Let me begin this potentially (potentially?!?!) controversial article by making it abundantly clear that my wife is an absolutely amazing woman. She is smart, sexy, strong, brave, confident, wise, Godly, and apparently (given that her husband is writing an article entitled, “Why Should My Wife Obey me?”), more longsuffering than any canonized saint. I mean, they probably already have a statue built of her in heaven’s town square just for putting up with me!
Don’t get me wrong: she’s not perfect, but neither am I. I have a LONG list of faults, any of which she would be glad to tell you IF she were that kind of wife (fortunately for me, she isn’t). 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 I am married to her. I owe everything, from my happiness to my children to anything I’ve managed to accomplish in this world, to the remarkable helpmate God gave 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… ME!!! WHO in the name of Barbara Streisand do I think I am? Why, I must think really highly of myself to be deluded with that kind of self-aggrandizing pomposity!
Actually, that’s far from the case. The truth is, I’m no more qualified to head my household than I was to receive salvation from God – which is to say not at all. I’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve the headship of my home. In fact, sometimes the thought of being responsible for leading my wife and four children scares me to death! Certainly, any wisdom and strength I have for the task is completely God-given.
So that all begs the question – why on EARTH would I even try to make this case, when virtually the entire population has been programmed to think it tantamount to coming home from work, putting on a ‘wife-beater,’ sitting on the couch in front of the TV and screaming at the ‘old lady’ to bring a light and a cold one, pronto? The laundry can wait, at least until dinner is on the table and the dishes are put away! Sadly, this is probably not far off from the way those of us who believe in Biblical submission are viewed by many.
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, despite my MANY faults, foibles, and utter inadequacy for the job.
Five Reasons Why My Wife Should Obey Me
1) 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.
2) I consider her my equal
In the eyes of God, there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female (Galatians 3:28). This doesn’t mean there aren’t hierarchies of ‘command’ here on earth, but is a 5-star general any more loved by God than a 4-star general, or even a private (yeah kids, that’s you – better keep practicing those salutes and “yes, sirs” and “ma’ams!” )? Of course not! There is nothing ‘demeaning’ to the wife because she is Biblically submissive to her husband.
3) In leadership, two is a crowd
In every successful organization, from churches to businesses to schools to armies to nations, while responsibilities are shared, ultimately the buck stops somewhere, and that somewhere is the person at the top. The truth is, life is full of hierarchies, and they aren’t all bad.
An organization with more than one CEO, like a ship with more than one rudder, ultimately goes nowhere. Imagine if there were two Presidents with equal powers. Although both understand and agree that football is the best sport (duh!), one wants to invade Canada and stop hockey (because we all know hockey really should be stopped!) while the other wants to invade South America to rid the hemisphere of soccer. All are admirable goals, but do we really have the capacity to conduct both operations efficiently? I think not.
While the person in charge should certainly get advice from those he is responsible for, someone has to make the final decision. Common sense says, otherwise, nothing of consequence gets done.
4) I seek her input
A husband would be foolish to never seek the counsel of his wife (OK maybe Job should have left it alone, but that’s a topic for another day!). What kind of leader never asks for the advice of his co-workers? A horribly ineffective one! 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 on something. We’ll hash it out, and usually, 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.
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! In the most fundamental building block of society, 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.
OK, a few caveats
- because, as you could imagine, this is a principle that has been heavily abused in history and even by some Christians today:
1) It is NEVER a man’s responsibility to ‘make’ his wife obey him.
That is always her choice, and 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, so (obviously) don’t be a bully!
2) True Biblical submission is always a 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.
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 those of you whose knees are (understandably) jerking back into your chest 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 doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31: 11-12