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Pointers along the way #743

The head of the house

- Jacob Ninan

"I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ" (1Co.11:3). Many wives dislike this verse along with the one that asks them to submit to their husbands (Ep.5:21-23). Many male teachers like to point out that Eve was created for Adam to be his helper (Ge.2:18). This has resulted, along with the influence of a heathen culture, in even many Christian husbands treating their wives like a second-rate creation. As the head of the home, they expect to be obeyed without question and they also think that any opposition deserves to be put down firmly, justifying even violent attacks towards their wives! The resistance from women to this kind of approach is understandable.

The misunderstanding on the part of the husbands comes from considering 'head' in terms of 'authority' rather than 'responsibility'. Then it becomes an extension to their pride and selfishness. But it doesn't go well with their having to 'love' their wives as Christ loves the church and give themselves for them (Ep.5:25)! But think of it as God entrusting the husband with full responsibility for his family. Then he not only has to provide for and protect his wife and children in terms of financial and material support, but he ought to take the responsibility to care for every aspect of their welfare. He has to be seen in practical ways as being there for them whenever they need him, whether it is for emotional support or material help. Then he is involved in every aspect of their lives, knows what they need and does his best to provide it for them. Then the wife is able to look up to him as her husband and the children as their father. Will it then become difficult for the wife to submit to him or for the children to honour and obey him?

This does not happen if the husband/father is only seen as an authority figure. Especially if the husband/father is seen as a 'distant' person who imposes his will on them and demands subservience from them.

Men, by their nature, have a psychological need to be respected by their wives. Wives do not realise many times how their critical comments deprive him of a large chunk of the meaning of his life. Then such wives cannot understand why their husbands do not seem to 'love' them, which is what wives have as a great need in their psychological build-up! When, as God's word says, when the wives show respect to their husbands who is struggling to handle different aspects of his responsibilities at home, it becomes easier for their husbands to express their love and affection for their wives!

Women are not created for the sake of men any more than men are created for women. Men or women cannot be complete without each other (1Co.11:11) except in cases where God gives a special gift to remain single (1Co.7:7). Those who value their spouse as a a gift from God as a travelling companion in life (1Pe.3:7) can learn to 'enjoy' their married life.


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