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The Head of the Woman is the Man

Problem SolvedIt’s funny, you know, how a particular headline can grab attention. I’m guessing that some people are reading this because they like the idea of the man being the head of the woman. Others have their proverbial guns drawn.

Saying that the husband is the head of the wife is controversial in light of the modern emphasis on gender equality. The statement Paul made in 1 Corinthians 11:3 was controversial when he wrote it for a different reason – because of a lack of gender equality. You see, whether we realize it or not, Paul was arguing for balance in the marriage relationship. Let me explain…

The Husband Is the Head of the Wife, Just as the head of Christ is God

Paul wrote this idea in a time when women really weren’t considered equal peers at all. But if you analyze his statement, Paul was really putting forth the idea of equality. Note that when I say “equality” I don’t mean at all that men and women are the same, but rather that they are of the same value.

How can I take that from Paul’s words? Well in our Trinitarian doctrine, who is more valuable and important – God the Father or God the Son? If you guessed either, you’re wrong. They are equals. They aren’t the same, for they fulfill different roles, but neither is better or worse, and neither is more or less important than the other.

In a society that devalued women, Paul’s words were liberating.

The Husband Is the Head of the Wife, Just as the head of Christ is God

Now think about the statement again, only notice the opposite emphasis. Though totally equal in value and worth, the husband is the head or overseer of his wife. We don’t have to understand this, like this, or even believe this, but God has ordained that it be true.

The Son of God has forever been in both subordination and perfect harmony with God. The same is to be true in the home. I don’t think for a second Paul is handing men the ownership of their wives. Wives are not slaves – they are equals, remember? But the husband is the head in the sense that he’s to be the leader.

How Does A Godly Husband Lead?

This is the next logical question. We humans have a lengthy history of either ignoring God’s wisdom on the matter, or abusing His Words to tyrannize women. So here are my own thoughts about what male leadership in the home looks like…

  • Godly husbands care about the welfare of their wives and will stop at nothing to protect and to provide for them.
  • Godly husbands are self-sacrificing and lay down their own desires and preferences to pursue what is best for their wives.
  • Godly husbands take the initiative to guide the family in their walk with God and in the world.
  • Godly husbands seek to understand their wives and to be sensitive to their needs.
  • Godly husbands speak the truth within the home, guiding the family to a sense of what is right and wrong in light of God’s word.
  • Godly husbands make decisions boldly, but never in isolation. They see their wives as partners, helpers, and companions in decision making.

Agree or disagree, the problem we face in society is two-fold. Some men are bullies and others are wimps. Somewhere in between is the kind of husband Jesus would be if He were here – loving, compassionate, strong, and balanced.

Creative Commons License photo credit: badjonni