What does “Head of the Wife” Mean?

What does “Head of the Wife” Mean?

Written By John Michael Clark

Normal Christian Husband: What does the Bible mean when it says a husband is the “head of his wife?”

Milquetoast Pastor: Well it doesn’t mean you’re some kind of tyrant!!

Normal Christian Husband: Riiight… I didn’t assume that it did… So what DOES it mean?
Milquetoast Pastor: Well it doesn’t mean your wife is some kind of doormat!!

Normal Christian Husband: Riight… I didn’t think that either… but what DOES it actually mean?
Milquetoast Pastor: Well it doesn’t mean that you rule your wife with an iron fist!!

Normal Christian Husband: BRO WHAT DOES IT MEAN THO?!
Milquetoast Pastor: It means be a servant leader.

Normal Christian Husband: Okay… thank you… I’m listening. What does it mean to be a servant leader?
Milquetoast Pastor: It means you love her like Christ loves the Church.

Normal Christian Husband: Ok, cool… and what does that look like, PRACTICALLY?
Milquetoast Pastor: *blank stare*

Normal Christian Husband: Hello? Pastor Melvin?
Milquetoast Pastor: Oh, um… it looks like washing the dishes.

Normal Christian Husband: *taking notes* Okay… now we’re getting somewhere. What else?
Milquetoast Pastor: You know, just die to self!

Normal Christian Husband: So, like, die to protect her?
Milquetoast Pastor: Yes, but not only that!! You need to wake up every single day of your life and look for ways to die in your own soul so that hers can thrive! Serve her and ask her what she needs from you, and even if it’s unreasonable, do it, because that’s what love really does! Eventually, you should be totally dead inside, a hollow shell of a man, then you’ll be like Jesus!!! And meee!!!

Normal Christian Husband: Dude, this has been so helpful. I always thought all the verses in the New Testament that mentioned a husband’s authority over his wife, and a wife’s respect for, and submission to her husband meant that she was like, his helper, and that he was to actually provide godly direction for their marriage and family.

But now I see that all those verses actually mean the exact opposite of that!

Milquetoast Pastor: Now you get it! I think you might be called to the ministry!

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
Ephesians 5:23

***Lori here: I think a good thing to ponder is how Christ leads His Church. Does He cater to all of her whims and wants, or does He do what He knows is best? Does He only serve the Church, or does He lead and guide her too?

14 thoughts on “What does “Head of the Wife” Mean?

  1. Yes Stephen,

    We wouldn’t either :). And we lament that pastors across the country are unwilling to teach all of God’s Word as it is clearly given to us.

  2. That was hilarious, and SO TRUE. Can’t count how many times I’ve heard that sermon coming from the pulpits. Thanks for drawing it to attention!

  3. Haha, I got a chuckle out of this! So true! But I thought Pastor Milquetoast’s first name was Casper? 🙂

    The irony is that women aren’t happy when they end up with their husband serving them. They think they want that…but they don’t when it actually happens.

    Following God’s word has made it pretty easy for us for the last 23 years. An extended family member commented recently that my husband and I were “so lucky” that we were “just naturally compatible” that our marriage was “one of the easy ones”.

    You can have “one of the easy ones”, too. When all else fails, read and follow the instructions! <3

  4. If we were to make a list of a Christian’s relationship to Christ, what would we include?
    Total surrender
    Identity with Christ
    Marriage is designed by God to be a living example of Christ’s relationship with His church. It is God that set up the husband to be the head of the home to demonstrate Christ’s headship of the Church. It is also God’s design for wives to demonstrate the Church or Bride of Christ in the marriage relationship. Therefore, the attributes that describe an obedient Christian to his Lord Jesus Christ, are the same qualities that describe a God fearing wife to her husband. She owes these attributes to the Lord, but she pays them to her husband. Just like paying a bill for a utility, sometimes we pay a different entity that processes the payment for that utility company. The same is true here. We all owe our obedience to the Lord, but we make the ‘payments’ to each other. The good wife gives to her husband obedience, submission, loyalty, fidelity, respect, honor, surrender and her Identity is as his wife, and in doing so, she is honoring and submitting to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

  5. Yep, Melvin telling husbands they need to be doormats, sets people up for abuse in general. The husband kowtowing to all that get-stamped-on, and-just-keep-on-smiling… That sort of rubbish does no good for the kids – will just play out as one more reason for the sons and daughters to ditch the Word and join the world.
    And sooner or later, the husband – being only human – will get fed up, one way or another.
    These ever waxing-pollyanna pastors are nauseating.

  6. Mainstream Churches shy away from the teaching of Biblical submission of a wife to her husband in deference to feminist and because (like all other difficult or demanding morality) it is seen as too challenging and will “put people off” and leave Churches empty.

    As a result this teaching has too often become the preserve of those who seek to pervert and fetishise it.

    A husband and father is the head of the family and holds authority over all those within it. As a Christian wife it is your duty to submit to your husband, to help and support him but also ultimately to obey.

    But it is the duty of the husband to use his leadership for the spiritual and materiel benefit of his family and a whole – not for selfishness or in exploitation.

  7. The last paragraph is the valuable perspective: “***Lori here: I think a good thing to ponder is how Christ leads His Church. Does He cater to all of her whims and wants, or does He do what He knows is best? Does He only serve the Church, or does He lead and guide her too?

  8. Tim, T shirts should be made for us wives with your list on it!! My husband would never allow us to be members of a church with a pastor like that the Milquetoast guy. I love that you listed Total Surrender – if we as wives totally surrender ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually to our husband’s biblical leadership and authority, submit to and obey him in EVERYTHING, then our husbands will push himself and his character, integrity and faith to do everything in his power, in accordance with God’s plan, totally take care of us in every way. Our total obedience and submission to our husbands puts a great deal of responsibility on them and helps form them into the MAN’s man that God expects him to be – the leader, provider and protector! My husband is without question head over me, I totally surrender to him and obey him and feel so protected and taken care of by him, I can’t imagine living any other way

  9. The horrible reality is that the relationship between Christ and His Church should be reflected in husband and wife, also to show others how the Church should relate to Christ. And just as husbands are widely chastised to sacrificially die to self and serve their wives and ignore their own goals, but to let their wife fulfill her desires in everything. Doesn’t that sadly resemble many churches where Christians are all about chasing their desires, rather than serving Christ?

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