One big issue that I’ve seen that husbands run into when they start to follow God’s Word again by acting the head of their marriage is that they have trouble distinguishing false versus true desire.
One of the issues that stems from is the the application of dread.
- There is legitimate dread/fear from a husband starting to act as the head in the relationship again because the old dysfunctional and sinful patterns are being disturbed. This is a good thing. You want to break the cycle of the wife acting as the head, rebelling, or otherwise being contentious and nagging.
- There is illegitimate dread from actually threatening or inducing fear.
The issue that I see that most Christian husbands have is that the second point often does result in better sex. It is legitimately true that if you use the a threat point of divorce (like many pastors tell wives to use against their husbands), it does often result in a wife being more enthusiastic about sex and more submissive. But this misses the point.
One of the main points of marriage is about emulating Christ and the Church. Christ does not rule by fear but by love. Christians don’t follow Christ because we’re afraid of hell. We follow Him because He showed His love for us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
“Threatening” certainly works (to an extent at least), but it also does not induce true desire. It’s a false desire that masquerades as true. False desire does not make one more holy, though it can get some results like sex. True desire does, and it also gets the righteous results like sex.
This is why Jesus admonishes the disciples to use authority correctly: to love and serve others.
Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The problem, most of the time, is that we believe that we know what works better than God, or we don’t believe that God will work His power through us. And then we flail around messing up relationships around us by using worldly measures like trying to threaten those close to us.