“For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,’Do this,’ and he does it.” [Mt 4:9 ESV]
The Roman centurion understood authority; he was both under authority and in authority over others. He understood that he had the “power’ to tell his soldiers what to do because he himself was submitted to authority. If we want to be the head of our family, we must first be in proper submission to God and to the spiritual authorities God has put in our lives. It’s true that failing at those does not give your wife a biblical reason to not submit to your authority, but it will give her cause to wonder if she should. On your side of it, you can’t be a proper head if you are not submitted.
The reality is we husbands have been given an impossible example as head; we are called to be as Jesus is to His bride the church. Those who think headship is unfair to women do not understand what real, biblical headship is about! Headship is not about being served by your wife, it’s about serving her.
As head, you set a course, and you ask that your bride follow. You have the ultimate “vote”, but if you make decisions without getting as much input as possible, you are lacking in wisdom (a nice way of putting it). If you don’t get, and consider, input from your bride you not only lack wisdom, you are asking for a lot of trouble in your life and your marriage. A military commander who made decisions without input from those under him would have a short career – especially in active duty; if those over him did not deal with him, those under him would!
Being head requires you to understand your bride’s abilities, both her strengths and her weaknesses. You need to know when to encourage her to stretch and grow, and when to cover her and do for her. There is no one size fits all here – it’s unique to the couple, the situation, the stage of life, and so much more.
Another thing required to be a good head – the one that has taken me a couple of decades to get – is knowing when to shut up and get out of the way so God can do what He wants to do. Just knowing what God wants for her is not enough; you need to understand when He wants to deal with her and how He wants to deal with her. It’s very easy to get in the way, and that makes it difficult for her to hear God. Remember, you are to do His will in her life, and if you get in the way if Him doing His will in her life you are really doing it wrong.
This is a seven part series:
Headship? Me? Maybe not … Why men shy away from being the head.
Submit to each other? Wait, how does that work? Does it work?
Submit! But only if you want to? It’s a choice?
Who submits to whom, and why? God has a plan here, really.
Being the head What it means, and how it’s to be done.
Sexual submission New we’re talking … or not.
How we do headship and submission How it works in our message.