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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Role of a Wife - Part 1

I only approach this one first because it is, in fact, simpler than the role of the husband. Carrying it out may entail a large amount of effort, perhaps, but the instructions are fairly plain and straightforward. In fact, almost every husband can tell his wife the initial requirement of a wife: “Submit to your husband.” Plain and simple.

Of course, almost no wife would say “Plain and simple.” There is so much more to discuss, to be sure. So let’s address the primary issues.

“Why should I?”

Always important in biblical commands is the principle behind it. In some cases the principle is “Because God said so.” In others, God kindly explains why He said so. This is one of the latter. Paul says, “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” There you have it. Perhaps Paul says it clearer elsewhere.

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor 11:3).

God has established a hierarchy. It goes like this:
God at the top => Christ => husband => wife.
Now, before you women jump up and down and talk about how demeaning this is, notice that Christ is not at the top. That means that He is in submission. Now, certainly we would not say that Christ is “demeaned” for being in submission to God. So it would seem that the perception that “submission is demeaning” is incorrect. In fact, there is no connection of “submission” to “value”. It is not a valuation, but a ranking in terms of leadership or authority. Just as a janitor is every bit as important as a president, so is every person in this chain important. It is not demeaning to be outranked.

So, God has ordained that God be head over all, followed by Christ who is head over husbands who are then to be head over their wives. I see three important points here.

First, this hierarchy is God-ordained and, as such, good. If we say, “It’s not good for women to submit to their husbands”, we are saying “It’s not good of God to have set things up that way.

Second, it places men in an interesting position, ladies. If it is true that God has ordained a hierarchy of authority and responsibility, then it is men whom God holds responsible. On the plus side, this decreases the responsibility of wives. On the minus side, when wives fail to allow men that authority and responsibility, you diminish them. But they don’t answer to you for that; they answer to God.

Finally, it places wives in a very enviable position. If God holds husbands responsible, then the wives get a unique situation in which they can know God’s will for their lives in ways that others cannot. That is, if Christ is the head over the husband, then the wife can be sure that his leadership is the precise equivalent to God’s will. Of course, this naturally leads to the next issue.


Gina Burgess said...

Yes, I heartily agree with you :)

One illustration of Christ in submission is when He prayed, 'Father if there is any other way, take this cup from me, nevertheless Thy will, not Mine.'

I just love that kind of beauty.

Samantha said...

Something I'm always confused about is how much submission is too much submission. I mean, what if your husband is teaching your children heresies...or...what if he's verbally abusive?

I just think a line needs to be drawn...and discussed.

Just my thoughts. However, I love your thoughts Stan. I'm still striving to be a Proverbs wife.

Stan said...

Samantha, I'm obviously going to have to address that question, but I did say at the outset that this was "101", a basics approach, and I won't be able to hit every question. I do plan to at least touch on this one.

It seems to me that what often happens, on either side of the equation, is we feel for the edges and then use them as reasons not to do it. As an example: "Children, obey your parents." "Well, what happens if your parent tells you to do something wrong?" And the exception becomes the rule. "I was going to my room to pray, and my mom told me to go outside. Clearly she was preventing me from doing the right thing, so I disobeyed her."

Samantha said...

Hi Stan-

I'm glad your going to address the's rarely talked about and I, for one, think it's important :D

I'm enjoying your blog. Continue on!