Both of the above scenarios are common in families today. There are times when neither the husband nor the wife takes a clear lead and decisions are left up to chance or each takes a turn being in charge at different times. This sounds like a fair way to run things, but when put into practice this causes a mess.
In the reverse, both the husband and the wife claim leadership and then often try to lead in different directions. Each spouse may feel they know the best way to discipline the kids, make family decisions, or handle the money. This causes great confusion for the children and keeps families going in circles instead of making progress toward any priorities.
So what is the answer? You must name a chief of your tribe. There must be a clear leader whose decision is final. According to the Bible, this must be the husband. Now Ladies, stay with me and just keep on reading. In 1 Corinthians 11:3 it says, “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.”
We can see in this verse that the husband is to be the head of the wife, so this is Biblical. The husband is assigned the role of being the leader in this marital relationship. This is no easy task, just ask Adam. We know that it was his wife, Eve, that first ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but who takes the blame? Read Romans 5:12, “…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men…” Adam takes the blame of allowing sin to enter the world and therefore spreading to all men. Eve was our first example of how our actions can dishonor our husbands.
If the husband is to lead his wife, who is leading the husband? The verse in 1 Corinthians 11 clearly tells us it is Christ himself. The husband takes his cues on how to lead from Jesus. That right there should be enough to completely satisfy us… but if not, check out what Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. There is no greater love than the love of Christ towards his bride of the church. Husbands are called to have this type of sacrificial love towards their wife. Don’t miss the enormity and intensity of this. Jesus poured everything he had, including his blood, out for his bride of the church. Husbands are called to no less than this.
I know the question that is coming… what happens when you have a husband who is not serving the Lord? Does this give you the permission you have been hoping for to chuck this marriage and check out eHarmony? No way. You are still called to submit leadership to your non-believing husband. You will be the model of Christ to him in how you serve him. Pray for his salvation and love him toward Jesus with all you have. Read 1 Peter 3:1-2, these verses speak directly to this.
Ladies, allowing your husband to be the Chief of your household is very freeing. God’s way of doing things is always best, including how he has set up leadership in marriage. I’m proud to call Phil Chief of our little tribe and I will gladly support him as he keeps his eyes on Christ. I admit I have failed at this so many times; I have tried to step in front of him thinking I know what is best. When I do this I feel the shift of unrest and unbalance it causes. This discernment has come not through years of marriage, but from maturing in my walk with Christ.
My Pastor recently used the metaphor of dancing to describe this marital balance. There can only be one leader for a dance to be beautiful, if both try to lead (or neither) it is an uncoordinated mess. In our home I relate easier to the tribe mentality (could be because Phil and I are lousy dancers). I like thinking of our household as a small band of warriors with a mutual mission and the bond of relationship. We stand together, armed with the Word of God as we battle a real Enemy that desires to keep our family from being effective and fruitful.
This leads me to the gift that God has granted all wives… encouragement. Once we name our husband as the Chief of our home it does not release us of responsibility or leave us without a say in how the family is run. God has given us a super-power in the form of how we use our words and actions to build up our man. Watch for ways to praise his efforts and respect his decisions. Demonstrate a Biblical marriage for your children so they will know how to care for their own tribe someday.
Watch for my upcoming blog on the beauty of submission.