God’s Word is clear about this issue, but the world has done its best to muddy the waters. So, what does God’s Word say about the structure of the family?
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
Is that fair? Is it archaic? You will find a lot of people asking these questions, or not asking, just declaring it to be so. Anything God has created, Satan tries to destroy. Why do we buck this issue? The first problem is misunderstanding what this actually means and doesn’t mean. I think people have a picture in their heads of a dictator, or a slave driver. This isn’t the army; it’s a family. Any way that Satan can twist God’s Word, he will, and this certainly is one issue ripe for twisting!
So, if you have a picture of hubby sitting on a throne, holding out his scepter and waiting for his wife to bow to his command and fulfill his every whim, you need to wipe that slate blank! Marriage is built on mutual love and respect, and marriage partners are certainly on equal footing, even in the biblical marriage model. God’s design is for a husband/wife team, working for the Kingdom and raising godly children, and that fits right into what we are talking about. Ok, so it’s not a dictatorship, but what is it?
Everything needs structure to run properly, including families. All members are necessary, and all have a function, but without order there is chaos; therefore, families need order, and order necessitates a hierarchy. You cannot have two heads. Two heads is a monster. So Christ is the head, because all things must begin with Him. Place Him first, all things will follow. Next, God has placed the husband as the head of the wife (and the children). Why? The husband is to be a covering for his wife and children – a protector, and a shield. The husband follows Christ, obeying His commands and keeping His laws as a protection for himself.
Picture this: Christ standing firm, face towards all of the evil that the world and the enemy can dish out. Behind Him, your husband – a shield to protect you, no evil will touch you for he will stand between you and it. This is the job God has given him. What a picture – my husband holding back evil and following Jesus every step of the way. Nothing will touch me, if he can help it.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30
Lord, thank You for providing a protector and a shield for me and for my children. Thank You that You have given us Your Holy Word to teach us how to live, and I pray we will bow to Your plan in all things, so as to live victoriously in this life until we return home to You. In the precious, and holy name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen
Too many people do not understand headship and submission in marriage. Headship does not mean the husband makes all of the decisions and expects the wife to just go along with them. Submission does not mean the wife always “bows” to the husband. I like your diagram and concept of the husband being the umbrella for the entire family. Cool!!
Yes, it is really a good thing. The husband is to protect his wife. It’s good to know someone is looking out for me!
The thing is, some husbands (Especially in the church) takes advantage of this leadership position, and turns it into something that it is not. Some wives misunderstand too, thinking it means waiting on their husband morning noon and night, and not having no voice. Hopefully this article will help!
When a wife remains in submission to God first, it brings clarity to the issue of submission to her husband. Some husbands are not as spiritually mature as their wives (or even believers at all), and vice versa. A spouse may have come to Christ after marriage. This does not negate God’s family order.
1 Corinthians 7:16 16 Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you? NLT
God’s will and purpose must always come first. Does he want our spouses to be saved? Of course he does.
Great, great article. I, too, liked the visual you added. Wonderful topic! A very misunderstood area.
Thank you, ladies. I agree that it is extremely difficult to understand this concept, especially with the back drop of women’s rights, etc (which is not bad, per se, but muddies the waters). I myself struggled to understand it at first (which I had forgotten until your comments so I’m glad to be able to add it here. God finally illuminated it to me in this way – I am a very independent person. I want to do things for myself and it is hard for me to ask for help. I received, at my request, a copy of the Amplified Bible, where, at some place or another that I have forgotten now, I read an expanded verse that, in addition to the usual “submissive to”, also said “subject to or DEPENDENT UPON (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Ding, I got it! It is allowing yourself to lean on your spouse and trust him to fulfill his role as your protector. Pretty cool, actually!