Since time immemorial, men and women have been trying to get along, and the results have been occasionally spectacular but often mixed.
Even if you accept that men and women are equal in grace, there are undeniable differences between the genders. What do these differences mean, and how do they affect the way we relate to each other? Do they illuminate that ancient question of who’s the boss?
Indeed they do, said Aristotle.
Since women are excitable, while men are cool, calm and collected, wives need the steady hand of their husbands to guide them. An ideal marriage, said the philosopher, is one where the rational man rules his emotional wife the same way a soul rules its body.
“What nonsense,” said the Apostle Paul. “A man is not the soul of a marriage. He’s the head” (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:23).
But what does that mean?
According to the English theologian Matthew Poole, it means the husband is in charge:
The man is called the head of the woman, because by God’s ordinance he is to rule over her. He has an excellency above the woman, and a power over her.
Like Aristotle, Poole believed the husband to be superior to the wife for the same reason that “the head in the natural body, being the seat of reason, and the fountain of sense and motion, is more excellent than the rest of the body.”
Albert Barnes, an American theologian, said that the headship of the husband meant the complete subjection of the wife.
In all circumstances—in her demeanor, her dress, her conversation, in public and in the family circle—(she) should recognize her subordination to him.
For 2,000 years, theologians have been parroting Aristotle’s dribble about husbands being the rational rulers of their marriages. Wives are delicate creatures, easily upset. They need the cool-headed authority of their superior husbands.
But Jesus said no such thing, and nor did the apostles.
When Paul said the husband is the head of the wife, he did not mean he is the king or the boss of the home. He was talking about actual heads, like the one found on the top of your neck.
“Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (Eph. 5:28). Just as a head supports the body, the body supports the head. Paul was talking about the unity of marriage and how husbands and wives are mutually dependent.
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Eph. 5:23)
Paul is not saying husbands are their wives’ saviors; Christ alone is our Savior. But the manner in which Christ saves—by laying down his body for the church—is the manner in which a husband serves his wife.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Eph. 5:25)
Just as the love of God is revealed in a death, biblical headship is revealed in sacrifice. In the same way that Christ gave himself up for the church, the husband gives himself up for his wife. He crawls through traffic, fights grizzly bears, and catches bullets for her.
The husband puts his wife’s needs and interests ahead of his own because he values her more highly than his own life.
Source: The Silent Queen.
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