Patriarchy is dead, or so we’re told. Feminism and political correctness, instead of the Bible, now define gender roles within marriage.
The outdated, ridiculous notion of male headship of the home has been relegated to the dustbin of history, right along with Nazism, Ward Cleaver and the Duggars. We men had our shot and we apparently blew it, what with all these wars and whatnot.
Conservatives lament that Christian denominations are folding like tents on the gay marriage issue, but it’s really no surprise. All but the most conservative of them began the process of turning marriage completely on its head by abandoning male headship in marriage decades ago. Given the strikingly parallel societal decline we’ve experienced in pretty much every moral area, a strong case could be made that it hasn’t worked out so well.
[sharequote align="center"]“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.”[/sharequote]
I’d like to begin by making it abundantly clear that my wife is an absolutely amazing woman. She is smart, sexy, strong, brave, confident, wise, Godly, and apparently, more longsuffering than any canonized saint. Really, just for putting up with me the woman probably has her own statue in heaven’s Hall of Fame.
Of course she’s not perfect, but neither am I. Suffice it to say that I firmly believe she is a better person than I am, and she makes me want to be a better man every day that we’re married. I owe everything, from my happiness to my children to anything I’ve managed to accomplish in this world, to the remarkable helpmate God provided to stand beside me.
“Beside,” and not “behind,” you ask? After all, I’m writing an article supposedly to make the case that my wife should, horror of all horrors, OBEY me. WHO in the name of Barbara Streisand do I think I am? Why, what kind of self-aggrandizing pomposity does it really take to think so highly of oneself?
Actually, that’s far from the case. The truth is, I’ve done no more to deserve the headship of my household than I did to deserve Christ’s salvation. In fact, if I’m to be completely honest, sometimes the thought of being responsible for leading my wife and four children can be pretty scary. Certainly, any wisdom and strength I have for the task is completely God-given.
So that all begs the question – why on EARTH would anyone still alive on the planet even try to make the case that a wife should obey her husband? Especially when the entire population has been programmed to think of men as coming home from work, sprawling on the couch in a “wife-beater” and hollering at the “old lady” to bring a sandwich and a cold one, pronto?
Sadly, this is not far off from the way most view those of us who believe in Biblical submission. And in reality, it’s completely understandable. Decades of media programming and brainwashing is difficult to shake off.
The answer to the question, of course, despite the politically correct mantra of our age, is Biblical. Here are two Pauline passages Hillary Clinton would love to purge:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:23
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
From sitcom and Hollywood portrayals of weak, inept husbands and fathers living in households run by dominant females to actual anti-male public policy, there can be no doubt that traditional, Biblical marriage has been under attack for a long time.
In truth, both extremes – the idea of the “Modern Family” and all it stands for with its domineering females who run the home with an iron fist and warped family values on one side, and the “wife-as-doormat” oppressive brand of Christianity that is nothing but abuse, be it verbal or physical – are wrong.
The true Biblical stance is the balance between the two extremes that forms happy, fulfilling, and functional families.
So, in defiance of political correctness and in light of Scripture and common sense, here are five reasons why I believe my wife should obey me of all people, despite my many faults, foibles, and utter inadequacy for the job apart from Christ.
1) In Leadership, Two’s a Crowd
In every successful organization, from churches to businesses, schools to armies, while responsibilities are shared, ultimately the buck has to stop somewhere. An organization with more than one CEO is about as effective as a ship with more than one rudder. Imagine if we just cancelled the general presidential election and let each party nominee serve at the same time. Imagine if our co-presidents were Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul. Think anything would get done?
While the person in charge should certainly get advice from those they are responsible for, someone has to make the final decision.
2) I Consider Her My Equal
In the eyes of God, there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female (Galatians 3:28), but as stated above this doesn’t mean there aren’t hierarchies of “command” here on earth. Just as a male employee would submit to his female boss, understand they are both on equal footing as human beings, there is nothing “demeaning” about a wife being Biblically submissive to her husband.
3) I Seek Her Input
A husband would be foolish to never seek the counsel of his wife. What kind of leader never asks for the advice of his co-workers? A horribly ineffective one!
[sharequote align="center"]A wise husband will always heavily consider the counsel of his wife.[/sharequote]
While the husband should be the head of his home, marriage is ultimately a partnership. Two heads are always better than one. Obtaining my wife’s counsel and seeking her consent, especially on decisions of consequence, is an important part of a thriving relationship. God gave us our wives to be our helpmates, the other halves of our whole. Their unique point of view is meant to balance, and often temper ours.
Ultimately, the principle of “headship” is important. The man, as the “head,” has a duty to listen to all the other parts of the body. He is responsible to his family and finally to God for the decisions he makes. A wise husband will always heavily consider the counsel of his wife.
In our marriage, my wife and I will sometimes disagree strongly. We’ll hash it out, and eventually we come to a compromise or even total agreement. Rarely is there ever a fork in the road where I make a decision that she disagrees with, but she respects my position as head of our household to make those decisions when they must be made. For me, that is a heavy responsibility never to be taken lightly. I always ask for her advice, and it is with great prayer and trepidation that I EVER make a decision without the consent of my wife.
4) I Love Her
The Bible says we should love Christ BECAUSE Christ first loved us. Paul also compares male headship of the house to Christ being the head of the church. Loving our wives is God’s primary command to us toward them (Ephesians 5:25). If we love our wives as we are called to do, to the point of chivalry, consideration, protection, and self-sacrifice, it’s naturally easy for the wife to submit to her husband. After all, she knows he has her best interest at heart.
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5) The Bible Says So
I realize this isn’t going to fly with non-Christians, but to Christians who are reading this – as much as I hate to play this card, I’m gonna… I didn’t write it, God did as He inspired the writers of the Bible. In the most fundamental building block of society and the family, God happens to have ordained the man to be the head of the house. In order for the holy state of matrimony to accurately reflect the nature of Christ’s relationship with His church, it has to be this way.
Is any system comprised of imperfect humans perfect? Of course not! There will always be men who abuse headship, just as there will always exist domineering women who keep their husbands in check with a roller pin. But male headship has worked effectively, albeit imperfectly, for thousands of years.
As you could imagine, this is a principle that has been heavily abused in history and even by some Christians today. Here are a few critical caveats:
1) It is NEVER a Man’s Duty to “Make” His Wife Obey Him
The amazing thing about freedom is that this kind of “submission” is always her choice and her decision ultimately is between her and God. To the man who has an unbelieving or un-submissive spouse, my advice would be to work on the principles and directives given to the husband – namely self-sacrificing love, chivalry, and affection; pray for her, and let God work in her heart. In the end, the only person we can change is ourselves.
2) True Biblical Submission is Always About Give and Take
The Bible, while ordaining male headship of the household, also commands both parties to render benevolence to each other (I Corinthians 7:3). And again, it commands the husband to love his wife, to give himself for her as Christ gave Himself for the church. We should be true servant-leaders, exercising our role with much prayer and humility.
3) Utilize, Don’t Suppress, the Talents and Capacities God Has Given Your Wife
The Proverbs 31 woman considered a field and bought it. Be a good delegator! And just as she should for you, support your wife in her interests and endeavors, especially as she uses her unique talents for the Lord.
So there you have it, the principle of Biblical submission from a traditional Christian male point of view. While I fully understand that this isn’t a popular stand nowadays, I truly hope readers will prayerfully consider this view in light of Scripture and common sense.
When the wife fulfills her God-given purpose and role in the home, she truly exemplifies the poetic words of Solomon:
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12
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