Hey Guys…

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.

10 thoughts on “Hey Guys…

    • I agree for the husband loving the wife side.Scripture is clear on that. But when we think of the wife submitting while being equal the only Biblical example we can cite that matches is the Father and the Son while Christ was here. I’ll write someday on the Christ and the church side (The prototype for husbands loving their wives.

      • The parallel of Christ and the church cutts both ways.

        The husaband is to love the wife as Christ loves the Church and the wife is to be in sujection to the husband as the church is to Christ!

        Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

        I think the missing key is that the husband cannot enforce submission and a wife cannot enforce sacrificial love. When roles are violated we must appeal to a higher authority.

      • Let me clarify further: Two issues are in play in what I discussed. A woman feeling that submission can’t be done without her being taken advantage of. The other issue is a man taking his wife’s submission farther than is reasonable or Christian. The man should realize that how he handles that will define his relationship with his wife. Could the woman misuse this as well? Of course, but we couldn’t be abused to the extent she could be because she could claim NO headship over us. Headship is entrusted to us but not a blanket authority that is unchristian. At least there would be no grounds for him to demand she do right if he did not. What could be more hypocritical than that? Yet I fear it happens in many cases. There should be some accountability here as there is in every other relationship. In the Christ and the church analogy, He does not make these type of demands on us (and the church is very imperfect). Submission must be given freely to be real–as with us to Christ.

  1. Amen!

    Forced obedience because of fear of any kind is tyranny not relationship.

    The threat of abuse is much greater for the women. This being said she has an appeals process that we should clearly point out to all the men and women. She can appeal to God. This seems weak to many but “God is able to save and to destroy.” She has appeal to the Church in the sense of councel or in some cases church discipline. She has an apeal to the civil authorities. These should not be used flipantly but should be clearly spelled out to ladies.

    However if the role of the husband is not a role of authority the neither is the role of Christ to His Church!

    • Good points again. Your advice is more directly to the woman. Mine to the men. If men handled headship correctly, then I believe submission on the woman’s part would go more smoothly.

      I prefer the word “headship” to the word “authority” because of the connotations involved and the Bible saying Christ is the “head” of the church. Is that an authority? Yes, but I want to show how Christ used that authority. It’s not the way many husbands use it.

      Alicia’s earlier article highlights holding men accountable, which in some ways is what you are saying.

      (For those reading through these comments, Pastor Mike Montegomery is a friend of mine and one of the finest pastors I know. Glad he chose to comment).

  2. Pingback: Dear Wives… « aliciareagan

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