Who’s The Boss?

What happens with disagreement in marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday my wife and I got into a discussion with other men talking about the Garden of Eden and then the roles of men and women. Within the past week, I have been accused of being a misogynist for the great crime of daring to say that men value respect more than women. With all that being said, I figure it’s time in light of yesterday’s post on marriage to write up something about how that dynamic takes place.

Now first off, I am someone who does believe in male headship in the household. I do stand by this, but note what that means. This does not mean the man stands over the woman with a whip. Seeing as one of my wife’s favorite series is Dragonball, she will appreciate this illustration of what I am NOT talking about as how male headship should go.

If you are a husband like that, frankly, you’re a jerk.

This also doesn’t mean that the woman has no say in the household. A captain of a ship has a first mate and sometimes, he needs some wisdom outside of his own perspective. A husband should consult his wife on matters and see what she thinks. In fact, there are some areas he might just put her in charge entirely and let her do what she wants. Finances can be just such an area. I know many households where the woman is a master at handling the bills and so the husband just trusts her discretion in the matter. I have no problem with this.

It’s my stance that the husband is the king of his castle, but if he is the king of his castle, then that means his wife gets treated like a queen. Too many husbands look at the verse that says “Submit!” and use that as a whip over and over. Now my own wife knows that I do think that the wife does submit to her husband, but she also knows that I have never used that verse of Scripture like a weapon and it’s a shame that any man is doing that. Perhaps they should consider what 1 Peter 3:7 says.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Yes men, you have a responsibility, and you are to love your wives as Christ loved the church. It’s hard to think of an attitude more self-sacrificial than that, but that is in fact what the very text of Ephesians 5 says and if you hear those words and you don’t get any nervousness whatsoever as a husband, there is something wrong with you. It is too easy to treat the wife in the picture as a household servant or as a sex object. You did not marry someone just so they could be a maid. You did not marry someone so you could treat them just like you would a prostitute. You married a person and if you did the right thing and married a Christian woman, you married a child of the king. Treat her like one or else her Father might not be too happy with you.

Now does this mean there are no other differences? No. I do stand behind the idea that men do as a general principle thrive more on respect and women thrive more on love. I don’t see that as sexist. I just see that as stating a fact. With what I said yesterday, I urge women to give their husbands that respect, even when you think he’s being a bonehead. You men meanwhile give your wives that love, even when you think they’re being uncaring. I should point out that the stakes do change if somehow the situation gets abusive. No wife should have to submit to a husband that is abusing her. A man should avoid a woman that is abusing him.

I contend that if this is done properly, leadership will not be the rule of a tyrant and submission will not be the slave begging for mercy. In fact, both parties might not even realize it’s going on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: God’s Design For Man And Woman

What do I think of this book by the Kostenbergers? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I wish to thank Andreas and Margaret Kostenberger first off for sending me a copy of this book for review purposes. Ever since my marriage, I have been interested in reading material that can help me improve in that area. The book certainly starts off with a gripper. Andreas talks about coming home from being overseas and going through his old home and realizing his Dad’s things were gone. It hits him then. His parents were no longer together. His Dad had moved out.

That is a good motivator to make sure you get marriage right. No one wants to have that.

Now let’s be clear about something at the start. While this book is directly applicable to those of us who are married, the Kostenbergers have plenty to say for singles and it’s not just about how to get a mate. When they go through the Bible, they point out people who served God faithfully and who yet were never married. This includes men and women both.

They definitely go through the Bible as well! They start with Genesis and then give a look all the way through the Bible to see how the relationships between men and women are described. They note that the consistent position throughout the Bible is that in the family, the man is to lead and that this would apply to church and government as well. This does not mean women play no role whatsoever of course, but that the main position has been given to the men.

It’s towards the end that they say how this all works out and this is one area I would have liked some more expanding on. For instance, let’s go with the house rules of Ephesians 5 and the Kostenbergers argue for male leadership here. That means that a husband is to love his wife definitely as Christ loved the Church, and a wife is to submit to and respect her husband.

Okay. How does that work?

Because we know too often that there has been the abusive husband who has used the submission passage like a whip. I am absolutely convinced the Kostenbergers want nothing to do with that. There is never a place for a husband to abuse his wife. Yet knowing the misuse of the passage does not tell us the proper use. How would they recommend this be lived out? I would like to have seen more on this.

I was also surprised there was not much said about the sexual relationship between the two persons in marriage. How should they approach this? In light of Biblical submission, this is a topic that is important too. We wouldn’t want to say a husband has a right to sex on demand of course, but then there is the passage in 1 Cor. 7 about not denying your bodies to one another. Perhaps the Kostenbergers have written on this more elsewhere. If so, I would like to get to see it.

I also found the appendices to be quite helpful. The history of feminism was fascinating and it’s certainly led to where we are today. I had no problem seeing them go after Rachel Held Evans either for her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I also found to be severely lacking. The Kostenbergers explain the hermeneutical mistakes that Evans makes quite well.

To which, it’s great to see a section on hermeneutics as well. They make it clear that this is not a science per se, but rather a methodology. After all, we may not reach 100% certainty on what a text means, but we can reach a case of high likelihood of what it means. It is not to be seen as an all-or-nothing game.

If you’re someone who disagrees with their view on male headship, you will find your position is treated fairly as well. The Kostenbergers are gentle on those who disagree with them. The book is highly approachable and you do not need to be specifically trained in Biblical studies in order to get a lot out of it. In fact, getting this book could be a great beginning to Biblical studies.

Those interested in male/female relationships and what it means to be a man or woman should get this book and learn it well.

In Christ,

Nick Peters