Still writing the book, but I’ve felt something has been missing from it which has been mystifying me. Perhaps this post is an attempt to walk out some of the ideas that need more hashing.
The roles and responsibilities are pretty simple, but how do you break them down into teachable concepts that involve real life examples of successes and mistakes. After all, it’s easy to point out where someone has made a mistake, but it’s difficult to have a success and break it down into simple terms that someone else can employ in their life. In this case, from a man to another man, or a husband to another husband.
To try to distill this to the basics, it seems like Biblical teaching is all about two things for a husband:
- Learning how to lead with love and understanding (of the wife as a weaker vessel) with the main purpose of sanctification
- Learning how to teach a wife to follow effectively
I think the vast majority of time is spent on the first one from the pulpit, to varying success. Dalrock’s most recent post shows why it’s not as effective when “romantic love” is the justification for sex rather than God’s standard that marriage is the justification for sex.
However, there is little taught about learning how to teach a wife to follow effectively, most often because a husband “isn’t supposed to be telling his wife that she is to submit,” which is obviously false when a husband is tasked to draw his wife toward sanctification.
Other concepts that interfere with teaching wives how to follow aside from the culture and potentially the church in cases are a lack of ‘teachableness,’ a lack of ‘humility,’ and lack of understanding of what it means to be able to disagree but still submit from wives. These things need to be instilled from the onset of a relationship, and it is substantially more difficult if you are trying to instill these types of values half a year, a year, or even many years down the road.
Compounding this is the fact that stubbornness from a husband is a good trait when applied toward righteousness, but stubbornness is never a good trait in a follower. Husbands are too often not stubborn enough or perhaps in the wrong areas, whereas wives are too stubborn. One need only think of God’s term for Israel as a “stiff necked” people which referred to “stiff necked oxen” who couldn’t be led easily to till the fields.
I hesitate to use the word “true Christian,” but to be successful in a marriage the fruits of the Spirit are needed in spades from both the husband and wife. Love and humility first and foremost. If I were to advise any Christian man who wants to be married to look for anything aside from attractiveness, it would be those two traits. It is the combination of love and humility that help a wife to submit and respect her husband in a way that accurately demonstrates the Christ-Church relationship.
It’s hard to find a woman who can love well, according to the Scriptures, but it is is insanely difficult to find a humble woman in today’s culture and Church.