The Crux: Husbands Must Reassume Their leadership Role Apart From Any Institution; Especially The Church
For some time Susan and I have been counseling in several marriage situations that seem hopeless. We want to be involved in these situations to help as much as we can while trying to learn how these marriages can be healed. And after many months of struggling with these situations, I believe the lightbulb has finally come on.
I have come to believe that good marriages are a product of functioning within God’s design for things. It is interesting to note what the definition of mental health is: the ability to cope with life. Period. This is why family is so important: families are organized units that help people cope with life. When a family is functioning like it should, it is a mighty stalwart as set against life. Love, resolve, peace, happiness, security, help, encouragement, wisdom, experience, and perseverance is found in the milieu of life through the family unit.
Life goes much better when things are used according to their purposes; no skilled surgeon uses a Bowie knife for anything regarding a patient, he uses special surgical tools.
In focusing on what Susan and I do know in all of this, we have emphasized marrying right to begin with. In regard to the woman, that means marrying a leader.
Let me now just pull the whole elephant out of the barn for you to see instead of feeding him to you a piece at a time like a Protestant hack. A good marriage requires the husband to be a leader; a bad marriage can be made good by the husband becoming a leader. A wife may think her husband is cute, handsome, funny, and sexy, and she may even love him, but if he isn’t a leader, she will not respect him and the marriage will eventually go south.
Now it is necessary to define what a leader is. A leader is an independent thinker. A husband leader is a thoughtful person who can think for himself. A leader is not indifferent to how the world works. The world demands this of him whether he knows it or not. There is no choice in the matter. Would you like an example?
So you are just a beer drinking, take it as it comes, live and let live, football-watching Joe, right? You work hard; bring home a check every week, and watching football on the weekend is your rest and escape from weekly duty, right? But as always, hardcore reality catches up with the way we like things; ideology, politics if you will, is now part of football. As a leader, if you are one, you will finally recognize the fact that the world will not allow you to hide from ideology. You can enter the arena of ideas now, or you can eventually be run over by the chariots—your call. You can fancy yourself as a good-old-boy that just goes with the flow all you want, but the flow will eventually drown you. The mindless always end up on a deathbed padded with a mattress of regret…always.
This is a world driven by ideology. If you are a lazy thinker who fancies himself as being along for the ride of life—life will eventually throw you off the bus and run you over. Then you will run to a professional thinker who you must trust because you have no foundational thinking of your own in which to gauge what you are being told.
I would be tempted right now to think of a movie I once saw. A young thoughtless man followed his adventurous desires and rode with some outlaws. He and those he was riding with were shot by some not-so-politically-correct lawmen who rode up on the suffering boy lying on the ground, fatally wounded. One lawman looked upon the youngster, and seeing the fear in his eyes said, “Take your medicine boy.” If you are a lazy thinker, you will indeed take your medicine someday. Lazy thinkers let others think for them and end up wherever the thinkers want them to be. This is why people who need counseling hardly ever know how they ended up where they are at. And I would be tempted to gloat over the aforementioned movie motif, but as a recovering Protestant I am also guilty of letting others think for me.
Secondly, a leader is not a boss. Secondly, a leader is not a boss. Secondly, a leader is not a boss. As a husband, you have no authority. Leadership and authority are mutually exclusive. You think you have authority because you are a lazy thinker and others told you to think that. If you do have authority, you don’t need to be a leader; your wife merely does what you tell her to do for any or no reason whatsoever. Note that authority produces lazy thinking; you don’t need a good reason to demand anything in particular, it just suits your desires at the time.
Leadership and authority are mutually exclusive. And lazy thinkers will either be guided by desire or thinking. Desire always fills the void where thinking is absent.
“But, but, but, if no one is in charge, chaos will ensue!” See what I mean? Where did you get that idea thou lazy thinker? You were taught that by people who want to control you. A cursory independent research will prove that wrong.
Note: this is a discussion separate from the necessity of civil law and the proper administration of it according to God’s purposes.
Thirdly, your authority is your own conscience. Your conscience is who you are, and it is your duty to study life, and thereby inform your conscience according to truth resulting in an earned, truthful self-esteem. Before this statement makes you run to the little boy’s room, know this: somebody is going to inform your conscience which will dictate your behavior; that will be you, or others. Pick one; you have no third choice.
Fourthly, your wife has a right to her own conscience. Your wife should also be a thinker, but as a husband who leads, you are an overseer that makes sure healthy thinking is in process. You are joint-heirs of life, you are part of a family role that faces life TOGETHER, and as ONE flesh.
Be a leader who thinks and applies wisdom to your life, and your wife will respect you. If you have farmed out thinking to other authorities and have set that example for your wife, she will only respect you to the degree that you obey those authorities.
Take your medicine boy.
Listen, Susan and I hear this constantly from church wives: “I don’t respect him because he doesn’t respect the elders.” And this is regardless of anything the elders do. Why? Because they are in authority which requires no reason to do anything other than what they want to do. Worse yet, the husband’s usual objection is that they have usurped his supposed authority. Good luck with that because they are the supposed experts. Don’t play the authority game—you will lose that card game every time if you call their hand. Indeed, if you want to play the authority game, by all means, keep your mouth shut and put your temple tax in the plate. You will at least have a peaceful marriage. It’s a lie, but at least it will be peaceful.
And, the fact that the wife respects/obeys authority over reason is indicative of the husband’s abject failure as a leader. You farmed out the thinking to experts, now they have the marriage they want you to have whatever that might be. By the way, this also applies to the children; somebody is going to seek to lead them someplace by some kind of ideology. This is simply how the world works. As the leader you can be on top of that or asleep at the switch. If you are asleep at the switch, you might get lucky, or you might find your child in their bedroom closet dead because they misused the affixation thrill seeking technique.
In these seemingly hopeless church marriages, the hope lies in the husband assuming his role as a leader before God. This may include the defunding of the wife’s ability to follow others as pseudo authoritarians who demand the husband’s capitulation. You don’t pay for things you don’t believe in. That’s not grace and mercy; that’s stupidity.
Thriving marriages require husband leaders who know their wives and love them according to knowledge and wisdom resulting in wives that respect their husbands. The wife should contribute to figuring out life; it’s the husband’s role to make sure the figuring out is ongoing. I guess if there is one area where I have succeeded as a husband, as Susan will tell you, I constantly encourage her to think for herself according to her own pursuit of truth. A leader strives to make sure his wife and children take personal ownership of what they believe and that being a work built with their own labor.
It’s truth that sets us free.
This starts with knowledge deliberately neglected via Protestant orthodoxy which is based on authority and not leadership. It’s a knowledge that knows how the world works. Jesus calls for individuals to SEEK, not a blind following after the traditions of men cloaked in authority.
The way to heal these marriages is for the husband to become a properly defined leader; more than likely, the wife will like what she sees and follow. His life now makes more sense and works better. This also applies to husbands in general, but even more so with Christian husbands.