submission and dominance

Ephesians 5:21 – Authority is Delegated, Not Divided, Part 3

  • “Officer, I was only doing 5 kms over the speed limit and besides there’s no kids even at school this time of day, you’re not being fair!” Says the motorist to the police officer that just wrote him a ticket.
  • “I won’t wear these ones, I want Nikes.” Says the child to the parent that only has $100 left for groceries for the 4 of them.
  • “We’re not going to listen to you, we’ll choose the plays.” Says the players to the coach.
  • “You’re preaching it the wrong way, you should do it this way.” Says the congregation to the Pastor.

* * *

Wherever you turn in the world, there’s always a design for keeping the law – rules to maintain order, or acceptable codes of conduct.  We don’t get to break the laws of the world because we don’t like them, think we know better, find them inconvenient, believe they’re unfair, or think they don’t apply because we are the exception.

Nobody lives in a void so long as we’re on earth. Unless you’re Chuck Noland from Cast Away, you belong to some type of social construct that requires order.  For any sect of society to move forward in a cohesive group, there’s a hierarchy of power that’s been designated, by someone.  There are positions for leaders and followers in every group.

The laws, whether for our natural world or the spiritual world, are in place for a reason and when they’re not followed, they hold consequences.

The construct of marriage is no exception.

The Failure of Mutual Submission

Marriage is the most foundational structure of organization that we have; it also has a hierarchy of power to enable smooth function, unity and forward growth to its members. (Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12-15; 1 Peter 3:1)  If we remove this authority structure and apply mutual submission, shared power, to any social structure … especially marriage … it devolves instead of moving forward.

God knew we’d need an example of this.  So, at the very beginning of the marriage narrative, He gave us a baseline of how NOT to structure the one flesh relationship – He showed us the failure of mutual submission in Genesis 3:6:  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

“… she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”  BOOMFailure.  Now we live in the consequence of it: death.

Why would anyone want to follow a marriage paradigm that was the catalyst for humanity’s spiritual death?  Adam was right there with her and had the responsibility and authority to assume the power, but he didn’t.  Instead, he shared it mutually, by deferring to her.

Adam submitted to Eve by following her lead instead of doing what he knew was right.

Mutual Submission:  Peer to Peer

I cannot find a verse instructing a husband to submit – to his wife, or instructing a husband to learn about submission – from his wife.  Submitting to one another is for all of us when we’re under the hierarchy as a group.

For instance, law enforcement hierarchy: the police are the role with the authority and the law applies equally to everyone else.  No one has more power within the civilian group, the law applies equally, all civilians submit to it.  Those are the roles that are being played.  Not the equality of any particular person.

Or, the education system.  Schools have changed a lot since the 1800s (see here and here), but what hasn’t changed is the hierarchal structure of the classroom:  The teacher is still the position of authority in the classroom.  Mutual submission is for the group of students that are under his/her authority.

Or, a church.  The Pastor is the head of the church.  He’s the one that prepares the sermon for Sunday and delivers it from the pulpit.  The congregation doesn’t instruct the Pastor by exchanging out the structure of power to equalize the subordinate role of the congregation with the authority role of the Pastor; mutual submission is for the congregation.

Mutual Submission:  Usurps Power

When you remove the governing structures of authority and submission, the result is never order and unity – it’s chaos and division. The police are never in submission to the motorist.  The guards are never in submission to the inmates.  The coach is the authority, the athletes submit.  The surgeon is never in submission to the nurse, the head chef always leads the sous chef … the patient never tells the EMS how to drive the ambulance or what roads to take.

Regardless of who is in the role – the role itself has the power of authority.  Can you imagine your child deciding that they don’t go to school anymore?  And you must submit because you believe in mutual submission of the family structure.

… our world just doesn’t function that way.  Someone sits in the position of power with the authority to make final decision – the same person carries all the responsibility.

Power by Proxy

Before I was married, I used to work for Corrections Canada.  When my boss was away, I ran the office for him – he proxied his authority to me before he left.  I sent memos and letters, sent and received inmate files, made phone calls; all on his behalf.  When he returned to the office, I stepped out of the position of authority, back into my designated role under his authority.  The name for this action of aligning yourself under an authority is called, hupotasso.  From Vine’s Dictionary, hupo means “under,” tasso means “to arrange.” – primarily a military term that denotes a position of subordination; our English word:  to submit.

Authority isn’t divisible – it’s delegated …

When Darrell arrives at work, he’s just moved into a different hierarchical paradigm:  he’s no longer the one with all the authority as he is in marriage and family.  He’s now in submission to the owner of the company.  However, his boss has transferred authority to him so when he steps into the plant, the men are in submission to him.  Not because he’s Darrell, but because of the position he fills by ownership’s authority: Plant Manager.

When my husband leaves for work in the morning, I step into that position for him.  In fact, refusing that proxy of authority is not optional for me – as his wife, I become the guard of the house (oikouros) in his absence.  As an unfortunate side note, the English translations have diminished the capacity of the oikouros by redefining the position to mean ‘what the wife does’ instead of ‘who she is.’  Primarily, I become Darrell’s eyes and ears while he’s away.  I am a guard – I do the domestics.

In his absence and with his full authority – he proxies me his power.  It’s not my decision to just take it because I want it; I receive it as a responsibility.  Nor do we share it, I’m acting on his behalf.  When he returns to the sphere of our marriage, the authority also returns to him.

Any hierarchy of authority has nothing to do with equality or fairness, and everything to do with positional structure of roles.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph 5:22-24)

Christ died for the church – He never submitted to her

Jesus submitted to God by doing His will by coming to earth to establish His headship by defeating death.  Founding His church on earth was the act of leadership … not submission.  Appointing the apostles as the foundational layer of His church was His first act of leadership; it was done with the full power of God’s authority.

The only time Jesus practiced submission on earth was in acknowledging the hierarchy of power within the family:  The authority of His parents.  (Luke 2:51)

Jesus is the head, the apostles are the body

Our clear example of how marriage functions isn’t how we broke it in Genesis – it’s the demonstration of Christ’s submission to God, and the relational dynamic between Jesus and His apostles.

If I want a clear example of how a wife should submit to her own husband, I need to follow the example of the body, the apostles who were the first members of ‘The Church,’ submitted to Jesus.

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph 5:24)

The apostles never shared authority of headship with Jesus, He led them.  In fact, Jesus corrected two of them for thinking they could sit at His level.  Not because He thought He was better and they were lesser, but because He knew they would not be able to handle what He was going to do; He told them no to protect them.

Mutuality in relationship will never happen while we’re on this earth – as long as we are in human form, our fleshly nature will always get in the way.  The equality that mutual submission seeks will only be found in heaven … when all sin has been removed.  It’s not safe here on earth, in Satan’s world, that’s why God has given us structures to follow.

SOUL-utions

  • Stop thinking that your submission depends on your husband’s ability to daily emulate Christ’s execution.  Jesus didn’t die every day for his apostles, he died once for every believer’s redemption. 
  • Start studying true submission by following the pattern established by the founders:  The Apostles.  Understand how they responded to Jesus and interacted with Him.  How they trusted and obeyed Him.

 

 

 

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Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up Continues, Part 2

After reading PART 1, Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up, it’s obvious that we (Darrell & Robyn) aren’t fans of the egalitarian paradigm, it almost killed the both of us and our marriage.  In retrospect, we found it to be nothing more than a mechanism to negotiate a tally count of 50/50 – a way to gauge perceived equality and fairness.

The egalitarian paradigm appears to equalize power under the guise of sharing it.  But what it does instead is, systematically neutralize the power found in the role of a wife* – her femininity, by:

  • FEEDING HER FLESH:  It requires that we watch each other for fair treatment.  All of us have a battle between the flesh and the spirit that rages inside of us; the flesh demands equality for self, the spirit demands equality for others.  You could be right.  You might even be right, but your man won’t hear it** from you, he’s been instructed to remove your spots and wrinkles – the church doesn’t wash Christ, He washes her. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
  • KEEPING HER FEARFUL:  At the very least it’s immature faith – it’s childishness to believe we know what’s best instead of just exercising a little humility and acknowledging that we’ll probably be the ones to be deceived.  At most, it demeans your husband, it’s foolish to seek to govern over him the way you would a toddler – as if you’re training him (1 Tim 2:13-14).  At worst, it’s seeking to control even God because you don’t trust Him to work it out.
  • LOCKING HER INTO PROVISIONAL GIVING:  Keeping an eye for equality and fairness chips away at true generosity and kindness – it’ll be impossible for either of you to just to receive and enjoy the gift.  Generally, women are the more detail oriented of the two genders, that mental tracking and measuring spills over onto everything including every act of generosity and kindness, forcing suspicion with unspoken conditional strings.  Giving becomes restricted to depend on how your husband gives.  Instead of becoming more Christlike and living from the Spirit (1 Cor 13:7), you become more human-like – living from your flesh.

We’re still on earth – not in heaven

Trying to create utopia through equality on earth, thinking this foundation of marriage will set the stage for happiness is a recipe for disillusionment and disaster.  When it comes to humans, the world is a broken place, there’s widespread unfairness, inequality, and injustice.  We did that, not God.  We broke each other and the world when we stepped out of God’s hierarchy trying to make it better by our own methods (Gen 3:6-7).  Finding fair reciprocity in any relationship on earth is difficult, still, we strive for it. (Rom 12:16-21)

But it’s not going to happen in marriage, you can’t reciprocate with someone you are connected to.  One flesh means connected – marriage is two becoming one, it’s synergy. … not tit-for-tat.  Think:  three-legged race – there’s not 4 legs anymore, but 3 … two of the legs have become one.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s still not a natural world full of designed order that we can see.  Nature follows its design – a dandelion will always produce more dandelions. The environment follows its design – the moon will always control the tide. Even though these systems are complex they’re also clear and concise.  They are not equal, they follow a design of strategy created for a purpose – just like humans.  We were also created for a purpose, and it’s not earthly living.  We were created to live in the eternal:  in heaven.

With the focus on equalizing the gender roles, the egalitarian paradigm lends itself to a lot of comparing of who’s doing what in the roles of husband and wife, all in the name of fairness – even though we’re told not to compare ourselves to anyone except Christ (Gal 6:4).  In order to make sure that the 50/50 of no one being ‘in charge’ is maintained, the watchful eye of equality usurps Christ’s position as King of the marriage.

However, with a complementarian view, it’s about God, me and the role of wife that I willingly accepted the day I got married.  It’s not reciprocation – I don’t get to blame him and say, when he’s a better husband, I’ll be a better wife.  In her book, The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian, relays how she tried to get God’s attention off herself and onto her husband by praying, God, look at him!  Look what he’s doing!  Just look at how he treats me!  And God kept saying back to her, Stormie, look at yourself.  Look at what you are doing.  Just look at how you treat him.  (If you’ve not read the book, you should.  If you’ve read it, you know I was paraphrasing to make a point.)

Pleasing God in my role as a wife while I’m here on earth, has nothing to do with how my man fulfills his role of husband.  This technique of blame was already eliminated by Adam, he tried to pawn off his behavior by making God the excuse!  Eve also tried to excuse her choice by blaming Satan:

The man said,

“The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, SHE gave me the fruit, and I ate.”

The woman said,

“The SERPENT outwitted and deceived me, and I ate.”

(Genesis 3:12-13)

… God didn’t accept excuses from them – and He won’t accept them from us.

My role, his role … God does the growing

It was through complementarianism that we each began to thrive in our own rite:  me as a wife through respect and submission and Darrell as a husband through leadership and love.  The more we follow the complementarian paradigm the better spouses we become.  The better each one of us gets at our own roles – not concerning ourselves with what the other is doing wrong – the stronger God makes our marriage.  I’m not responsible for making our marriage better; Darrell is not responsible for making our marriage better – God does the growing:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (1 Cor 3:6-7)

SOUL-utions

-A marriage license isn’t permission to poke around inside my husband’s heart and mind to change what I think needs to change.  It’s a visible invitation from God to stand by in support as God removes his spots and wrinkles.  Trust Him.

-Fighting for the scraps of masculine power from the table of worldly women, just changes you into a Red-eyed Ood.***  Accept that the design of a female is already endowed with super-abundant power from God – He created you in it when you were conceived.  You’re not a victim, know it.

NOTES

wife* – It also eliminates the real power from the husband as well but I’m not writing to husbands.

won’t hear it** – An invited opinion isn’t the same as unsolicited harping.

Red-eyed Ood***  In Fandom, Red-eye was originally thought to be a disease found amongst enslaved Ood on their homeworld of the Ood Sphere. Its symptoms were bright red eyes, rabid temperament and anti-human sentiment.

(now you all know I’m a Doctor Who fan) 🙂

Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up

“Why do so many people concentrate on Ephesians 5:22-23 and skip over Ephesians 5:21?” – asks Christian marriage blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire, in response to this Pinterest post.

***

Interesting question.  First, it’s not really a question, it’s a statement of assumption veiled as a question.

Second, I don’t think it’s a matter of, “so many people […] skipping over ….”   I think it’s a matter of Bible exegesis.  Some people (like Darrell and I) interpret the marriage paradigm as a complementarian, believing that verse 21 is a concluding sentence for Ephesians 5:1-20.  They’re not ‘skipping over it’ from ignorance or even fear, they simply believe it’s not part of the instruction to wives and husbands.  Others, that interpret marriage from the egalitarian paradigm, believe that verse 21 is a topic sentence for Ephesians 5:21-33.

Complementarian or Egalitarian?

It’s an important question that’ll make a big difference in your marriage:  Are you a complementarian or an egalitarian?

In simple terms, complementarians favour specific gender roles for husbands and wives, each with their own power and purpose.  Sometimes it’s referred to as Biblical hierarchy, bridal paradigm, or Christ’s bride/body.  While, egalitarians favour interchangeability of power and gender roles because they don’t define a leader; but also favouring a designated role split. It’s referred to as equality, mutual submission, or 50/50.

To be fair, the Bible doesn’t refer to either classification – we call them these names to differentiate between the two schools of thought.  Complementarians interpret verse 21 to be the conclusion of corporate instruction.  Egalitarians interpret verse 21 to be the preface for the marriage instructions.

The quick response to Sheila’s statement is:  Verse 21 has nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with the corporate body.  By hinging these two sections of Scripture on one verse, you not only blurr marriage into other relationships – lowering its significance, but, you also complicate submission into a dysfunctional mess.

A slower, researched response, is more involved …

GRAMMATICALLY

It’s repetitive and confusing to say:  “everyone submit to everyone wives submit to your own husbands,” see, it makes no sense.  In all of the thought for thought translations (modern versions), you’ll see verse 21 driven into to the next paragraph so it joins the marriage part.  To make it happen they’ve replaced the colon, semicolon, or comma with a period so that the section will complete with verse 20.  Yet in the word for word translations, (KJV, NASB) you’ll find the punctuation left intact making verse 21 the concluding sentence for the previous section.

VOCABULARY

In verse 21, Paul is concluding his general address that targets everyone in the assembly.  We know it’s a corporate address to a body (a group) of believers because he doesn’t name a subject by a noun, instead he uses pronouns in the plural form:

  • (v2) us – “… has loved us and given Himself for us …”
  • (v3) you – “…let it not even be named among you …”
  • (v5) you – “…For this you know…”
  • (v6) no one, you – “let no one deceive you with empty…”
  • (v8) you – “… For you were …”
  • (v14) you – “… Awake you who … will give you light…”
  • (v15) you – “… that you walk circumspectly …”
  • (v19) one another, your – “… to one another… in your heart…”
  • (v20) our – “…in the name of our Lord …”
  • (v21) one another – “…submitting to one another …”

Paul includes verse 21 with all the preceding plural pronouns

But in verse 22, he changes up his target audience. Notice how he signifies his change?  He’s not speaking corporately any more.  He’s not using plural pronouns anymore.  He could’ve said something like, “Now, all you who are married … “  Or, “Those of you who are married…”  Or even, “Any of you who are spouses …”  But he didn’t.

Instead, he distinguishes those who are married by calling them out separately from everyone as well as individually … he speaks directly to wives then directly to husbands:

  • (vs 22-24) Wives, submit to your own husbands …
  • (vs 25-32) Husbands, love your wives, …

Then in verse 33 he wraps up his instruction to all those who are married using a concluding sentence.  He signifies switching back to plural, but not everyone only corporately to those married.  He’s capturing the attention of, every husband and every wife, Each one of you in particular:

  • Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Paul makes special delineation for marriage, above the instructions for everyone else.  I think he wants us to know that the relationship rules that apply to everybody, similarly apply to marriage; however, there’s extra weight when you get married.  The aspects of love and submission he’s been talking about up to verse 21, that apply to everyone …  are now going to change.  Love and submission look different in marriage.

SOUL-ution

  • Prove it to yourself.  Let your own marriage be the litmus test, not what I say or what others say.  Yes, take in information – but see if it brings unity.  Find what brings the peace of Christ, the peace that you cannot comprehend or understand … even though you’re experiencing it.  Ultimately, that’s the light you want the world to see.

Submission to authority

fear

 

April at The Peaceful Wife received this request and kindly forwarded it to me:

On today’s post, Robyn made the comment:  ‘I’m a recovering feminist and require a firm hand.’  I would like to know what that means to her practically, and how she feels “a firm hand” can help her to be a former feminist godly wife.  Would you please ask her to describe this with examples and/or consider writing a post on this?  There are many young men in the church who want to lead their wives well, but don’t know how to deal with arrogant, disrespectful, un-submissive, feminist women/girlfriends/wives in the church.  It’s frustrating when many women admire Sean Connery, sometimes even knowing that he hits his wife, but they won’t respect their own men who don’t.  I don’t want to hit any women, but there must be a godly response men may use to inspire women to want to obey.  What works for Robyn?”

 

Before starting, I want to get a few things out of the way.  I’m not going to address the feminist behaviours of all women or girlfriends ‘in the church’ because they cannot surrender to the authority of a husband which they do not have.  I am addressing this part of the request: There are many young men in the church who want to lead their wives well,”

Also, It’s frustrating when many women admire Sean Connery, sometimes even knowing that he hits his wife, but they won’t respect their own men who don’t. “  This seems to be in a negative vein to demean Sean Connery.  This is judgmental and I do not agree.  If you would like to view the video you can do so here.  Also, you can read an interview from 2011 from Sean and Micheline Connery here. I have recapped Barbara Walters closing statement to the video, which is given in her likeable Barbara Walters style:  “By the way, Sean Connery has been married to Micheline for 31 years, and we have not heard a single complaint.”   And just out of curiosity I Googled images of the two of them, and I could only find TWO in which Sean was not touching Micheline.  The connection of the two of them appears even warmer after you read their interview.

I’m sorry, but instead of criticizing the man or their marriage style, how about looking at the fact that in a world where divorce rates climb and women are leaving in droves (70% of divorces are initiated by women) and even with those in the public eye … Micheline stays.  I’m not saying I condone domestic discipline but neither am I saying that I condemn it.  What I am saying, is that I don’t want to be so narrow as to disregard a couple or their marriage that has obvious proven longevity because some small part  might ‘appear’ to be distasteful.

OK now, onto what the email calls, What works for Robyn?”

First, I’m not totally comfortable with writing to the male gender.  When I write, it’s… well, it’s to me and to women who are like me.  The extrapolations from my experiences come from a female mind for female readers.  I write in ways that I feel would have connected with me years ago had I been willing to listen.  So be patient with me if I dance around a bit as I attempt to find the ‘write’ voice.

Second, my husband did not force me to become obedient to him.  It was a breaking I experienced between me and God.  My husband was (and is) the instrument that God used to make me obedient to Him.

Third, I prefer to respond to such requests via private email, but at my husband’s direction I am doing it as a post.

A person needs for their ‘no’ to stand as their ‘no’ (or their yes as their yes).  This isn’t a male-female issue but an issue of person. It is carried out in marriage by a husband and wife, and we each do it differently.

If we are both a ‘no,’ or both a ‘yes,’ everything is cool, right?  It’s when we run into that inevitable (and unenviable) no/yes conflict that we run into problems, because what we are really talking about here is who is going to lead and who is going to follow.

When you have a wife who is, “arrogant, disrespectful, and un-submissive” like I was, as a husband you are going to need to be all man.  By that I mean know how to be confident in your masculinity.

Lots of Christian men generally don’t do this.  They move in their part of the curse – they back down, back away, withdraw – let her eat the fruit.  They call it preserving the peace or serving her with love.

Poppycock!  This is the reasoning of the lazy or the coward.

It boils down to the same end result:  You give in.  Your ‘no/yes’ is not respected, so therefore you are not really leading (which is love) – you are allowing your wife to lead in power, just like Adam let Eve lead.

To press forward in masculinity is to move into her space.  A method of doing this is to use physical stature to exert your authority over her so that you can rein in her power, pressing into her arrogance and disrespect by calling it into the open.

I don’t know what tipped the scale for my husband, and I can’t tell you the day, but I remember the calm coldness of the moment when he said, “If you were a guy I’d deck you, but I can’t because you are a female. But then another guy would never have said that.  If you were a subordinate at work I’d fire your ass, but you’re not, so that is not an option either,” and turned – very casually – and walked away.

(Please remember that I am not writing as a prescription, I am sharing what worked for me – for us.  I believe in the form of what I’m saying, but it is lived out slightly different in each marriage because each marriage is comprised of two uniquely different people)

Equality opposes synergy

Here’s my take on the equality issue.  Husbands and wives are about as equal as a banana and a peach.  A banana is 100% banana, equal to all other bananas.  A peach is 100% peach, equal to all other peaches.  To measure a banana against a peach would be foolish, because although they are both fruit, they are completely different.  A banana split won’t work with a peach and a peach cobbler won’t work with a banana.  Each is equal in its own rite.

We are duped when we think that marriage is about equality.  It isn’t. It’s about the synergy of masculine authority and feminine power.  It isn’t about 50/50 – ‘You chose last time so I’ll choose this time,’ or ‘I have equal say in this marriage and I have valid points, so you are going to listen to me’.  Views rooted in equality pit two people against one another, making synergy impossible.  The equality of men and women is not the issue, and it muddies the water when we enter marriage with that mindset.

That’s the problem with the feminist view: equality.  Authority and submission are not equal, because they are synergistic – 100% authority and 100% submission.  Equality calls for keeping score.  Synergy is about the bigger picture:  The marriage.  Equality is about division.  Synergy is about unity.

Failed masculinity

With the benefit of foreknowledge about the fall of humankind, what should Adam have done with his wife’s action that was disobedient to God and disrespectful of Adam’s authority?  You know the answer.  With her power she stepped into the space of his authority (she thought she knew better).  He should have pushed back into her physical space with his authority and said, “No.  God said no,” as he [Adam] took the fruit out of her hand.

If a wife’s response is, “arrogant,” anddisrespectful,” treat her the way she is acting:  She is unwittingly calling you to battle.  You are feeling her move in her God-given power.  She IS a worthy adversary, but she’s using it to destroy and not build up (Proverbs 14:1).  This move shows immaturity on her part and disrespect of God’s authority, because He gave His authority to you, you didn’t make it up. (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18)

Don’t walk away in anger, throwing your hands up; rather, press in with your authority.  Meet her at the point of her request, but not in her way which is with femininity, respond with what you are – with what you have: your masculinity.

  • The eyes – a direct ‘stare’.
  • The voice that is calm, cold and disconnected, a ‘tone’ that lacks any emotion.  Because at this point in the disagreement, conflict, fight, or whatever you want to call it, she’s probably got enough emotional power for 5 people. You need to offset that.
  • Physical stature that turns square on as if to face an enemy, which is what she is making herself to you at this moment
  • Physically start to press into her bubble of space, narrowing the gap between the two of you.
  • Don’t stop until she backs up – even if she backs into a wall (or your motorcycle).  With me, it is not usually until I feel an object against back and sense I’m being ‘fenced in’ that the negative emotion subsides.

You are not trying to diminish her power – you both need that power to be an efficient force against Satan – but rather, trying to get back together on the same side so that Satan cannot come between you.  As the husband this is your responsibility, clearly defined by the delegation of God’s authority.

I asked my husband where or how he learned to do this and if he realized it’s a pattern. He responded, “It’s battle mode.  It happens naturally for me.  My testosterone gets ‘jumpy.’  I know I’m a man, but I start to shrink inside like a little boy.  The problem was that I used to blame you for ‘making’ me feel that way with your lack of respect – it made me angry, which just made it worse. (Hulk is out.) When I realized it wasn’t so much your fault as me not stepping up to my authority, the pattern became much more effective.”

If she doesn’t like it, tell her to take it to the church (Pastor/Elder/Leadership).  If you’re validated by your convictions and conscience, you have nothing to fear.  This is the same thing I tell wives when they feel that their husbands are abusing the authority.  It’s the responsibility of the church – hold them to it.  It’s not about ‘counseling.’ It’s about a judge making a decision so that you can move on with life. (1 Corinthians 6:1-5):

Does any of you dare, when he has a matter of complaint against another [brother], to go to law before unrighteous men [men neither upright nor right with God, laying it before them] instead of before the saints (the people of God)?  Do you not know that the saints (the believers) will [one day] judge and govern the world? And if the world [itself] is to be judged and ruled by you, are you unworthy and incompetent to try [such petty matters] of the smallest courts of justice?  Do you not know also that we [Christians] are to judge the [very] angels and pronounce opinion between right and wrong [for them]? How much more then [as to] matters pertaining to this world and of this life only!  If then you do have such cases of everyday life to decide, why do you appoint [as judges to lay them before] those who [from the standpoint] of the church count for least and are without standing?  I say this to move you to shame. Can it be that there really is not one man among you who [in action is governed by piety and integrity and] is wise and competent enough to decide [the private grievances, disputes, and quarrels] between members of the brotherhood.

Women are multi-faceted powerhouses

In marriage I believe we are called to achieve a perfect balance.  Not to BE perfect, but to work towards a perfect balance with each other.

God gave the husband all the authority. When He created the wife, He did the same thing with all the power.  Husbands abuse their authority – they are human.  And wives abuse their power – they are human.  Without the blending of the two forces we get a continual loop of the scenario of Adam and Eve.  Please don’t let your ‘take away’ be that the husband is always right and the wife is always wrong. That’s not what I’m saying, and if you hear that, you are missing the point.

A husband needs the power of his wife to be a better man.  A wife needs the authority of her husband to be a better woman.

Here’s a really cool metaphor that God taught me.  The power God gives a wife is equivalent to an 18-wheel truck that is speeding downhill.  The husband’s authority is the air brake system.  Her power is so great that she will continue in it, because that’s what she was designed to do!  It is only the air brake system that can slow this massive moving force.  A wife in her power (speeding truck) must be willing to trust and yield to her husband’s authority (air brake system).  Now I’ll bet if you’re a wife reading this, your reaction will be similar to what mine used to be, ‘why does the husband get to be the air breaks and have the control over my power?!’  That’s the punch:  A truck didn’t make itself, and it doesn’t drive itself.  God not only manufactured the truck … He’s also the Driver.

Your marriage is the truck.  Neither one of you owns it – it belongs to the Driver.

Finally, a word of caution:  to want to have authority over your wife’s power is a good and godly thing; but to want to make your life easier or to just get your way because you are stronger and bigger, or thinking you are better or more privileged in any way just because you are the man, is not the way of the Lord – it is the tradition of men. This is the seed of feminism: men following the tradition of ‘wearing the pants.’

Satan twisted the direction and purpose of the authority God gave men because he could not diminish it, so men hated the power of femininity and abused women, seeing them as less valuable.  Women, being responders, have merely reflected that twist of direction and purpose; but they move in what they are – power – so women are usurping the masculine authority that originally hated their femininity.

Satan subtly shifted the direction of authority and power in marriage so that husbands and wives would be at each other instead of one synergistic unit directed at him.

Slippery isn’t he?

You must want to lead your wife with authority because it’s what God commands.  Because it is what’s best for her, for you and what’s best for the marriage.  Your success will depend on the motive of your heart.