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

Is Ephesians 5:22 A Whip?

Are too many husbands misusing this verse? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, our pastor gave a wonderful sermon on the house rules in Ephesians 5 starting with verse 22. If you don’t have your Bibles right there, it’s the verse that tells wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. Too many husbands have used this passage as if it was a whip in order to get their wives to do what they want. “You are to submit! The Bible says a wife is to submit to her husband!”

Now to be sure, I am one who thinks it is a husband’s role to lead and yes, I do think that wives should submit to their husbands, but I also don’t think husbands should be tyrants. If a husband believes that he is the king of his castle, then he owes it to his wife that he end up treating her like a queen.

As our pastor pointed out, often when house rules where written in the ancient world, wives were told what to do with their husbands. Children were told what to do with their fathers. Slaves were told what to do with their masters. Very rarely if ever were husbands told what they were supposed to do.

Yet guess which person Paul speaks at the most in this passage….

You see, wives have one command here. They are to submit to their husbands.

What are husbands told?

Love your wives as Christ loved the church so you can make her holy and cleansed and to present her as radiant before God.

Love her as your own body, which includes feeding and caring for her.

Leave your father and move and cling to her.

More is said to the husbands and there are more reasons why these things are said.

Naturally, the passage ends with pointing out that a husband is to love his wife and a wife is to respect her husband. After all, love matters most to a woman and respect to a man.

Our pastor brought out that husbands who use Ephesians 5:22 as a whip are really forgetting something. instead of focusing so much on what it means to have a wife submit to you if you’re a husband, try focusing more on what it means for you to sacrifice to your wife and love her as Christ loved the church.

Wives meanwhile can say “Well maybe when he gives me some loving, he’ll find he gets some respect.” Of course, husbands can have a similar attitude, but it is just as wrong. If you focus constantly on what the other person needs to do for you, you’re only going to have it end in pain. Focus on what you can do for the other.

Also, at this point, before anyone says anything, if you want to charge me with hypocrisy on this point, I say guilty as charged. I do not claim to be a perfect husband and this is something I still work on. It’s so much easier when things go wrong to focus on the other person instead of taking a long and hard look at yourself. Yet if I only waited until I was doing things perfectly in marriage to speak, I would never say anything.

I also think it’s important to look at why it is your spouse does something for you or with you. What is their intent? Do you really want to say anything negative about their intent. For instance, it can be hard for me when Allie wants to play some of her music for me. We have completely different tastes in music. I need to do what I can to realize she’s trying to share with me something she enjoys. Of course, there’s no obligation that I enjoy it. Chances are, I won’t, but I need to appreciate her attempts to share something that interests me. (And yes, as I write this I’m really kicking myself for not recognizing this earlier.)

Some people have a view that marriage is supposed to be 50/50. It’s not. It’s supposed to be 100/100. Each person is to give all that they can to the relationship. If you find something really matters to your spouse, make that a goal to do that. Allie for instance has realized if she mentions something she really likes, that I am prone to be plugging it into my memory and looking on Amazon as soon as I can. (And besides, her love language is gifts)

In fact, for us, yesterday’s sermon ended with Allie and I going out for lunch and just discussing what love and respect and sacrifice and submission looked like. They’re requests that I hope we can put into practice.

And again, for Christian men who are married or dating or engaged or anything like that, if you want to be a good husband now or in the future and you’re on Facebook, find me and let me know. I do have a group just for Christian men to learn how to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

Marriage is something that takes work, and it’s easy to put all the work on the other person instead of on yourself. Yet for each of us, that is where we must begin. You can influence the other person, but the only one you directly change is yourself. Get started today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters