There is a common trend I see developing in today’s world. It is the presence of female dominance and male irresponsibility in romantic relationships. Women are becoming more headstrong, independent, and controlling while men are becoming lazy, easygoing, and uncaring. It represents a great swing in the historical pendulum from male superiority and tyranny to a mindset of female dominance. This is not necessarily wrong or evil. It simply is. It’s the way times have changed. But I do see something very unhealthy in it, and I would like to call out my fellow men on our overall carelessness and lack of leadership in the matter. The Bible requires us as men to be the head of our homes under Christ. I do not believe we are fulfilling this calling in the present time.
First, let me say that I speak from what I know to be true in the Bible, and that is all. I am not married or in a romantic relationship at this point in my life and I do not have firsthand experience with the Bible’s model of marriage. That said, I believe I have some valuable insights into exactly what God does say about marriage in the Bible and how we are to follow that to the fullest.
What does it mean to be a man? Well, part of it is leading our wives and homes. The Bible makes it clear that God created men for headship in marriage.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:24
When I look at a typical Christian couple today, I see a lazy man and a controlling woman. I see that the woman is doing all the maintenance, leadership, and planning. The man is usually messing around and not pursuing anything productive in life. He lets the woman do the thinking while he sits around picking daisies. In today’s society women are becoming more and more willing to step up and take the role of a man whether they meet the requirements of that role or not. This is not only abnormal, it is dysfunctional in God’s kingdom and in a Christian marriage.
Women are beautiful in the sight of God. They are created as equally valuable beings and are designed both physically and mentally for different roles than men. Some have a greater capacity to lead than others. The same goes for men. But God designed the family to function in a specific way. He did not form the body of the family to be led by a woman. I’m sorry, ladies. God said it, not me.
“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.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
When a woman leads her man by the hand while he tries to chase after fleeting pleasures, a relationship is formed that is not grounded in how God designed marriage to work. God does not desire that either person lead the other the way a parent leads a selfish child. Both are to be growing in maturity in Christ. As for authority roles, God desires that the man be the head of the woman and that the wife submits to the husband. But that’s not all.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25-28
God also designed the husband to love his wife the way God loved us when He gave up His son for us. That means a sacrificial love that puts the other person first and serves them. This is the beauty of a Biblical marriage. The authority and headship of the husband is balanced out by the love he has for his wife. To imagine that a Biblical marriage serves only the interests of the man is incorrect. He is to be sensitive in every way to his wife’s interests and safety. At the same time, he is the authority and leads his wife accordingly. This is how God designed marriage to work. Anything that deviates from this template is not in line with Scripture.
It is just as wrong for a man to be lazy and reject headship as it is for him to dominate his wife and take advantage of his authority over her. On the other hand, it is just as wrong for a woman to reject her husband’s authority as it is for her to expect him to satisfy her every whim, groveling before her. These extremes are to be avoided at all costs. This means embracing the Bible’s truth that a marriage should consist of a husband who leads righteously and loves unconditionally and a wife who submits humbly and serves graciously.
This goes not only for marriage, but for romantic relationships as well. To abandon the Biblical outline for marriage roles while you are in a serious romantic relationship is to abandon them when you are later married. If you are lucky enough to have a godly significant other, take the time to practice the authority roles of marriage outlined in the Bible. Your future relationship will benefit greatly from it.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6