What Are Your Goals as a Husband for 2019?

As we approach the new year what do you see as areas where you see that you need to improve as a husband? In Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. Below are some suggested areas where we as husbands may need to improve.

Ten Duties of a Christian Husband

  1. Provide for HerEphesians 5:27-28 tells us that husbands are to “nourish” or literally provide for the physical needs of their wife as they do their own bodies. Are you providing for your wife’s needs to the best of your ability?  Remember that a man’s provision for his wife’s needs is a picture of God’s provision for his people.  If your wife is the primary provider, you are breaking the model God meant for you to display.  It is one thing if you are disabled or ran into some unforeseen financial crisis necessitating that your wife be the provider, but this should be the exception and not the norm.
  2. Protect HerEphesians 5:27-28 tells us that husbands are to “cherish” their wives. This does not mean what our modern “cherish” means which is to put your wife on a pedestal and worship her. It means to protect her.  God says that husbands should protect their wives as they do their own bodies.  That means we keep her safe from all kinds harm – both physical and spiritual.
  3. Discipline Her Ephesians 5:25-27 tells husbands that they are called to wash their wives’ spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God just as Christ does his Church. This is the reason men are told to give themselves up.  Many men today give up their leadership for their wife’s happiness, when God calls them to lead which sometimes requires sacrificing their own and their wife’s happiness in the process.  In Revelation 3:19 Christ speaking of himself as a husband to his churches stated “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.  No woman is perfect just as no man is perfect.  That means if you never find yourself rebuking and chastening(disciplining) your wife then you are not loving her as Christ does his Church.
  4. Teach Her In 1 Corinthians 14:35 we read that women are to be taught in spiritual matters by their husbands in their home. Do you take an active and intentional role in teaching your wife the Word of God? This goes beyond the washing of the word for discipline.  This is taking a whole encompassing approach to teaching the whole counsel of God to your wife.
  5. Rule Over Her In 1 Timothy 3:4 we are told that men need to rule well their own homes. Are you the ruler of your home? This is about much more than being the discipliner or even teacher of your home.   The Ruler gives a vision and sets rules and policies in the home.  Your wife needs a clear vision from you so that she can help to manage your home around that vision.  For instance, some men delegate the paying of the bills to their wives and that is ok.  But you cannot delegate your responsibility to give your wife principles and policies by which to pay the bills.  You need to set the policies for how much will be saved, how much will be given to the church or other charities and how much will be used to pay off debts.
  6. Show Her Grace In Psalm 86:15 we are told that God is full of compassion and grace. We as men are called to image God in the lives of our wives.  Grace is unmerited favor. In marriage it means doing kind things for your wife not because she deserves it, but because in spite of the fact that she does not.  Compassion is showing sympathy for your wife’s sufferings and misfortunes even if sometimes she has brought these things on herself by her own bad decisions or wrong behavior.
  7. Show Her MercyIn Psalm 103:8 we are told that God is plenteous in mercy and slow to anger. Mercy means not giving someone the punishment or discipline they deserve. Maybe you have no problem ruling over your wife but are you are not so plenteous in mercy and are quick to anger with your wife. God calls us to picture his mercy in our wife’s life.
  8. Know Her In I Peter 3:7 we read that husbands are to live with their wives according to knowledge and if we don’t God will not hear our prayers as husbands. Do you take the time to know your wife? You cannot know her without speaking to her on a regular basis.  And you cannot wash her or teach her or rule over her without knowing her. If you will not hear your wife’s petitions God will not hear yours.  That does not mean we have to give our wives what they want just as God does not give us everything we ask for.  Also, knowing her is not just talking to her, but it is also having sex with her.  The Bible actually uses the same word “to know” for both knowing someone spiritually and emotionally as well as as sexually – see Genesis 4:1.
  9. Honor Her In I Peter 3:7 we read that husbands are to honor their wives and in Ephesians 6:2 we read that children are to honor their mother. Do you show proper honor to your wife? Do you make your children honor your wife as their mother?
  10. Praise Her In Proverbs 31:28 we read that the husband of the virtuous wife praises her and her children do as well.  Do you set the example for your children in praising your wife when she does something well? For instance, do you praise her for meals that are well cooked? Or when she redecorates the house do you notice? Do you praise her for being a good mother to your children? Do you praise her for doing well in the marriage bed? No woman is perfect and some are far less perfect than others. And we are not talking about praising her for doing nothing but breathing and taking up space.  If she is lazy in certain areas don’t praise her for things she does not do.  But many women at least do some things that are praiseworthy – do you find ways to praise your wife.

What about a husband loving his wife?

Someone might ask after reading the list above, where is the duty of a husband to love his wife?  If you read Ephesians 5:25-29 you will have your answer:

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

These ten things I have just shown are the very definition of the love of a husband toward his wife according the God’s Word.  You see the problem we have today is that we only see love in one way, and that is in one person showing affection or kindness toward another.  Now affection and kindness are certainly not bad things and husbands should show love toward their wives in these ways as well.  But the Bible never defines affection as the definition of a husband’s love toward his wife.   A husband’s love for his wife is supposed to flow from his sense of duty, it is a love based in a conscious choice of the will, not one based in emotion.

So What Are Your Goals as a Husband for 2019?

Having read each of the 10 duties above – where do you see that improvement on your part needs to be made?  Maybe you are great at ruling, disciplining and teaching your wife but you are light on the mercy and grace side? Other Christian husbands might think they are great at showing mercy and grace but what they are really doing is failing to discipline and rule over their wives.  Too much discipline and ruling(control) can lead to tyranny but too much grace and mercy can lead to dereliction of duty and apathy.

Maybe you rule well over her, discipline her and teach her but you fail to ever praise her for anything that she does well.  Or maybe you allow your children to speak to her in disrespectful ways thus failing to honor her position as your wife and the mother of your children.

Maybe you are a great provider but you never take the time to know your wife.  So because you don’t know her current struggles you cannot properly teach her or wash her with the Word.

Maybe your family is harsh and unloving toward your wife.  Do you protect your wife from nasty relatives?  Maybe you live in a dangerous area where you should have a firearm in the home to make your wife feel safer.  Maybe on the spiritual front you need to protect your wife from harmful influences from friends or relatives? Maybe you need to protect your wife from herself? Perhaps she has some self-destructive tendencies?

Here Are My Goals as Husband for 2019

To help my fellow brothers in Christ get ideas for improvement I decided to share my list for this coming year. I have asked God to search my heart and this is what I came up with.

  1. I provide for my wife (we are a bit tight right now, but I can say I work as much as I can with all my responsibilities).
  2. I protect my wife by having a fire arm (locked in a safe of course), protect her from certain family members and also protect her from herself (she some anxiety and depression issues).
  3. I discipline her in correcting and rebuking her when she disrespects me or contradicts me in front of my children or other groups. I sometimes remove some free time I would have spent with her when she really gets out of line.
  4. I teach her the Word of God on a regular basis. Sometimes she feels it is too much, but she can’t say she does not learn about many parts of the Bible from me regularly.
  5. Ruling over her is an area that has been a continual need of improvement especially in the financial area. This is an area where I have not strictly enforced our weekly and monthly budget and that is one of my goals for 2019 to get our debt under control.  Some of it we cannot help because of her medical issues but we can do better.  I also want to give more to the church this year.
  6. Grace is one that may be just right or needing a little improvement. I do show my wife a lot of grace by doing things for her despite her lack of submission and sometimes just utter contentiousness. And no I don’t just mean doing things around the house.  I mean buying her things she does not need (but just wants).
  7. I think I show her a lot of mercy. If I took my wife to task for every disrespectful word or un-submissive attitude she displayed I would be disciplining her just about every day several times a day.  Let’s just say my wife is a strong willed, critical and stubborn person many times.  And believe it or not I am the one that everybody says is easy going and very patient and forgiving.  I know my detractors won’t believe that but it is the truth.
  8. In the area of knowing her I think I do that pretty well even if she would always like more of my time to veg with her. Wednesday night is date night for us.  It just works out good that way for me with my work schedule.  We often stay home because my wife does not like to go out as much as she thinks she does(LOL).  But even when we stay home it is us spending 4 to 6 hours alone in our room just watching shows and talking.  We also talk on other nights of the week as well, but it’s not as long and not just us as we will have my children around.
  9. In the area of honoring her I think there could be some room for improvement. You have to be careful though with honor as it can become a loaded term especially for Christian feminists.  Christian feminists will say if you rebuke your wife you are dishonoring her when that contradicts what the Bible says.  But where I see need for improvement is with my children.  One of my teens (he is autistic) has a real problem with my wife and is very disrespectful to her as his step mother sometimes.  I do take him to task and punish him from time to time.  The problem is that my wife sometimes just riles him up.  Also my wife is also hyper sensitive about disrespect from my kids.  This is a running joke between her and I where I have told her “If I was as sensitive toward your disrespect of me as you are at our teens you would never hear the end of it”.   But alas – I think I could be a bit harder on the kids about this.
  10. In the area of praise, I suppose there is always room for improvement. I do praise my wife when she does cook and tell her in detail what I liked about the meal.  I also praise her when she cleans the house.  I certainly praise her when she does well in the bedroom.  But I think sometimes I miss when does nice things and forget to praise her.  The problem with my wife is that she is disabled so I end up doing a big part of the laundry and cooking and other household things.  It also affects our love life as well more sometimes than others.  So sometimes it is very hard to find anything to praise her for when she has literally just laid around for days or a week and I have done most everything.  And it is hard to find opportunities to praise her for her performance in the bedroom when nothing has happened in a while or when the last few times were just phoned in. But again, this is an area that I as her husband can always improve on.

I look forward to hearing what you as Christian husbands are struggling with and where you think you need to improve.  As the Scriptures tell us in Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend”.

 

Is the Wife the Holy Spirit of The Home?

During a revival meeting I was recently in at my church, the guest Pastor said “the wife is the Holy Spirit of the home”.  This Pastor had been married for more than 20 years and had previously talked about times in his marriage where his wife stopped him and corrected him when he was going down some wrong paths or about to make some wrong decisions.   He then went further after his statement and asked the men of the church to raise their hands to affirm that they agreed that their wives were the Holy Spirit for their homes.

Needless to say, my children looked at me when the Pastor said this and they knew where I stood on this and they knew such a statement was highly unbiblical and it actually was heresy.  My hand was glued down to my chair as many hands from other husbands went up across the auditorium.   I was pleased to see that many other men did keep their hands down though.  I could not see if my Pastor lifted his hand or not.

Let me just say that besides this statement and his having the men raise their hands about it everything else this Pastor taught both before and after it was very Biblical.  He taught a perfect message on the Gospel and he taught on holiness and us living our lives in a holy way in which we would not be ashamed when Christ returns.

I truly believe this Pastor loves the Lord, believes the Bible is the Word of God and believes the same Gospel I do.  He preachers hard against sin.  But like so many Pastors, even conservative Bible believing Pastors, he has had his thinking poisoned by the feminist ideals that have infested our churches.

Let me make something abundantly clear. The Scriptures never compare the wife to the Holy Spirit.  Such an analogy is borderline blasphemy.

The Bible Compares the Husband to God, Not the Wife

The Bible compares man to God in I Corinthians 11:7:

“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”

Because man is God’s direct image bearer and woman is not, this is why God is very concerned with there always be a distinction made between men and women.  This is the reason that God condemns cross-dressing and transvestism in Deuteronomy 22:5:

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

In Ephesians 5:22-24 the Scriptures tell us that in marriage man represents Christ and woman represents the Church:

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

The Scriptures here are clear that the husband is the head of the wife AS Christ is the head of the church and that AS the church is subject to Christ in everything so to wives are to be subject to their husbands in everything.  In fact, the husband wife relationship is the only human authority relationship where God commands the one under authority to submit to their human authority “as unto the Lord”.

But Men Are Not God!

It is interesting to me that this Pastor and many Christian feminists would have no problem hearing a person say “the wife is the Holy Spirit of the home” but if you were to say “The husband is the Christ of the home” they would go nuts.  This is due in part to the misandry that we have allowed to fester in this nation since the start of second wave feminism in the 1960s.

Am I saying Husbands are Christ? Absolutely not! Men are God’s direct image bearers and in this world husbands symbolize Christ in the home but that does not mean they are Christ. Husbands are not sinless, all knowing or all powerful as Christ is.  Husbands do not have all the attributes of God as Christ does.

But men, and by extension husbands, have more in common with God than women do. And this is not by chance, but by the design of God.  This is why God is always referred to in the masculine sense.  This is why God is referred to as a husband, father and son and never as a wife, mother or daughter. The masculine human nature is a reflection of God’s nature and feminine human nature is not.  The feminine human nature was created to compliment and serve the masculine nature, not to image the nature of God.

The Husband is the Ruler, Leader and Guide to Wife

The Scriptures tell us in I Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6

“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear…

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

The Scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

And in 1 Timothy 2:12 the Scriptures tell us:

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

These passages smack our modern feminist ideals right in the face. But it is the Word of God.   God does not tell husbands to go to their wives to learn how to lead their home or understand the Word of God.  On the contrary it teaches women are to seek spiritual guidance from their husbands.

Should Husbands Listen their Wives?

In Genesis 3:17 the Scriptures tell us the first sin man ever committed:

“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”

If you ask most Christians “What was the first sin that man committed?” most will answer “eating the forbidden fruit”.  But Genesis 3:17 tells us the first sin man actually committed was listening to his wife when she was wrong.  Adam’s first failure was a failure of his duty to rule over his wife by rebuking her sin and then refusing to participate with her in it.  But he was more concerned with keeping her love and affection and so he listened to his wife when he knew she was wrong.

Job in many ways was the “anti-Adam”.  In Job 2:10 we read that when his wife asked him to sin against God he responded as Adam should have to Eve:

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

But the question is, are there times when husbands should listen to their wives? The answer from a Biblical perspective is yes.   In Genesis 21:12 the Scriptures tell us:

“And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”

In Genesis 21:12 we see a situation where Abraham did not feel right about sending Hagar and Ishmael away as his wife was asking him to do.  And it was her advice to try and have an heir through Hagar that got him in this mess in the first place so I am sure he was at a point where he felt he should not listen to her.

But God knows Sarah is trying to clean up the mess she had made.  She knows there will be contention over the inheritance and leadership of the tribe between Ishmael and Isaac when Abraham dies if Ishmael is still there.  So, God intervenes and speaks to Abraham telling him in this particular case to listen to Sarah.

There are other stories in the Scriptures where we can see that husbands should have listened to their wives as in the story of Abigail and her husband Nabal in 1 Samuel 25 as well as the story of Pontius Pilate and his wife in Matthew 27:19.

The Scriptures tell us of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31:26 that “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness”.  What that means is that a wise wife is meant to be asset to her husband, not a burden.  But she is to offer her wisdom to her husband and others in a kind and gentle way that is appropriate for women of good character.

The unfortunate truth is that often times intelligent women are more of a liability and burden to their husbands because they do not use their intelligence in a kind and respectful way with their husbands.  Instead they use it to badger and disrespect their husbands and often to try and usurp authority over their husbands.

So, the answer to the question “Should a husband listen to his wife?” is – it depends on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   Sometimes the Holy Spirit will prompt us to follow our wife’s advice in a certain situation and other times he will tell us her advice is wrong and we must then go against her advice and in some cases it might actually require a rebuke toward her.

Should a Man’s Wife’s Advice Carry the Most Weight?

Many Christians including Christian feminists and even some complementarian Christians believe that the concerns and advice of a man’s wife should carry more weight for him than any other advisor in his life.  The Christian feminists argue this from their belief that marriage is a partnership of equals and therefore the husband and wife have equal say in all family decisions.  Many Christian complentarians while teaching male headship in marriage teach that a man’s wife’s concerns and advice should carry the most weight because he is in a one flesh relationship with her.

Some would argue that this passage below from I Peter 3:7 teaches that husbands should give the most weight to their wife’s advice:

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

It is for these reasons above that many Christian wives are mortally offended when their husbands seek the advice of others and even follow that advice over the advice of their wife.

The question is what does the Bible say about this? Should a man’s wife’s advice carry the most weight in is decision making?

Before we answer this from the Biblical point of view let’s make something clear.  Contrary to what many Christian feminists teach we who believe in Biblical gender roles do not believe husbands are all knowing and that wives know nothing.  Such an attack is straw man argument.  The argument basically goes, if you believe a husband is the head of his wife and that a husband does not always have to listen to his wife then you believe husbands are never wrong, never make bad decisions and that they know all.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible exhorts men to seek the counsel of their parents in their old age as well as other men both older and the same age to get different points of view and learn from the experience and spiritual knowledge of others:

In Proverbs 23:22 the scriptures tell us this regarding a man’s mother and his father:

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

And in Proverbs 13:20 we read:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

And finally, in Proverbs 27:17 the Scriptures state:

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

The Scriptures are clear from the passage we discussed earlier in Ephesians 5:22-24 that marriage is not an equal partnership between a man and a woman.  The Bible says the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church – are the church and Christ equal partners? The answer is no.  The Church is subject to Christ.  And as the Church is subject to Christ so too the wife is to be subject to her husband.  Therefore, Christian feminism does not have a Biblical leg to stand on.

But what about the Christian complementarian argument that because a husband and wife are in a one flesh relationship and the husband is to dwell with his wife according to knowledge (I Peter 3:7) that this means her advice should carry the most weight in his decision-making processes?

I Peter 3:7 does not teach men that their wife’s advice or concerns must carry the most weight in their decision-making processes.  When it warns of a man’s prayers not being heard, this is a warning to the husband that he must know his wife and at least hear her concerns.  He should hear his wife’s concerns the same way he wants God to hear his.  God is telling husbands – “if you won’t listen to your wife’s petitions, I won’t listen to yours”.

But let’s think of how prayer works.  Does God always do what we ask in our prayers? The answer is no.  Often his answer may be “no” or “wait”.   Sometimes we ask for things we should not ask for.  Sometimes we don’t realize we are wrong in asking for the things we are asking for. It is the same way with a husband and wife. Sometimes a husband’s answer to his wife will be “no” or other times it will be “wait”.  And sometimes women ask for things that are completely wrong or against the will of God.

Finally let’s address the “one flesh” argument for husband’s giving the most weight to their wife’s advice. Who is the head of this “one flesh” relationship? The man or the woman? We know from Ephesians 5:22-24 that the husband is the head of the “one flesh” relationship otherwise known as marriage.  That means the wife should be molding herself to and following her head.  The unity of the husband and wife is most dependent on a wife submitting to her husband even when he does not follow her advice or grant her wishes.

So, no the fact that a husband and wife are in a one-flesh relationship does not mean a husband must give the most weight to his wife’s advice.  What it means is that the wife after giving her advice must humble herself and realize she is but one of her husband’s many advisers.  It means she must humble herself and follow her husband even when he goes against her advice.  It also means that she needs to mold herself to her husband’s views over time.  Biblically speaking, a husband and wife become one as the wife molds herself more and more to her husband and his thinking.  As long as his thinking in any given area does not directly contract the Scriptures, the wife is to mold herself to her husband.

In other words, biblically speaking there is nothing wrong with a woman “loosing her identity in her husband”, but rather Biblically speaking that is exactly what a wife is supposed to do.   That is why wives are to take on their husband’s name and leave their father’s house behind.

“Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;” – Psalm 45:10

Conclusion

The wife is not the Holy Spirit of the home.  But rather Christian husbands should listen to the true Holy Spirit of God and follow his guidance and he will guide husbands as he did Abraham as to when they should or should not listen to their wife’s advice or grant their requests.   Also, husbands should not feel that their wife should be their only advisor or that her advice must always carry the most weight.  Husbands don’t know everything just because they are men and neither do wives because they are women. It is good for men to have a multitude of counselors, especially other Christian men both older and of the same age who can offer spiritual advice and life experience.

The Husband’s Call to Love Is A Call to Rule

Are men never commanded to lead their wives in the Bible? This is the recent conclusion that Cane Caldo has come to.  Cane Caldo has been a warrior against Christian feminism for many years. But recently he has come to the belief that he fell into a trap in response to Christian feminist arguments on this subject and that he now realizes he was “fundamentally wrong” in telling men that the Bible calls them to lead their wives.

In his article entitled “CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible” Caldo states:

“Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”

 

Building on what Caldo said here, Darlock on his blog wrote in his article “Headship Sleight of Hand” the following comments:

“When I first read this it was obvious that Cane is right.  But I initially struggled to put all of the pieces together.  Scripture says the husband is the head of the wife.  We can then deduce from this that if he is the head, then he has an obligation to lead.  The Bible doesn’t state that husbands have this obligation, the husband’s stated obligation is to love his wife, and the wife’s stated obligation is to submit to her husband.  But leaders clearly have an obligation to lead.  The specific nature of this obligation is another question, but the basic deduction is solid.  However, modern Christians don’t stop there.  Next they turn the deduction around and run it backwards:

If the husband leads, he will be the head.

The reversed deduction is then substituted for the plain meaning of Scripture.  This is a masterful sleight of hand. From here, submission is likewise reworked:

If the husband leads well, the wife will submit.”

 

Darlock then displays a nice graphic which basically shows this progression:

The husband is the head; the wife is to submit to him becomes leaders have an obligation to lead.

Leaders have an obligation to lead becomes if the husband leads, he will be the head.

If the husbands leads he will be head becomes if the husband leads well, the wife will submit.

I Understand Where Caldo and Darlock Are Coming From

Let me first say that while Caldo, Darlock and I would have some disagreements in various areas we are all three would agree on the need to fight against the scourge of feminism and specifically Christian feminism in the churches.  In this regard I consider both these men brothers in arms and I have respect for their work.

And I can see where they are coming from on this topic.  Darlock painted the Christian feminist twisting of headship perfectly and showed how they arrive at their false conclusion that a wife only needs to submit to her husband if he leads well.

Caldo also was absolutely right when he about a husband’s call to love his wife being unconditional where he states “Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.”

Amen Caldo, Amen.

The Call to Love is a Call to Rule

Caldo points out that in every instance of the Scriptures where the husband wife relationship is addressed (1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3) that we find the formula of “Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives”.  And again, he is right in this regard.

But what he and Darlock are failing to see is what kind of love husbands are called to?

Each and every time the Bible calls husbands to love their wives it uses the word “Agape” in the Greek.  This is a love which originates in the will is not based on emotion or affection as “Phileo” love is.  Men are not supposed to base their love for their wife on their affection for her at any given moment, but on the basis that God has given them a duty to their love their wives.

But this agape love that a husband is called to have toward his wife is not just any agape love.  It is NOT the same type of agape love that we are to have toward our fellow church members, or even our children.  It is specifically defined for us in Ephesians chapter 5:25 when the Apostle Paul writes “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church…”.

The key word in that sentence is the tiny word “AS”.  This tells us what kind of agape love husbands are to have toward their wives.  The model for the love of a husband toward his wife is found in looking at how Christ loves his Church.

So, in this critical passage of the Scriptures Paul goes on to show us what is entailed in the agape love a husband toward his wife:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:25-29 (KJV)

So here are key attributes of how Christ loves his Church that are given to husbands as a model in how God requires them to love their wives in Ephesians chapter 5:

  1. The call to love one’s wife is a call to sacrifice one’s self for one’s wife.
  2. The call to love one’s wife is a call to wash one’s wife, to wash her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God.
  3. The call to love one’s wife is a call to provide for(nourish) her physical needs.
  4. The call to love one’s wife is a call to protect(cherish) her.

It must be pointed out that the first two attributes in this list are tightly coupled together as the last two items in this list are tightly coupled together.

Christian feminists love that husbands are called to “give themselves up” for their wives as Christ did his Church.  Myriads of Christian feminist books and blogs have built false doctrines around the phrase “and gave himself for it”.  Basically, they twist this phrase into saying Christian men should give up any desires or ambitions they have in a life long quest to make their wives happy.

But what they fail to do is realize that God describes WHY Christ gave himself up.  It was to wash the spiritual blemishes, spots and wrinkles of his wife, the Church, to make her holy, not happy.

In fact, in the book of Acts we find out more about why Christ “gave himself up” for the Church”:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

Acts 20:28 (KJV)

Christ did not “gave himself up” to appease or make happy his bride, the Church, but rather to purchase her with his own blood so he could then wash her and make her the glorious bride he intended her to be to him.

Now one of the mistakes that Caldeo makes that a lot of people make on both sides of this issue is that he confines the definition of the role a husband to “where the Christian home life is addressed”.  That is an exegetical mistake.  When Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives “as Christ also loved the church” this tells we can look to any part of the Scriptures where Christ is interacting with his church or churches to understand how a husband’s love and interactions are to be with his wife.

To that end let’s now look to the book of Revelation.  Here we find Christ rebuking and threatening to discipline(chasten) six of his seven churches for disobedience in various areas.  At the conclusion of his rebukes and threats to chasten his churches he makes the following statement:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” – Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

This passage is directed to his churches.  This is a depiction of Christ’s love for his Bride.  Therefore, it is absolutely correct to say that the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved his Church is a call for husbands to rebuke and discipline their wives.  Christ was literally washing his wife with the Word of God in the previous passages in Revelation just as he implores men to love their wives by washing them with the Word in Ephesians 5:26-27.

This washing with the Word, this rebuking and chastening of one’s wife as Christ did is his Church is in fact a call to rule one’s wife.  Only a person in a ruler can discipline someone or attempt to modify their behavior by imposing punishments for bad behavior.

The Bible even says that a man is to be “one that ruleth well his own house”:

“4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)… 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”

I Timothy 3:4-5 & 11 (KJV)

This passage above clearly states that God expects men to rule well their own homes and if a man cannot rule well his own house how can he rule the church of God?  The wives are mentioned separately below.  Some have wrongly inferred that only because the children are mentioned in the first part that wives are free of a husband’s rule and he has no responsibility to rule over them.  This would make absolutely no sense.  Are wives not part of a husband’s home? Are there people in the church that are not under the rulership of church elders? Such an interpretation is absurd to say the least.

Therefore, we can rightly conclude based on Ephesians 5:25-27, I Timothy 3:4-5 & 11 and Revelation 3:19 that the husband’s call to love his wife which is recognized by both Caldo and Darlock is also a call to rule one’s wife.

What is the Difference Between a Leader and A Ruler?

In my original version of this article I only used the word “leader” because I was trying to use the language Caledo and others were using.  But I have explained on this blog many times that there are different types of leaders.

There are leaders who people voluntarily follow who have no authority or disciplinary power over those they lead.   Then there are leaders who have authority over others and with that authority comes disciplinary powers.   A leader with authority and disciplinary powers over those under them is a ruler.

Another way to convey this truth is that while all rulers are leaders, not all leaders are rulers.

A ruler does not simply offer guidance, but they actually institute rules for those under their authority and use discipline for the breaking of those rules.  In some cases rulers actually own those under their authority as well and this is how the Bible presents the husband wife relationship where the husband is called the “baal” or master/owner of the wife throughout the Old Testament.   See my article “Is Christian marriage a master – servant relationship?” for more on this subject.

Conclusion

I want to return to Darlock’s process of where he thinks Christian feminism has added to God’s Word:

This first statement is absolutely Biblically true:

The husband is the head; the wife is to submit to him becomes leaders have an obligation to lead.

The husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to him.  It is both IMPLIED in the husband being the head of his wife and EXPLICIT in a husband’s call to love his wife as Christ loves his Church, to wash her with the Word of God and chasten her that he is called to rule her.

But Darlock’s next statements is where feminism adds to the Word of God:

Leaders have an obligation to lead becomes if the husband leads, he will be the head.

If the husbands leads he will be head becomes if the husband leads well, the wife will submit.

Christian husbands absolutely have an obligation to lead their wives as Christ lead’s his Church.  However, those Christians who say a husband’s headship is contingent on his follow through of his duty to lead are in direct contradiction to what the Scriptures say about the basis for a husband’s headship.  The husband is the head of his wife whether he is rules as Christ does his church or utterly fails to model Christ’s leadership of his church.   This is the explicit teaching of the Word of God:

 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

So, unless a husband tells his wife to sin (Acts 5:29) she must obey him in ALL he commands her to do. The passage above leaves no gray area.  And no, it is not just talking about submission to non-Christian husbands who are disobedient. Later in this same conversation the Apostle Peter says the following of this kind of submission from wives toward their husbands:

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Was Abraham a believer? You bet he was.  So, this means whether a woman’s husband is a believer or non-believer even if he is living a life that is disobedient to the Word of God and even if he utterly failing to love his wife and lead his wife as Christ does his church wives ARE TO SUBMIT.  Period.