CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible

Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed.

The wisdom here is simple, but deep and powerful. If she follows then she is able to fulfill her God-given design. Through Christ she is empowered to be godly even if her husband is a fool; even if he tries to lose her. Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”


Of course there are times where a spouse’s behavior is so wicked and odious that individuals should take prudential action under the guidance of secular and religious authorities. That’s not the topic today.

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Where was I…Ah, yes: Why Graft?

Here I wrote about how marriage is very like grafting when it is done right (or done at all, really) and here I wrote about some considerations surrounding that. What I didn’t write about was why one has a woman grafted onto him; why one marries in the first place. What does the cut branch bring to the rootstock?

Fruit and beauty, but mostly fruit. What a gardner wants in a fruit garden is lots of good tasty fruit. There’s something to be said for beautiful foliage, too and the shade thrown[1] by lush foliage is full bloom is wonderful for its own sake.

Fruit in marriage is children, of course. And because marriage is also a fundamentally spiritual affair, then fruits are also love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All these things are must-haves for consideration in marriage. Any branches who do not bear these fruits are a waste to the gardener so close inspection of the woman before marriage for these traits is essential.

Beauty is important, but not always in the way we think. We think we know what beauty when we see it, but usually we’re just telling ourselves stories about what we like rather than recognizing objective beauty. Objective beauty has a physical and spiritual fullness which is absent in things we merely like in our various and subjective attractions.

[1] Not to be confused with throwing shade; which is unpleasant, but sadly more common.