embracing our designated roles, we are not only upholding tradition but also recognising the intrinsic value that each of us brings to the marriage. This acknowledgement forms the basis of our mutual support and empowerment, allowing us to draw strength from our differences and celebrate the unique contributions we make to our shared journey. 

Moreover, I am mindful of the need to cultivate an atmosphere of trust and reliability within our marriage. By remaining steadfast in our responsibilities and accountabilities, we lay the groundwork for a relationship built on integrity and dependability. This, in turn, fosters a deep sense of security and reassurance, providing us with the confidence to confront challenges as a united front. 

The concept of complementing each other resonates deeply with me, as I recognise the beauty that arises from the harmonious blending of our individual qualities.  

Just as a symphony is enriched by the interplay of diverse instruments, so too is our marriage enhanced by the interweaving of our strengths and attributes. Embracing this synergy allows us to create a vibrant tapestry of shared experiences, aspirations, and accomplishments. 

Lastly, the imperative to protect each other’s emotions holds a special significance in my heart. It underscores the importance of empathy, compassion, and attentiveness in our interactions. By nurturing an environment where emotional vulnerability is met with understanding and support, we cultivate a sense of intimacy and connection, strengthening the emotional fabric of our relationship. 

In conclusion, the principles I outlined serve as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards a fulfilling and enduring marital union. As I reflect on these tenets, I am inspired to continue embracing my role with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, knowing that by honouring the unique capacities of both me and my partner, we are shaping a future defined by unity, resilience, and unwavering love. 


  • Khumalo is the MD of Covenant Life Inclusive and a senior pastor of Covenant Church

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