But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3 NKJV)
Let's look at some of the facts about man, as found in Genesis 1 and 2:
Headship was established in the Garden of Eden. It is not a result of the Fall. However, due to sin, men now "naturally" struggle to lead while women struggle to submit.
Adam was to start his own household and to be the head of his wife. Nowadays, men could lead their wives in love and in wisdom, while women could humbly and in meekness follow their husbands' guidance. But, you see, that day, when Eve took of the forbidden fruit, she decided to go her own way. And Adam listened to her and followed her lead instead of obeying God's command.
Now, because of our fallen nature, leading and submitting have turned into something unpleasant, something we want to deny and escape. Men either do not want to rule their own households, or, if they do, they do so in a more or less selfish and abusive way. Women, on the other side, do not want to be told what to do and often take over the lead to rule over their husbands.
If she submits, will she not admit that she is worth less (than her husband)?
Think of different roles: Whenever men of different ranks are sent to war, are the lives of the men with the lowest rank worth less than the ones who have achieved higher ranks? Of course not!
Think of different ages: Is a twenty-year-old mother of less value than the one who is in her forties? Of course not!
Think of different sexes: Is a 4-year-old girl worthless compared to a 4-year-old boy? Of course not!
We, the women, have not been made to be trampled upon by men, nor have we been made to rule over them.
I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary:
That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
Two men had been asked to do something. One said he wouldn't do it but later on he did, the other said he would do it but in the end he didn't. Who would you rather be married to?
You look at Angela's husband and wonder: How could she stay married to him all these years? He is an unbeliever. Ever since she has come to Christ, he is giving her a hard time. Of course she loves him! Maybe not like on the first day of marriage... but she surely cares for him. It hurts her to see him in this stage, neglecting his spiritual health. She wants to help him, teach him, talk to him about her belief in God's Word - and she would love to do that all day long. However, the more she talks the more hostile he seems to become toward what he calls a senseless faith.
Now Violet's husband, he is a total different man! Straight away you will notice that he is very good in explaining Bible passages and teaching the the things of God. They are always in church on Sundays and throughout the week they participate in various studies and gatherings at the church. John had been called to faith first, then Violet followed.
"That sounds wonderful. Good for them," you say, "But you don't understand. I can identify more with Angela than with Violet. My husband is an unbeliever."
Been there! So let me point out, please, that the last thing you want to live with is a false convert. You don't want your husband to live the Christian life only to find out later on that he really never cared for it after all. True, it would make things much easier on you and the children and life could be so great in church, too. Yes, but only as long as he is playing his role well. But what if some hardships come along? What if some of his buddies convince him that there is "more" out there than being a Christian? What if he will meet "the love of his life" and leave? Or, what if he will get fed up pretending to be someone he really isn't? Even if he would continue on, eventually you will stumble across his false doctrines and he might defend them furiously. Then what? Will you be able to stand firm for Christ? Honestly?
I reasoned with my uncle once: "But why did you just lie to her?" My aunt had asked him if he had taken his medication, to which he replied, "Yes, of course I did!" His reason for lying? "Now she is all happy and will leave me alone." He explained that otherwise she will keep on bugging him all day long and he doesn't want her to do that. He just wants (his) peace.
Yes, I understand: You long for your husband to come to Christ. However, you want him to become a true believer, right, not one that will play his role to please you or so that you will no longer bother him about this?
If you turn to Matthew 21:28-31 you will find the Parable of the Two Sons where it says:
"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second son and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" ... (NKJV)
Yes, being married to an unbelieving husband can be very hard. Remember, though, that nothing is impossible with God: neither for you to continue living with your husband (as long as he doesn't want to leave) nor that your husband will turn and call out to Jesus for salvation.
Wait. Pray. Trust in God's perfect plan and timing!
The heart of her husband safely trusts her... (Proverbs 31:11 NKJV)
One of the good things mentioned in Titus 2 is love, namely that the older women teach the younger women to love their husbands and to love their children.
When I was a teenager I asked two older women (my grandaunts) how I would know that I love a man enough to get married to him. "Love has nothing to do with it," they replied and that it must always be a marriage of convenience. The two ladies grew up during WWI. Since then, opinions have changed dramatically, and so did the reasons for getting married and staying married. Now, by what standard shall we choose our spouse? We will leave that question open for another day's post. Today I want to introduce what it means to love our husbands.
One grandaunt's husband went to war after their wedding and died, the other never did get married. I often wondered: How would they know what loving a husband really means? Say, is it possible to find out just by reading the Bible? Yes, I think so. But it takes time, good listening (to God's Word) skills and the effort to study the Word of God. After getting the big picture of it, though, more or less unanswered questions might remain especially in regard to what this love should like when the marriage life is getting tough. I couldn't possibly go into all details today. That would be going beyond the scope of this post. However, I will pick up sensitive topics in the near future and I will write about them. So please stay tuned.
Overall: What does loving your husband mean?
Praying for him.
Submitting to him (as long as he doesn't demand of you to go against God's will, of course).
Doing him good all the days of your life.
She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him. (Matthew Henry's commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31)