After the great response to my wife’s powerful blog post Dear Wives, we thought it might be helpful to approach the subject with a Biblical study showing the theological implications. I believe her position follows the Word of God.
Male Headship Chart (Click here for PDF version)
This isn’t a “how to be a good husband” blog post. I’ve got too much to learn there myself. It is helpful, however, to understand the legitimate boundaries of what it means to be a good husband Biblically, or I won’t even know where to start in trying to be the right kind of husband. Plus the ladies need to see what the Bible really asks of them amid the conflicting reports they hear.
We tweak our role of headship until it means boss and master. We quote some verses to the exclusion of others and spend a great deal of time explaining how the ladies must obey while speaking little of our command to love. You know, that “love” thing is touchy-feely and hard to quantify and so not worth discussing.
Scholars battle the same battles in a way. Like the population at large they divide into 2 camps and give them high-sounding names. One group says men and women are equal and nothing else matters and so call themselves egalitarians. The other group says men and women are equal but have God-given roles that ask different things of them while never doing away with equality. They call themselves complementarians. This group takes the Bible more literally and is generally more conservative. I believe this to be the Biblical position.
Within the conservative world, though, there’s another group that wields too much influence and are unnoticed by the scholars. I think I’ll name them the Authoritarians. They believe in God-given roles, but do not really believe that men and women are equal. The idea of women being the “weaker vessel” extends beyond the physical to spiritual, emotional, and intellectual levels to their minds. Unkind, unchristian, and even abusive behavior springs out of this thinking. To my mind, this in no way could be supported Biblically.
So how are husbands and wives to live this unique thing that the Bible asks. We actually do have a blueprint. It is in the relationship that the Father had with Jesus while He was on this earth. Clearly, there is unity in the Godhead. We often say the Godhead is co-equal and co-eternal.
Still, when Jesus came to this earth He had a very distinct role to fill–to be our Savior. In this role, He was always saying He was doing the Father’s will. He found a way to do this without surrendering His equality.
On the other hand, the Father treated the Son with such love and respect. Remember how at Jesus’ baptism the Father burst out with: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”?
Perhaps you think you have found a flaw with this already. Perhaps, gentlemen, you say that your wife isn’t perfect like Jesus. I still think it fits because we fellas aren’t perfect like the Father either! They are equal in their perfectness while we and our wives are equal in our imperfectness.
If that be true, this will take work of course. Still, certain things are out of bounds. Would you ever imagine the Father yelling at Jesus? Or belittling Him? Or trying to put Him in His place so He’d know Who the boss is? Or using Him for selfish ends? Or think of this–Could you ever imagine the Father asking for submission without providing complete, unselfish, and unconditional love? I didn’t think so. Gentlemen, the boundaries are not where we have always felt or been told they are, are they? I’ll say this–I’ve grown to this position over time. I still have a long way to go, but this realization has transformed our marriage.