STOP THE POWER STRUGGLE
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything (Eph. 5:22-24).
God never intended marriage to be a power struggle between husbands and wives. In fact, He gave the pattern for marriage at the beginning. He made a man and a woman – the man from the dust and the woman from the man so that they would have the same flesh and be equal in their person and worth before God. He brought the woman to the man, who recognised her as the completion of himself just as male and female creatures completed each other in the natural world.
God taught them that, through their physical union, they would represent and reflect the unity between God the Father. God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (Gen.2:24).
God intended that they live out a visual aid of unity in their permanent monogamous union. Before the fall and the intrusion of selfishness and sin, it was possible for these two perfect and sinless human beings to reflect the nature of God in their relationship with one another.
In every association of people there needs to be a leader – one who coordinates and shows the way for others to follow. Leadership is not about superiority but about function – creating cohesion and setting the example. God chose men to lead in the home. This is no way demeans of lowers the worth or dignity of any other member of the household. It puts the responsibility and accountability of the family to God, his Creator on the husband and father.
The role of leader in no way makes the husband a despot or the “boss”, like some sort of autocrat or dictator. Unfortunately, humankind in its worldly wisdom and rejection of God has set up a model which conflicts with God’s model of leadership and has turned many leaders into monsters who push people around at will.
God’s pattern for order in the home includes authority and submission – wives to husbands and children to fathers. However, order is much more than the wife kowtowing to the husband at the expense of her dignity and for the sake of peace. Husband and wife are equal partners in this union. The wife has a specific part to play, as does the husband.
The wife’s role is to submit to her husband as she submits to Christ as her head. She must trust him to hear, understand and interpret God’s will for their lives clearly and accurately. That does not mean that he makes arbitrary decisions but that he takes responsibility for the decisions they make together and leads the way in carrying them out in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
The wife also follows the husband’s lead in training their children in the ways of the Lord. She must uphold his authority in the home and stand with him in the day-to-day decisions he makes for his family, even if she does not agree with him. She must not contradict or undermine him in front of the children. She must not allow her children to manipulate her or her husband by playing the one off against the other.
Children are smart. They will quickly recognise the weak spots in their parents’ relationship and use them to their own advantage. Children can only learn their respective roles in life if their parents model what they are as male and female and what a husband and wife are in their relationship with and behaviour towards one another.
It is not the husband’s role or responsibility to demand submission from his wife. She will gladly submit to him, not if she is forced to but because she wants to obey the Lord and only if her husband fulfils his role as laid down in God’s Word. Harmony in the home only happens when each party falls in line with God’s pattern for marriage.
For the wife, God’s pattern is submission, reflecting His pattern for the church. There should never be confusion about the place of the church, or its leaders, in God’s plan. The church is the bride of Christ. He is the head and she comes under His authority and protection as His beloved. He cares for her provides for her and protects her from the ravages of sin by setting the example and by leading the way to godly and holy living.
When the wife keeps her eyes on Jesus and follows His pattern of submission and obedience to the Father as a perfect son, she will set the tone, together with her husband of peace and togetherness in the family.
However, this is only half the story.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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