Do You Struggle with This Difficult Marriage Question?
What does the Bible mean when it says the husband is the “head” of the wife?
Is God saying that men are in charge of women? Really?
This scriptural principle can be a sticky topic these days because it doesn’t sound politically correct. Many of us are aware of the world’s unsubtle push to agree with what it thinks is proper versus what God says is righteous.
So here’s the big question at the root of this issue:
Why does God think that making the husband the head of the wife is a good idea?
Let’s take a look.
A Soldier Going into Battle
The Bible says a couple of things about the husband that can cause confusion if we don’t approach the subject with God’s wisdom:
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3)
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)
We know that freedom, joy, delight, and following your dreams without limitation are excellent things and should be open and available to everyone. So what are we supposed to do when we read verses like these? Has God set limits on women that He hasn’t set on men?
The word head in Scripture comes from the Greek word kephalé, a military term describing the first row of soldiers in a battalion. This row was formed by kings, generals, and valiant men who were experienced in the art of war. Behind them came the men with little experience in war, followed by the new soldiers who had just enlisted in the army.
So when someone was called the “head,” it was because this person was capable of giving his life for the ones behind him.*
When we apply this understanding of the word head to marriage, we realize that being the head of the wife means the husband will give up his life if necessary for the ones within his house. He is a soldier going into battle on behalf of his family, and though it could cost him everything, he will lay his life down if it means defending his wife and kids.
With these verses, the Bible isn’t promoting one gender above another. In fact, according to Ephesians 5:21, both husband and wife are called to submit to each other, which brings covering and protection to them.
Where to Take Your Questions
When you have questions about something the Bible says, you don’t have to rely on human understanding to find the answers. The world doesn’t understand God (1 Cor. 2:14), so the only thing it will be able to do is give you human advice or more confusion.
God wants to give you His wisdom and show you the way you should go. He loves you and has amazing plans for you. Anytime you need wisdom in a certain area, go to Him and believe He will give you what you’ve asked for (James 1:5–6).
The world will try to convince you that God is unreliable in His rulings and doesn’t really have your best interest at heart—but that isn’t true.
Where to Take Your Confusion
There is a reason for what God chooses to do and why He places specific people in certain situations.
Every action our heavenly Father takes is righteous, holy, and dependable. Instead of deciding the Bible is one way or another based on what something sounds like to us, or because of something the world says, we can sidestep all the confusion and run right into our Father’s arms.
We are followers of Jesus. We know His love and have felt His presence, and we do not have to live in a place of confusion concerning questions about marriage, gender roles, God’s expectations for us, or anything else.
Today if you’re struggling beneath the weight of confusion, go to your heavenly Father. Spend time with Him and ask Him your questions. The wisdom of God is far better and more trustworthy than anything we find in the world.
Peace for Your Soul
Here are a few verses to meditate on this week if you’re feeling confused or fearful:
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.
* For more information, check out “La Situación de la Mujer en la Iglesia del Siglo XXI,” in Biblia, Teología y Ministerios en Contextos by Salomé’s brother, Cristian Canelos.