Who’s the Boss?
Any time you have more than one person together in one place, you have the potential for conflict. These conflicts begin and end in a variety of ways, but in general the person who has the most power gets his way or at least some advantage in the situation. This power is not always brute strength or physical force. It manifests itself in many forms. It is possible for a wise person to talk his way out of a fight. Sometimes the party who is weaker physically possesses some other ability that can be used in his favor.
When we say that history is a record of kings and battles, we are saying that history records the successive tales of the most notable and memorable of these conflicts. Who is to say which side should have won in any given battle? Of course, the citizens of the victorious country were very glad indeed, but were they right?
Most marital struggles are never recorded in the annals of history, but upon a closer examination, we can easily see a great deal of similarity. We have two people—a man and a woman. They have different ideas about what should happen in a given situation. Thus begins the battle of the wills. He has his tactics, and she has hers. He wants his way, and she wants hers. Perhaps he resorts to shouting, and then when that does not work, to pouting. Perhaps she employs the silent treatment or constant nagging. He may threaten to take away allowance money, while she may resort to the cold shoulder. The skirmish continues, but who is right?
Many would say that it depends on what is being argued, and in some cases, they may be correct. However, there is a major difference between most of the wars that have been fought throughout history and most of the marital spats that have taken place in the homes of the world. God does not tell us which army should win the war, but His Word is very clear about who should have the final say in a home. If that statement ruffles you, I ask you to read on.
The problem with many of us is that we want to accept the authority of God’s Word on everything with which we happen to agree, rather than reading the Bible and believing what it says. When we do that, we become our own god, creating our own definition of right and wrong, and dictating our own moral code. This is secular humanism, and it has crept into the lives of many Christians without our realizing it.
I have met many people who have told me what they think God is like. A man recently told me at his front door, “To me, God is simply an observer, watching what we do, but never punishing anyone for anything.” That man is creating his own idea of God and rejecting the authority of the Scriptures. As Christians, we would look at that and say that it was a tragic mistake. What a horrible thing it would be to die and go to Hell just because you did not want to have God tell you what to do!
Those of us who are saved have taken that all-important step of accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour, thus receiving God’s gift of eternal life. However, we experience another kind of tragedy, not an eternal loss, but a loss in this present world. We miss the opportunity that God gives us to be happy and productive Christians just because we do not want God to tell us how to live. If we can believe that God’s way works for salvation, why is it so hard for us to believe that God’s way will work for marriage?
Yes, the Bible tells us who is right in the struggle. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:23-24). The husband is the head. This means he has the final say. If the wife fights against this, she is disobeying Scripture. When is the church supposed to instruct Christ? In what way is the church ever superior to Christ? What exception can we claim as a church that will release us from Christ’s authority? There is none. He is the head of the church, and the husband is the head of the wife. I realize that what I am saying is not popular. It is seldom taught or preached, and it is even more seldom practiced.
I will admit that there is one major problem, and we must deal with it here. Christ is perfect, and most husbands are not. Christ is the Son of God, and no earthly husband can successfully make that claim. Okay, so your husband is not perfect. Does that excuse you from following him? I do not see an exclusion clause for this reason. If there were one, these verses in Ephesians would be a waste of ink, because there are no perfect husbands. The Bible has much to say about what a husband’s role is. He is to love his wife. He is to provide for his wife. He is to know and meet her needs. He is to sacrifice for his wife as Christ did for the church. That is a tall order.
Let’s suppose the husband is not doing a very good job keeping his end of the bargain. Does that excuse the wife from obeying Scripture? I think not. Try that same logic with the highway patrolman. “Officer, those other people were speeding, too. Doesn’t that release me from my responsibility to drive the speed limit?” I can tell you now that the answer is an emphatic, “No.” You are going to get a ticket. Why? The law is the law, and you and I must obey it.
When you took the wedding vows, you accepted certain responsibilities before God. Living up to those responsibilities is what will help you find peace and happiness in this life and rewards in the life to come. Let us not make excuses for why we can’t live up to our responsibilities. Let us not create lists of reasons that we do not want to live up to them. Rather, let us resolve that God knows what He is doing and that His way works best.