Tag Archives: wife

Headship in Marriage Part 2 – Why and How?

In the last post I was sharing on what the whole authority and headship thing means, and the qualifications. This time I want to look at why God put it there and some of the things it takes for us wives to put this difficult stuff into practice!

Why did God put this in place?

  • God is a God of order –  John Macarthur said ‘An employee may be more intelligent and more skilled than his boss, but a company cannot be run without submission to proper authority, even if some of those in authority are not as capable as they ought to be.’
  • Protection for us – When our husbands realise that we are submitted to their authority, they will often see more of the weight of the decision that lies with them, and take more care over making it. It also protects us from a lot of the worry that we would otherwise be prone to as the responsibility lies with him.
  • Women are more easily deceived –  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 2 Tim 2:14 We don’t like reading this verse mainly because of pride and the world’s teaching. But this doesn’t mean that women are less valuable or less intelligent, or inferior. ‘It does mean that God has restricted women’s role in the local church partially because she could be more easily deceived.’ (John Macarthur) And in practice we are more easily deceived, I think primarily because the emotions that God has put in us to help us care for children also have the tendency to mislead us. If I want my 3 year old daughter Hope to kiss me after she has already refused, all I have to do is to pretend to cry like a baby, ‘Waah, waaah, waaaaah!’ and she immediately gives me a kiss! There’s no chance of that with my two boys! That is a bit scary for me because it shows how easily she can be manipulated by being made to feel guilty, just as I know I can be.

What it takes on our part

  • An understanding of who God is – God is compassionate and understanding, and knows what we are going through, and knows what we can cope with – He has promised to not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear 1 Cor 10:13
  • Faith in God – God has also promised that He will work everything for the good of those who love Him Rom 8:28. This is key in submission, as if we trust that, and know that God’s will is that we submit to our husbands, then we can trust that God will work it for our good whether our husbands make the right decision or not, because ultimately God is in control, and we are doing God’s will so we don’t need to be afraid.
  • Humility – We have to get past our pride that tells us we are right and they are wrong, and that we know more than they do so we should be making the decisions. That may be true, but just as Christ humbled himself and became obedient, so must we!
  • Obedience – if we obey God we will be blessed, and if we disobey we will reap the consequences. Ultimately we have to remember, this is a clear command in the Bible, which is God’s word.

If you want to know more, Alistair Begg has an excellent sermon called ‘Being a Wife God’s Way’ that you can listen to online, as well as many other sermons on marriage and womanhood that are free to download and listen to.

Headship in Marriage Part 1 – What Does The Bible Say?

We have been going through ‘The Excellent Wife’ in our women’s ministry, so I thought I’d share some of what I’m learning as I study!

The Bible says that the husband is the head of the wife: ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.’ Eph 5:22-23

This is a controversial topic because the world’s view is so different from what the Bible says. As Christians we should try not to be pressed into the world’s mould, so if this is something you are not sure about I would encourage you to pray, be open to changing your mind, have God’s word as your rule and not what the world says, and examine the Bible to see if these things are true. Also remember that if you obey God you will be blessed!

Carolyn Mahaney says about this topic, ‘How do you view submission? Do you find it appealing or do you cringe at the mere mention of the word? If you react negatively to the idea, chances are you have only seen a warped or defective product, because the genuine article of submission brings immeasurable benefit to our marriages and tremendous honour to the gospel’

Elisabeth Elliot said, ‘Many are the discussions I’ve heard on this one, almost all of them directed to ‘what it can’t possibly mean’ rather than to the plain word of the Lord. The statement is simple. Not easy for women like me, but simple, that is, I understand it only too well. As Mark Twain said, I have far more trouble with the things I do understand in the Bible than things I don’t understand.’

What does this mean?

Some people use the verse where it says that there is neither male nor female in Christ (Gal 2:28) to argue against headship of the husband. But there the context is oneness in Christ – it means that we are all equally one in Christ. Marriage is just like in the Trinity, where all the members are equal, yet ‘the head of Christ is God’ 1 Cor 11:3. The members of the Trinity are equal in nature but different in their function, and in marriage it is the same as we are equal but have different roles. Wives submit to husbands yet are not inferior to them, just as Christ submits to God yet is not inferior to Him.

The word ‘submit’ here is a different word from obey – not as a servant or a child, but as an equal. In the Greek it means ‘to voluntarily place oneself under’. So as wives we should voluntarily place ourselves under our husband’s authority. It is also to be done ‘as to the Lord’ because our manner and attitude is to be as to the Lord. There will be times when our husband is inconsiderate and thoughtless, and then it will really help to remember that we do it for the Lord, as it is the Lord’s will. A wife who does not submit to her husband does not submit to the Lord.

Some qualifications

  • The husband never has absolute authority over the wife because God is the higher authority. So if our husband asks us to sin then must we must obey the higher authority – God – and refuse.
  • The Bible doesn’t say ‘Submit to the right kind of husband’. He may be an unbeliever, or sinful (who isn’t in some things?) but we should still submit. A good passage that deals with that issue is 1 Peter 3:1-6
  • God has also put our church and the authorities there for our protection, so if abuse happens we should go to them for help
  • Headship doesn’t mean that we have to ask our husbands about every single decision, unless they want us to! It is more meaning that they have the authority to lead and make final decisions.
  • We can of course give input, but when a conflict of opinion arises that cannot be resolved, they are responsible to decide, and we are responsible to honour and affirm their leadership.

It is interesting to me that Jesus delighted to do His Father’s will – and I think with true submission in our heart we will delight to do our husband’s will – it’s not just a case of waiting till there is a big dispute to submit!

Don’t Give Away Your Strength and Virtue

I was reading through Proverbs 31 the other day and came across where King Lemuel’s mother says to him, ‘Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.’ It struck me that even though that is obviously meant for men, it really applies to women too, but the other way around. As women we can voluntarily give away our strength to men by what we do, say or think. The word ‘strength’ here is translated as virtue in three other places in Proverbs, and also can mean valour, substance, wealth. Obviously the strongest meaning of this, with the worst consequence, is sexual immorality. But I really think there are many more subtle ways this can happen too. Samson lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair. In Nehemiah 13v26 it says that women caused Solomon to sin.

One way I believe this can happen is in our thought life – when I was single I often caught myself thinking too much about someone who I knew I wouldn’t want to marry. The danger in that is a waste of thoughts that could be better used planning how to serve God better, meditating on scripture, praying etc. And then of course the more you think of that person, the more likely it is that you might justify to yourself why it would be OK to be with them even temporarily and end up dating and eventually marrying someone that is not good for you.

Married women can give away their strength and virtue by thinking about men other than their husband, it might not be lustful thoughts but it is still wrong. And when you have wrong thoughts and keep entertaining them, it gives the Devil a foothold. Not that the first thought that enters your head is wrong, but to keep it there is! We need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Another way is by having a close male friend that is not their husband, to quote Greg Laurie, ‘Girls, you can’t have a guy apart from your husband be your buddy’. Having lots of in depth conversations alone with another guy is asking for trouble – you may not even be attracted to him, but it takes away from the time you should be talking to your husband and can so easily lead to resentment when you find they are more sympathetic! And to quote Greg Laurie again, ‘Most adulterous relationships start with friendship, which leads to close relationship, which leads to seeking marital counsel from someone of the opposite sex – which is like putting a shotgun to your head’.

On a less sinister note I believe we can also give our strength to men when we put men before God, which results in all kinds of things that sap away our energy. One example I have seen in my own life is that we can expect our husbands to be all we need, when actually God is all we need. Then when our husbands don’t meet our expectations we are disappointed and depressed. We need to realise God can be our everything!

The Parable of the Sower explains how our fruitfulness can be choked by desires, cares and riches. We need to be careful to be chaste and pure and put God first in our thoughts and deeds, so that there is no room for our strength and virtue to be given away and for us no longer to be fruitful.

The fruit of being a stay at home mom

Often I catch myself thinking thoughts like, ‘No-one sees what I do’ and ‘Whatever I clean up just gets dirty again’. And when I was in a room of people and they went around the room and everyone had to say what they did, it seemed like the bottom of the pile in terms of what people think of someone being a stay at home mum.

But recently it struck me when someone complimented me on the children, that people may not see your job as worth much, but they do see the fruit of it. And even if it is not attributed to you, the point is that it is great fruit! If I do my job well as a mother, my children will benefit, for example the Bible says that if we train a child in the way he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6) and if I do my job well as a wife, my husband will be so much better for it. If I look after my home and make it inviting, make meals for people etc. then so many people can be helped and encouraged from being invited there and having fellowship they would not otherwise have had. We can make such a difference by doing our job well, not only to the lives of our husbands and children, even just helping them feel contented and loved, but also to the people that they meet who are impacted by them. And then we can do even more through serving in our church and doing good to other people.

So though we should do everything we do to please God, we can also encourage ourselves in the thought that there is great fruit from working hard at what we do, as a wife, mother, and homemaker . It may not be noticed, but God knows and we know, how fruitful we can be. And of course to bear real fruit we need to stay close to God, so that should be an encouragement to keep God our top priority too! “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5