from FW Index
The head or leader of the household is the father. There are scriptural reasons for this. His position is God-given, as stated in Genesis 3:16, “Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee”.
Ephesians 5:22-24 states “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Messiah is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Messiah, so let the wives be to their own husband’s in everything.” (Read that carefully!)
Peter adds, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (behavior) of the wives. (1 Peter 3:1)
Paul goes on to add that ” the older women…should teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, and obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5)
There is also a logical reason that men should lead. For an organization to run smoothly, it must have a leader – a CEO, president, captain, supervisor, or director. Since the family is a small organization, or group of people, it, too, needs a leader to maintain law and order.
But why shouldn’t a woman lead? Isn’t she just as capable as a man? It isn’t a question of capability, but suitability. Man’s nature is more decisive, women on the other hand tend to waver. Men have the courage of their convictions, when women tend to vacillate.
Man is also the breadwinner. Men carry a heavy responsibility to provide the living, and the leadership rightfully belongs to them.
There is a great effort to do away with the patriarchical system in this world, and replace it with equality. It may sound like a good idea to have husband and wife share equally in all decisions, but it is not practical or workable, and chaos ensues. There are many decisions that can be reached by mutual consent, but when there is a difference of opinion, the right to make the decision is the man’s.
Rights of the Guide or Leader
• To determine family rules: Rules for day to day living need to be established, as in any group. These may be as simple as table manners, or as complicated as conduct and social behavior. A husband may delegate as much of this authority as he likes to his wife, but she still is acting as his steward.
The family is a patriarchy where the father’s word is law, not a democracy where each person has equal say. This is a matter of law and order and following the ways of God.
You may feel you should have more right of say-so over the children since you bore them and are in charge of most of their care. These may be issues where your opinion and your husband’s clash strongly, but in all cases the responsibility is his and you are to willingly submit to his authority.
• To make decisions: The father has the right to make final decisions on all matters that pertain to the family unit, his personal life, and his work. Minor decisions as well as major decisions must be made. The final say always belongs to the father.
In marriage, a husband and wife are not like a team of horses, each expected to be able to pull the same weight the same way, but are more like a bow and arrow as in the poem “Hiawatha”, by Longfellow:
As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto man is woman;
Tho’ she bends him, she obeys him;
Tho’ she draws him, yet she follows;
Useless one without the other.
Role of the Wife in Leadership
You have an extremely important role to play in your husband’s role as leader. As stated above, yours is a submissive or supportive role. Submission is not a passive activity, but an active one. It takes effort and concentration to be a good follower. Sometimes your role will be more vocal. As the closest person in his life, your insight may be invaluable. Your support, understanding, and willingness to follow will doubtless be important to him.
Do You Make These Mistakes?
1. Lead: Do you run the household your way and expect your husband to go along with your decisions? Do you make a show of consulting him, but do things as you please anyway? Do you feel it’s better to do things your way and have them turn out right, than to follow your husband? This shows a direct disregard for his position as leader.
2. Pressure: Do you try to pressure your husband to do things your way? Do you needle and nag? Do you argue and resist his leading because your way seems better? Does he go along with you just to keep peace? Expect your children to imitate this behavior.
3. Scrutinize: Do you pick apart and scrutinize his plans? Are you overly concerned and watchful? Are you quick to approve or disapprove? Do you ask probing questions in a fearful tone? This shows a lack of confidence and trust in him.
4. Advise: Do you offer too many suggestions? Do you tell him what to do and how to do it? Are you always giving him advice? Do you listen to his ideas before interrupting with your own? Do you outline courses of action for him? He may get the idea you don’t need him and can handle everything quite well on your own.
5. Disobey: Do you obey only when you agree with your husband? Do you do things your own way when you disagree? Do you go against his wishes when you feel strongly on a subject? This is the real test of a truly submissive wife.
How to Be the Perfect Follower
1. Honor his position: Have faith in the principle that God placed him in his role. Honor his place and teach your children to do the same.
2. Let go: Give him back the reins. Allow him to lead, and learn to follow. He will surprise you with his ability to get along fine without all your help.
3. Have a girlish trust in him: Don’t be worried about the way things will turn out. Let him do the worrying, while you trust him. This is not to say he will not make mistakes. Realize he is human and allow for mistakes.
4. Be adaptable: Don’t be set in your ways. Be adjustable and bendable. Learn to be happy and make the best of whatever circumstances your husband provides.
5. Be obedient: Obey your husband’s counsel and instructions in his presence and when he is gone. Perfect obedience is cheerful, to the letter, and immediate. Set your goal for quality obedience.
6. Stand together united: This is so important where children are concerned. Even when you disagree, present a united front to the children. Do not side with them against your husband, and do not express dissatisfaction to them.
7. Support his plans and decisions: Sometimes you have to go beyond submission and give active support to your husband. Some decisions are tough, and he may want you to stand with him. You don’t have to agree with the decision to be able to do this, but with his right to make the decision.
8. Assert yourself: The above qualities have all been submissive qualities, but there is another quality of a good follower – that of asserting yourself. There will be times when you will want, no, when you will need to speak out. Make sure when you do you have thought carefully about what you are going to say, pray about it; then go to your husband in confidence. Be sure of yourself.
How To Give Advice
1. Ask leading questions: “Have you thought…” or “Have you considered…”
2. Listen: Open your ears more than your mouth. Speak just enough to keep things going.
3. Express insight: Use expressions like “I feel”, or “I sense”, or “I perceive”. These are feminine qualities he had a hard time arguing with.
4. Don’t appear to know more than him: Don’t appear too wise, or to have all the answers.
5. Don’t be motherly: Don’t regard him as a little boy you must watch out for and shield from the world.
6. Don’t talk man to man: Don’t put yourself on a masculine plane with him. Keep him in the dominant position.
7. Don’t act braver than he: Don’t show more manly courage than he has. Awaken his bravery by expressing confidence in his ability and your own fearfulness..
8. Don’t have unyielding opinions: When giving advice don’t have firm opinions.
9. Don’t insist on your way: Let him take in your advice, but let him make the final decision. Let him take it or leave it as far as you are concerned.
Problems in the Patriarchy
Sometimes a wife fears her husband will fail. This is a risk most of us have to take. In order to make any progress we have to leave our comfort zones, and there is a certain amount of fear involved. If a mistake is made, a man can survive and bounce back if he has his wife’s confidence.
Fear of failure may cause a wife to rebel. This is not an excuse for your disobedience.
There will be times when your husband is floundering. He may find it hard to come to a firm decision. Your full support will often get him over the hump and give him the strength needed to go ahead.
What about the man who won’t lead? You may be willing and able to be a good follower, but lack the leadership. There are some things you can do. First, read to your husband the scriptures that deal with men’s and women’s roles; then offer him your loyal support and subjection.
Peace, harmony, less contention, and order are to be found in a home where the husband is clearly revered as the head and leader of the family. While the husband is excelling in his role as leader, the wife can devote her time to her domestic duties and be a resounding success in her home.
Children will have a respect for authority, and have few problems at school, church, and in society. They will learn good ways to pattern their lives and this will result in fewer divorces and happier marriages.