How to answer - Telling your wife who to vote for

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TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
I agree that the heads of landowning families should cast the vote. Notice, I do not say men specifically because a woman would have just as much at stake if she were to lose her husband and would need to represent the family's interest in political elections.
Numbers chapter 30 would seem to me to support that, since widows and divorced women have the same rights and obligations as men when it comes to contracts, and voting is something of a social contract. I'd skip the landowning part, though.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Just my thought but husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever. The bible commands wives to submit, not husbands to make sure their wives submit. Those are two different things. Husbands are commanded to love their wives not make sure they submit, that is between them and God.
While you are right that ultimately a husband is powerless to enforce submission (and husbands need to know that so they won’t make a stupid effort to do so), still it is simply absurd to say that a husband should not tell his wife to do anything. If there is no direction, what is there to submit to?

I hope I am as opposed to masculine tyranny as the next masculine tyrant, but I can’t help wondering if the women in our history would not be rather bemused by the idea that a directive would be a problem or create a tense situation. Just as a man ought to love his wife into submission (HT: Lord Voldemort), so a woman ought to jiujitsu her husband into gentle and considerate treatment of her by her love and submission: at least, that’s what I would gather from the examples of Esther and Monica in the light of the Biblical commands.

Household voting makes sense; restricting it to landowners (unless we adopt a system like in Israel where everyone is at least part of a landowning household) seems like an excellent way to make sure the poor are powerless.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I have not had time to fully wade through this thread but I want to know if anyone has mentioned this passage.

(1Pe 3:7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Does this passage have insight to be gleaned concerning this topic? I believe it does.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
What I'd love to see happen:

One of you who advocates the "boss" approach to husbanding - At your next congregational meeting (whenever that might be)publicly issue orders to your wife and communicant children telling them how to vote, and for good measure add that there will follow spankings for the kids if they disobey and some other repricusion for your wife if she disobeys. THAT would be funny.
Or even better. Go with your wife to the polling station and before she goes to cast her ballot, say out loud, "Now, remember: you'd better vote for ___________ like I told you."
THAT would be funny.

---------- Post added at 02:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:17 PM ----------

Just my thought but husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever. The bible commands wives to submit, not husbands to make sure their wives submit. Those are two different things. Husbands are commanded to love their wives not make sure they submit, that is between them and God.
While you are right that ultimately a husband is powerless to enforce submission (and husbands need to know that so they won’t make a stupid effort to do so), still it is simply absurd to say that a husband should not tell his wife to do anything. If there is no direction, what is there to submit to?

He didn't say a husband can not ever ask his wife to do something. What he's saying is that once he's said something (I don't know, something like, "Honey, please make sure my shirt gets washed today") he shouldn't then come home and throw a mini-fit "Woman! I TOLD YOU to do something! THE BIBLE TELLS YOU TO SUBMIT! SO SUBMIT! OR YOU'RE SINNING!"

The "wives submit" passages were not written to empower husbands to use religion to brow-beat their wives. Husbands should focus on the passages written to them on how to interact with their wives - lest their prayers be hindered. Likewise, the wife's job is to focus on the passages written to her - respecting and submitting to her husband - and not focus on how self-sacrificing her husband is or isn't being towards her.

We "naturally" want to focus on what is owed to us, and we want to point out when others are not giving us what is owed. But bad things happen in marriages when the husband becomes focused on getting his wife's submission and when the wife gets focused on being treated a certain way.

Thus I think the admonition is entirely appropriate - it isn't for husbands to seek to make their wives submit. It is for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Likewise it isn't for wives to seek to make their husbands treat them like a precious piece of china, it is their jobs to graciously submit to their leadership.
 
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py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
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Just my thought but husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever. The bible commands wives to submit, not husbands to make sure their wives submit. Those are two different things. Husbands are commanded to love their wives not make sure they submit, that is between them and God.
While you are right that ultimately a husband is powerless to enforce submission (and husbands need to know that so they won’t make a stupid effort to do so), still it is simply absurd to say that a husband should not tell his wife to do anything. If there is no direction, what is there to submit to?
He didn't say a husband can not ever ask his wife to do something. What he's saying is that once he's said something (I don't know, something like, "Honey, please make sure my shirt gets washed today") he shouldn't then come home and throw a mini-fit "Woman! I TOLD YOU to do something! THE BIBLE TELLS YOU TO SUBMIT! SO SUBMIT! OR YOU'RE SINNING!"
That may be what he means, Ben, but it isn’t what he said. His words are “husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever.” “Whatsoever” seems pretty comprehensive. I’m sure in real life exceptions would be made for things like “We need to leave right now” or “It is critical that the electric bill be paid.” That’s exactly my point: James’ comment, as written is unrealistic. But, as my previous post already indicated, it is excellent and very necessary to remind husbands that when it comes to their wives, they can not compel. The compulsion comes from the wife’s conscience, not from the husband’s bullying: if the husband contributes to that compulsion it is in that his loving, gentle, knowledgeable tenderness has constrained the wife to be enthusiastic about pleasing him.

The "wives submit" passages were not written to empower husbands to use religion to brow-beat their wives. Husbands should focus on the passages written to them on how to interact with their wives - lest their prayers be hindered. Likewise, the wife's job is to focus on the passages written to her - respecting and submitting to her husband - and not focus on how self-sacrificing her husband is or isn't being towards her.

We "naturally" want to focus on what is owed to us, and we want to point out when others are not giving us what is owed. But bad things happen in marriages when the husband becomes focused on getting his wife's submission and when the wife gets focused on being treated a certain way.

Thus I think the admonition is entirely appropriate - it isn't for husbands to seek to make their wives submit. It is for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Likewise it isn't for wives to seek to make their husbands treat them like a precious piece of china, it is their jobs to graciously submit to their leadership.
As for “husbands should focus…wives should focus”, it seems to me that this is often the very first place to begin when there is any kind of disfunction in any relationship: instead of tallying the shortcomings of another, concentrate on what your own duty is. Barring extreme cases, what another person does has little to no impact on what your duty is now. When your duty to love dominates your mind, forbearing one another becomes natural, and many aggravations are simply too trivial to give a second thought to.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
That may be what he means, Ben, but it isn’t what he said. His words are “husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever.” “Whatsoever” seems pretty comprehensive.
You're right. I misread.

As I read his post for some reason I read "tell" as "demand."
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
restricting it to landowners (unless we adopt a system like in Israel where everyone is at least part of a landowning household) seems like an excellent way to make sure the poor are powerless.
Almost all of the funding for local roads, schools etc. come by taxing real property. This was the original requirement for voting in this country. This was not a means of dis-empowering the poor and likely was at least part of the reason for the emphasis on land-ownership in the OT. Given federalism and income tax perhaps a different approach is appropriate at the national and some portions of state-level governments.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
How is she going to submit if the husband does not instruct her? If my employer asks me to make 10 sandwiches for an order, I submit to him. If he never tells me to make any sandwiches, how will I know to make them?
I still don't think that a wife's "job" is comparable to the boss/worker relationship. I get your analogy but does that really describe the relationship right?

---------- Post added at 06:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:48 PM ----------

If we are to love our wives we are to encourage them to do good. If submitting is a good work that wives are to do, then we are to give instruction on how wives are to submit (i.e. we are to love them, by encouraging them to do the good work of submtting)...and that is to be considered love. If we are to love in specific ways, then it appears that we are to instruct our wives how to submit in specific ways as well.
Well my personal opinion is that that is between them and God. Just love her. I find it amazing that all biblical commands that I can think of are directed towards a particuler group regardless of all other groups. Husbands are commanded to love their wives period, whether or not they submit. They are commanded to submit, whether or not we love them as we should. Us loving them is obviously a marital concern but ultimatly between us, well I am single at the moment, and God.

---------- Post added at 06:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:54 PM ----------

I think I follow, Perg. If my post made it sound as though I was saying a husband should be barking out orders like a drill sergeant, in gentleness and love of course, in order that his wife will be able to submit to him something is clearly wrong. When I marry someday, Lord willing, I will hope that most of the submitting that occurs in my marriage will be from simply following my lead as I try to lead in love. But for someone to say that a husband should never tell their wife what to do, I think that shows poor leadership on the part of the husband.
Leading and telling are two different things. You can tell someone anything you want you to and if they strongly disagree than where are you at then? I am not saying that you can't lead your wife only that her submiting is between her and God.

---------- Post added at 06:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 PM ----------

James is spot-on here. I submit to my husband because that is part of my covenant responsibilities.

I agree that the heads of landowning families should cast the vote. Notice, I do not say men specifically because a woman would have just as much at stake if she were to lose her husband and would need to represent the family's interest in political elections.

I vote so as to cancel out the "women's" vote that so often swings left. Otherwise, I'd be happy to leave the political voting to my husband. The only time I've aware of that we have differed has involved my leaving portions of the local section of the ballot blank. I could not in good conscience vote for either candidate and Brian understood that and was not at all perturbed by my choice.
Thanks!

---------- Post added at 07:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:59 PM ----------

While you are right that ultimately a husband is powerless to enforce submission (and husbands need to know that so they won’t make a stupid effort to do so), still it is simply absurd to say that a husband should not tell his wife to do anything. If there is no direction, what is there to submit to?

I hope I am as opposed to masculine tyranny as the next masculine tyrant, but I can’t help wondering if the women in our history would not be rather bemused by the idea that a directive would be a problem or create a tense situation. Just as a man ought to love his wife into submission (HT: Lord Voldemort), so a woman ought to jiujitsu her husband into gentle and considerate treatment of her by her love and submission: at least, that’s what I would gather from the examples of Esther and Monica in the light of the Biblical commands.

Household voting makes sense; restricting it to landowners (unless we adopt a system like in Israel where everyone is at least part of a landowning household) seems like an excellent way to make sure the poor are powerless.
I don't disagree. But I find it odd to place the difference between three options:
1. Tyranny
2. Telling, whatever that is
3. And not being a leader, that appears to be the intention of the disagrements with my post.

I propose a 4rth option, devoting yourself to keeping your families' best interests in mind trying to lead and love as best as possible and leave whether or not your wife submits to you between her and God. Again the comandment is to love your wife not make sure she submits to you.
 
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Zach

Puritan Board Junior
You are right James, my analogy using the relationship of Boss-Worker was not a good one. It assumes the husband is superior to the wife, which is absolutely NOT true. That being said, as Ruben pointed out you said, "Husbands should not be telling their wives to do anything, whatsoever." That I disagree with entirely. Even in a complimentary relationship instruction has to be given, by both husband and wife. If, one day, I do not instruct my wife whatsoever there will be times when she will be unable to submit. Likewise, if she never tells me how to best love her there will be times when I do not know how she needs to be loved. I hope that clarifies.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I would rather hear my wife pray for the Lord to remove wicked leaders from office and replace them with Godly servants, nightly at family devotions, than for her to gain a 100% A+ voting record by me, once on election day.
Of course, it would be quite odd for her to pray such things and then vote for the wickeder of the candidates. If she did pray such things, wouldn't she also vote such things?

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I find it more helpful to focus on my own duties as a wife and think it is probably more helpful for men to do the same.

As we are not submitting 'as to our husbands' but 'as to the Lord', we simply have no right to lose love or honor for a mere sinful man when he demonstrates his mere sinful humanity. The Lord has given everything for us. We owe Him absolutely all. And there is nothing worth living for apart from absolute abandon to *this* love. I love Ruben so incredibly dearly; I love my family, and my friends more intensely than I can say. But these loves are not worth living for. These people are fallen like myself; our love fails; it is weak and ineffectual; and we would only hurt and destroy each other apart from His mercy and grace. The Lord's love is worth living for -- 'Because Thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise Thee.' And it doesn't leave us anything to hang onto outside of itself. It asks everything of each of us. If He asked us to walk through fire and water wouldn't we at least try? But all he asks of us, as wives, is to submit to a sinful man who sometimes gets irritated and barks an order, or treats us less tenderly and respectfully than he ought to (because we are made in God's image, not because we are anything in ourselves). Can we not do this for our Lord? Or do we absolutely draw the line at that, though He gave up heaven and was homeless, and tired, and spit upon, and mocked, and carried all our sorrows, and all our sins, and was forsaken of His father for us?

This is not about the duty we owe to our earthly husbands ultimately. It is about the duty we owe to the husband of our soul. And a meek and quiet spirit is especially precious to Him. Because of this, and because Sara is commended with no holds barred, though she submitted to Abraham even when he asked her to tell a half truth, I think women ought to make it more a matter of conscience to submit to their husbands (even when they are stressed and out of sorts; and even if their personalities are more authoritarian, and even if in some things they are wrong) than to do many other things.
Thanks. That is almost like poetry.

---------- Post added at 02:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:03 AM ----------

How is she going to submit if the husband does not instruct her? If my employer asks me to make 10 sandwiches for an order, I submit to him. If he never tells me to make any sandwiches, how will I know to make them?
I still don't think that a wife's "job" is comparable to the boss/worker relationship. I get your analogy but does that really describe the relationship right?

---------- Post added at 06:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:48 PM ----------

If we are to love our wives we are to encourage them to do good. If submitting is a good work that wives are to do, then we are to give instruction on how wives are to submit (i.e. we are to love them, by encouraging them to do the good work of submtting)...and that is to be considered love. If we are to love in specific ways, then it appears that we are to instruct our wives how to submit in specific ways as well.
Well my personal opinion is that that is between them and God. Just love her. I find it amazing that all biblical commands that I can think of are directed towards a particuler group regardless of all other groups. Husbands are commanded to love their wives period, whether or not they submit. They are commanded to submit, whether or not we love them as we should. Us loving them is obviously a marital concern but ultimatly between us, well I am single at the moment, and God.

---------- Post added at 06:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:54 PM ----------

I think I follow, Perg. If my post made it sound as though I was saying a husband should be barking out orders like a drill sergeant, in gentleness and love of course, in order that his wife will be able to submit to him something is clearly wrong. When I marry someday, Lord willing, I will hope that most of the submitting that occurs in my marriage will be from simply following my lead as I try to lead in love. But for someone to say that a husband should never tell their wife what to do, I think that shows poor leadership on the part of the husband.
Leading and telling are two different things. You can tell someone anything you want you to and if they strongly disagree than where are you at then? I am not saying that you can't lead your wife only that her submiting is between her and God.

---------- Post added at 06:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 PM ----------

James is spot-on here. I submit to my husband because that is part of my covenant responsibilities.

I agree that the heads of landowning families should cast the vote. Notice, I do not say men specifically because a woman would have just as much at stake if she were to lose her husband and would need to represent the family's interest in political elections.

I vote so as to cancel out the "women's" vote that so often swings left. Otherwise, I'd be happy to leave the political voting to my husband. The only time I've aware of that we have differed has involved my leaving portions of the local section of the ballot blank. I could not in good conscience vote for either candidate and Brian understood that and was not at all perturbed by my choice.
Thanks!

---------- Post added at 07:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:59 PM ----------

While you are right that ultimately a husband is powerless to enforce submission (and husbands need to know that so they won’t make a stupid effort to do so), still it is simply absurd to say that a husband should not tell his wife to do anything. If there is no direction, what is there to submit to?

I hope I am as opposed to masculine tyranny as the next masculine tyrant, but I can’t help wondering if the women in our history would not be rather bemused by the idea that a directive would be a problem or create a tense situation. Just as a man ought to love his wife into submission (HT: Lord Voldemort), so a woman ought to jiujitsu her husband into gentle and considerate treatment of her by her love and submission: at least, that’s what I would gather from the examples of Esther and Monica in the light of the Biblical commands.

Household voting makes sense; restricting it to landowners (unless we adopt a system like in Israel where everyone is at least part of a landowning household) seems like an excellent way to make sure the poor are powerless.
I don't disagree. But I find it odd to place the difference between three options:
1. Tyranny
2. Telling, whatever that is
3. And not being a leader, that appears to be the intention of the disagrements with my post.

I propose a 4rth option, devoting yourself to keeping your families' best interests in mind trying to lead and love as best as possible and leave whether or not your wife submits to you between her and God. Again the comandment is to love your wife not make sure she submits to you.
Telling and commanding and teaching are forms of leading. Those verbs go much further than merely "loving your wife' without instructing her to do anything. We love her by teaching her and commanding her to do right.

If a husband is to lead his wife, why then can he not tell and command her to do things?

Is there no way to enforce submission? By way of verbal command, or command by the church.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Heidi's good that way :)

As to taxes, I think that one of the reasons the Poll Tax is the same amount, and required of rich and poor alike is that way everyone has a stake in government. The poor person holds his head up high when walking into a public library, and gets the same respect from a cop, because he paid the same amount as the rich guy for those services.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
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If a husband and wife differ as to how to resolve a situation (which school to go to, which church to attend, which candidate to vote for) and both are confident that their choice is right - who casts the deciding vote?

Is it ever appropriate for a husband to make an executive decision, "I know you disagree, but this is what we are going to do."

This does not seem like tyranny, but necessity in many instances in life. After all, if two equal parties cannot agree and both yield equal power the only other alternative is to split (and our 50-50 marriages, where each party yields half of the decision-making power, since the 1960's or 70's or so have resulted in a divorce rate of 50%).

If it okay NOT to believe in 50-50- marriages?


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The question of the OP concerns voting and how to respond to someone who asked me about this...but I can see much bigger implications at stake then merely voting. If the husband is the head of the home, this isn't a mere empty title is it? He is ultimately responsible for the moral instruction of his children. What if he were to command his wife to turn off the soap operas, get him his slippers, make him coffee, or command her NOT to vote Democrat, etc?

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p.s. I am afraid that much of what I am hearing from many (even Christian women) is that "a good husband is a husband that does not tell me what to do." Or, one that shares the household chores. I would suspect that these sentiments would not have appeared until about 200 years ago, and that the wives of the Reformers did not hold these beliefs.

Where I am ministering now, I am struggling to teach even the evangelists not to treat their wives like mere property and I am trying to enlarge the rights of women. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I come from a culture where wives and husbands must always agree and the husband often cannot tell the wife anything to do as a "command" but merely as a "suggestion ("...if you are not too busy, after all...it would really mean a lot to me, pretty please...oh, and I'll wash the dishes if you do just this one thing for me..."). So, it is strange to have a feet in each culture and see the drastic differences (and possibility the sin) of both extremes.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
If a husband and wife differ as to how to resolve a situation (which school to go to, which church to attend, which candidate to vote for) and both are confident that their choice is right - who casts the deciding vote?

Is it ever appropriate for a husband to make an executive decision, "I know you disagree, but this is what we are going to do."
Even Tim Keller, who's a bit of a liberal at least in Reformed circles, says a husband's job is the occasional tie breaking vote. So I'd take that as a yes.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
p.s. I am afraid that much of what I am hearing from many (even Christian women) is that "a good husband is a husband that does not tell me what to do." Or, one that shares the household chores. I would suspect that these sentiments would not have appeared until about 200 years ago, and that the wives of the Reformers did not hold these beliefs.

Where I am ministering now, I am struggling to teach even the evangelists not to treat their wives like mere property and I am trying to enlarge the rights of women. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I come from a culture where wives and husbands must always agree and the husband often cannot tell the wife anything to do as a "command" but merely as a "suggestion ("...if you are not too busy, after all...it would really mean a lot to me, pretty please...oh, and I'll wash the dishes if you do just this one thing for me..."). So, it is strange to have a feet in each culture and see the drastic differences (and possibility the sin) of both extremes.
You've got some good points. As I've thought about this more today, it occurred to me that what is missing is along the lines of what Heidi said. Christ is the head of both the husband and the wife. And the reason I brought up the boss example was not to compare a job with a marriage, but rather to express how good leadership in any sphere works.

There is nothing wrong with a husband telling the wife how things are going to be in the family. What is wrong is the husband not respecting his wife. My father was the clear leader in our home, and while my parents were not perfect by any means, I saw glimpses of how things should be in their marriage and the family. While he was in charge, he never belittled my mother, and he never talked down to her as though she were an inferior. He treated her as though she were a queen, and in his eyes she was the queen who ruled in the domain God gave her. It just so happened that God put him over the entire domain.
Simply put, they had an understanding of their roles, and they respected each other in those roles.

The biggest way a husband can lift up his wife is to speak highly of her and treat as better than himself. If he does that, he won't have any trouble taking charge, because she will fall over him wanting to know what he wants her do.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
p.s. I am afraid that much of what I am hearing from many (even Christian women) is that "a good husband is a husband that does not tell me what to do." Or, one that shares the household chores. I would suspect that these sentiments would not have appeared until about 200 years ago, and that the wives of the Reformers did not hold these beliefs.

Where I am ministering now, I am struggling to teach even the evangelists not to treat their wives like mere property and I am trying to enlarge the rights of women. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I come from a culture where wives and husbands must always agree and the husband often cannot tell the wife anything to do as a "command" but merely as a "suggestion ("...if you are not too busy, after all...it would really mean a lot to me, pretty please...oh, and I'll wash the dishes if you do just this one thing for me..."). So, it is strange to have a feet in each culture and see the drastic differences (and possibility the sin) of both extremes.
You've got some good points. As I've thought about this more today, it occurred to me that what is missing is along the lines of what Heidi said. Christ is the head of both the husband and the wife. And the reason I brought up the boss example was not to compare a job with a marriage, but rather to express how good leadership in any sphere works.

There is nothing wrong with a husband telling the wife how things are going to be in the family. What is wrong is the husband not respecting his wife. My father was the clear leader in our home, and while my parents were not perfect by any means, I saw glimpses of how things should be in their marriage and the family. While he was in charge, he never belittled my mother, and he never talked down to her as though she were an inferior. He treated her as though she were a queen, and in his eyes she was the queen who ruled in the domain God gave her. It just so happened that God put him over the entire domain.
Simply put, they had an understanding of their roles, and they respected each other in those roles.

The biggest way a husband can lift up his wife is to speak highly of her and treat as better than himself. If he does that, he won't have any trouble taking charge, because she will fall over him wanting to know what he wants her do.
JBaldwin:

Thanks for those wise words. I agree.

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Final questions:

Can a husband ever demand things of his wife (even if she refuses)? What things, in what realms?

How can a husband than enforce his demands? (p.s. Muslim teaching has instructions on how to discipline one's wife, including spanking, was there ever a similar tradition within the Christian tradition).

I have read tales of Wesley's wife yelling at him, hitting him and dragging him around by the hair. What should have been Wesley's response (divorce, church discipline, a corrective smack, going to America for preaching tours to stay away from her?)....

Is this an area where churches often (or should) practice church discipline?

What is the difference between a man who power-shares equally with his wife, a man who is clearly in charge and is king of his domain, a man who is demanding, and a man who is tyrannical?

Have you seen examples of an in-submissive wife or a tyrannical husband, and what does this look like in real life?
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Joy, that is such a beautiful testimony of your parents and a wonderful background for so much what you have said here.

I have witnessed several cases of women being demeaned daily, sometimes in very painful ways -- sometimes in cases where I could almost wish they would leave the situation -- who maintained loving and submissive hearts because they cared more for their husband's soul than for their own honor. And while some of these situations are still 'in process', in others I have seen that God honors these ladies in the desires of their hearts. I was thinking about this discussion yesterday too and wondering if a lot of what is missing in our more Christianised culture (because we assume that Christian husbands are not in need of such from us) is not this consciousness of submission as a means to love a man's soul, more than our own welfare. Our world as women who are self consciously trying not to be modern feminists tends to be very small, but the people God has committed to our love are so very important. And I believe from everything I have observed that submission is a powerful means of keeping those people God has committed to us -- because God honors those who submit. The world tends to think the power is always with those in authority; and what recourse do the people at the bottom have? And we want to protect ourselves from a position of too much vulnerability. To some degree this is wise (I don't think a woman should walk into marriage with a man who will take her for granted, if she can help it). But I tend to think that the power is more often with those who humble themselves, and hope in God -- as our Lord did; and I think that as a way of selfless love, submission is one of the powerful shaping forces (of the individuals we love) on earth.

I could never advise any woman to adopt Monica's behaviour in a similar situation, but it is beautiful to read the testimony Augustine gives of her -- to realise that God not only saved both her son and her husband; but made her son a pillar for all time in the church; and that He raised this woman who so abased herself and accepted so much dishonor from her earthly husband to a place of honor in the church for all ages.

'Brought up thus modestly and soberly, and made subject rather by Thee to her parents, than by her parents to Thee, so soon as she was of marriageable age, being bestowed upon a husband, she served him as her lord; and did her diligence to win him unto Thee, preaching Thee unto him by her conversation; by which Thou ornamentedst her, making her reverently amiable, and admirable unto her husband. And she so endured the wronging of her bed as never to have any quarrel with her husband thereon. For she looked for Thy mercy upon him, that believing in Thee, he might be made chaste. But besides this, he was fervid, as in his affections, so in anger: but she had learnt not to resist an angry husband, not in deed only, but not even in word. Only when he was smoothed and tranquil, and in a temper to receive it, she would give an account of her actions, if haply he had overhastily taken offence. In a word, while many matrons, who had milder husbands, yet bore even in their faces marks of shame, would in familiar talk blame their husbands' lives, she would blame their tongues, giving them, as in jest, earnest advice: "That from the time they heard the marriage writings read to them, they should account them as indentures, whereby they were made servants; and so, remembering their condition, ought not to set themselves up against their lords." And when they, knowing what a choleric husband she endured, marvelled that it had never been heard, nor by any token perceived, that Patricius had beaten his wife, or that there had been any domestic difference between them, even for one day, and confidentially asking the reason, she taught them her practice above mentioned. . . .'
Pergs it is probably better to let a man answer your questions but just in context of what I said above I do think that headship is also a way of loving another person's soul more than one's own honor. And though there is nothing whatsoever wrong with a man giving directives and making decisions; and though in some of the scenarios you mentioned what is at stake will not admit of so much patient tolerance -- I think it is in many cases better with an unwilling wife, rather than always bringing things to a head, taking them to the church, etc. (which is advisable in some situations), and making matters of developing trust between two people more difficult, to take a long, patient view of many situations -- even at the expense of feeling helpless and marginalised in one's authority sometimes. The Lord is so patient with us in His own working.

Tim you are so kind, as always. I ought to disclaim that I'm able to consistently practice what I've said here; God alone knows how much patience I require of Him and of Ruben (though I imagine most of my friends could make some sort of guess :) -- many people are very patient with me). I have seen other women consistently do so though, and it is very much like poetry.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would rather hear my wife pray for the Lord to remove wicked leaders from office and replace them with Godly servants, nightly at family devotions, than for her to gain a 100% A+ voting record by me, once on election day.
Of course, it would be quite odd for her to pray such things and then vote for the wickeder of the candidates. If she did pray such things, wouldn't she also vote such things?
Well we (My Wife and I,) do not vote for the evil of two lessers. It is not a matter of voting for the wickeder of the candidates.

The point being, politics asside, I do not see any of this as a matter of submission to a husband. I see this as a matter of the husband encouraging and nurturing the wife throughout their lives. If a woman votes as you put it for the 'wickeder' or even the 'less wickeder'[sic] It seems to be a failure on the part of the husband, meaning there is no reason to become frustrated in the matter with the wife, when the issue lies on the head in reality.

Unless a family is unequally yoked, or a heathen couple, for the life of me I can not imagine a wife not responding to the gentile loving guidance of her husband. It is her desire. Just as Adam blamed Eve, so we as fallen men often blame our wives for what is really our fault. (In other words when our wives faulter we should first check ourselves pronto.)

God has told men how to be the head... "explicitly" it is by Loving our Wives. When any make attempt to "force the hand" of the wife it better be done through patience, love and mercy or I can't see how it will work.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Can a husband ever demand things of his wife (even if she refuses)? What things, in what realms?
In my humble opinion, demands are for life and death matters or situations where the family is endangered because of the wife's failure to follow. Even Lot could not prevent his wife from being turned into salt. She failed to follow his lead. He probably demanded that she leave Sodom and Gomorrah, but he couldn't change her heart.

How can a husband than enforce his demands? (p.s. Muslim teaching has instructions on how to discipline one's wife, including spanking, was there ever a similar tradition within the Christian tradition).
A wife is not an inferior. A wife is not a child. A wife is a grown-up who at some point may have to take over the family if the husband dies. I love the example given by pastor I knew who had a good marriage. He said, "My wife is my wing man." She can fly the plane, but her job is to watch my back and follow my lead." She follows the lead of her husband, but disciplining her is not one of the commands given by God. What I see from the examples in Scripture (and there aren't many) is a husband leading and the wife following. Off hand, I can't think of one example in Scripture where a husband disciplined his wife other than pagan Babylon.

I have read tales of Wesley's wife yelling at him, hitting him and dragging him around by the hair. What should have been Wesley's response (divorce, church discipline, a corrective smack, going to America for preaching tours to stay away from her?)....
Poor Wesley. He should have simply told her that it was not tolerated in his house, and if she wanted to continue being in good favor with him, she had better stop. Hitting, yelling, dragging around by the hair is never right. We had problems earlier in my marriage, and when either one of us got out of line, the other shut the door and said, "I'll talk to you when you're calm." If he failed to get control of the situation, he should have sought for some help. I don't believe hitting or smacking is every appropriate for a spouse, whether it's the husband or wife.

Is this an area where churches often (or should) practice church discipline?
If it gets to a point where it's a noticeable problem, yes.

What is the difference between a man who power-shares equally with his wife, a man who is clearly in charge and is king of his domain, a man who is demanding, and a man who is tyrannical?
That's a good question...I don't believe power-sharing ever really works. It's an illusion. The fact is, someone has to have the final say, and in a power-sharing situation, it usually ends up being the wife who rules the roost.

That doesn't mean the wife isn't completely involved in what is going on. A marriage is a partnership with the husband being the president in the purest sense of the word. He presides over the house. The word "preside" came from the Latin word "to sit in front of" and it means to govern or sit in authority. In my marriage, when I'm home all day with running the household, I make the decisions about what goes on, but when the decision to be made is over-reaching my realm, I defer to my husband, and we make a shared decision. If we can't come to a decision, or he feels my decision is wrong. He makes the decision, and I fall in line. That's not power-sharing, that's a partnership. And in that sense, the husband is clearly the head of his domain.

A demanding husband tells his wife what to do and does not take into consideration her needs or desires. An example might be a husband who comes home at 10:00 p.m. a demands the wife cook him a full meal even though she has been working hard all day and is exhausted and practically falling asleep at her work. Another example would be demanding that the house be in perfect order, even though the wife was sick in bed with the flu all day.

A tyrant is "a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly" (dictionary definition). A tyrant doesn't govern, he rules. This is the extreme of a demanding husband. In both cases, the husband is not thinking of his wife, he is thinking about himself and his needs.


Have you seen examples of an in-submissive wife or a tyrannical husband, and what does this look like in real life?
It's everywhere. If you look hard enough, you'll find at least traces of it in your own marriage. I know I sometimes struggle with submission, just as my husband struggles with control. But when the wife is ruling the roost, the husband doesn't make any of the decision, and the wife is disrespectful and belittles him. It's the same for a tyrannical husband. In both cases, the language often becomes abusive before it becomes violent.

Heidi, I just saw your post. You've said some of what I've been thinking.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I would rather hear my wife pray for the Lord to remove wicked leaders from office and replace them with Godly servants, nightly at family devotions, than for her to gain a 100% A+ voting record by me, once on election day.
Of course, it would be quite odd for her to pray such things and then vote for the wickeder of the candidates. If she did pray such things, wouldn't she also vote such things?
Well we (My Wife and I,) do not vote for the evil of two lessers. It is not a matter of voting for the wickeder of the candidates.

The point being, politics asside, I do not see any of this as a matter of submission to a husband. I see this as a matter of the husband encouraging and nurturing the wife throughout their lives. If a woman votes as you put it for the 'wickeder' or even the 'less wickeder'[sic] It seems to be a failure on the part of the husband, meaning there is no reason to become frustrated in the matter with the wife, when the issue lies on the head in reality.

Unless a family is unequally yoked, or a heathen couple, for the life of me I can not imagine a wife not responding to the gentile loving guidance of her husband. It is her desire. Just as Adam blamed Eve, so we as fallen men often blame our wives for what is really our fault. (In other words when our wives faulter we should first check ourselves pronto.)

God has told men how to be the head... "explicitly" it is by Loving our Wives. When any make attempt to "force the hand" of the wife it better be done through patience, love and mercy or I can't see how it will work.
In other words, you are to lead her only when she agrees to follow? And if she doesn't, its your fault?

---------- Post added at 03:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:59 PM ----------

Can a husband ever demand things of his wife (even if she refuses)? What things, in what realms?
In my humble opinion, demands are for life and death matters or situations where the family is endangered because of the wife's failure to follow. Even Lot could not prevent his wife from being turned into salt. She failed to follow his lead. He probably demanded that she leave Sodom and Gomorrah, but he couldn't change her heart.

How can a husband than enforce his demands? (p.s. Muslim teaching has instructions on how to discipline one's wife, including spanking, was there ever a similar tradition within the Christian tradition).
A wife is not an inferior. A wife is not a child. A wife is a grown-up who at some point may have to take over the family if the husband dies. I love the example given by pastor I knew who had a good marriage. He said, "My wife is my wing man." She can fly the plane, but her job is to watch my back and follow my lead." She follows the lead of her husband, but disciplining her is not one of the commands given by God. What I see from the examples in Scripture (and there aren't many) is a husband leading and the wife following. Off hand, I can't think of one example in Scripture where a husband disciplined his wife other than pagan Babylon.

I have read tales of Wesley's wife yelling at him, hitting him and dragging him around by the hair. What should have been Wesley's response (divorce, church discipline, a corrective smack, going to America for preaching tours to stay away from her?)....
Poor Wesley. He should have simply told her that it was not tolerated in his house, and if she wanted to continue being in good favor with him, she had better stop. Hitting, yelling, dragging around by the hair is never right. We had problems earlier in my marriage, and when either one of us got out of line, the other shut the door and said, "I'll talk to you when you're calm." If he failed to get control of the situation, he should have sought for some help. I don't believe hitting or smacking is every appropriate for a spouse, whether it's the husband or wife.

Is this an area where churches often (or should) practice church discipline?
If it gets to a point where it's a noticeable problem, yes.

What is the difference between a man who power-shares equally with his wife, a man who is clearly in charge and is king of his domain, a man who is demanding, and a man who is tyrannical?
That's a good question...I don't believe power-sharing ever really works. It's an illusion. The fact is, someone has to have the final say, and in a power-sharing situation, it usually ends up being the wife who rules the roost.

That doesn't mean the wife isn't completely involved in what is going on. A marriage is a partnership with the husband being the president in the purest sense of the word. He presides over the house. The word "preside" came from the Latin word "to sit in front of" and it means to govern or sit in authority. In my marriage, when I'm home all day with running the household, I make the decisions about what goes on, but when the decision to be made is over-reaching my realm, I defer to my husband, and we make a shared decision. If we can't come to a decision, or he feels my decision is wrong. He makes the decision, and I fall in line. That's not power-sharing, that's a partnership. And in that sense, the husband is clearly the head of his domain.

A demanding husband tells his wife what to do and does not take into consideration her needs or desires. An example might be a husband who comes home at 10:00 p.m. a demands the wife cook him a full meal even though she has been working hard all day and is exhausted and practically falling asleep at her work. Another example would be demanding that the house be in perfect order, even though the wife was sick in bed with the flu all day.

A tyrant is "a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly" (dictionary definition). A tyrant doesn't govern, he rules. This is the extreme of a demanding husband. In both cases, the husband is not thinking of his wife, he is thinking about himself and his needs.


Have you seen examples of an in-submissive wife or a tyrannical husband, and what does this look like in real life?
It's everywhere. If you look hard enough, you'll find at least traces of it in your own marriage. I know I sometimes struggle with submission, just as my husband struggles with control. But when the wife is ruling the roost, the husband doesn't make any of the decision, and the wife is disrespectful and belittles him. It's the same for a tyrannical husband. In both cases, the language often becomes abusive before it becomes violent.

Heidi, I just saw your post. You've said some of what I've been thinking.
Thanks. I agree with your wise answers.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We discuss the offices and issues on the ballot before we go to vote. My bride usually is more concerned about why I am voting for a candidate/public issue because she knows that I don't toe a party line. We are almost always unified in our vote before we leave. Why bother going if one vote is going to cancel the other? It's a waste of fuel money. Only one time we cross voted, to my memory, in a school board election. We picked candidates on the same side of an issue, but 4 were running and only 3 slots were open. We didn't vote against each other, we just goofed in communicating which 3 of the 4 would be most effective. There were a total of 9 running in that election.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
In other words, you are to lead her only when she agrees to follow? And if she doesn't, its your fault?
What I am saying is that we as men need to check ourselves first. This is the first example we show our wives. Should we not lead by example?
You can't make your wife do things in good conscience. All we have are the means we are given by God.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
In other words, you are to lead her only when she agrees to follow? And if she doesn't, its your fault?
What I am saying is that we as men need to check ourselves first. This is the first example we show our wives. Should we not lead by example?
You can't make your wife do things in good conscience. All we have are the means we are given by God.
The example of Lot's wife was given above. It appears that she followed a command, even if her heart was not in it and she looked back. Sarah also called Abraham Lord, which is a synonym for "master" right?

It appears alright for a husband to occasionally make an executive decision, and that without discussing every single point with his wife for approval, especially if safety is at risk, or time is of the essence. If a wife requires an excuse every time she submits, or requires the husband meet some gold standard of leading by example prior to her submission, this doesn't seem much of a submission to me. Giving a command does not mean that we do not also lead by example.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
It appears alright for a husband to occasionally make an executive decision, and that without discussing every single point with his wife for approval, especially if safety is at risk, or time is of the essence.
But this is not the same as voting.

---------- Post added at 10:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:58 AM ----------

Sarah also called Abraham Lord, which is a synonym for "master" right?
She had a high view of her husband.

---------- Post added at 11:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:59 AM ----------

If a wife requires an excuse every time she submits, or requires the husband meet some gold standard of leading by example prior to her submission, this doesn't seem much of a submission to me.
Where did I imply that a wife needs an excuse to submit? I stated that what she needs is an example of gentile loving kindness. I would not call that an excuse, but it is a need.

also in the example of Lot's wife, Lot is relaying the word of the Lord unto his wife. We are to follow this example as well.
 
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a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
the language often becomes abusive before it becomes violent.
This (along with other things in Joy's response) is an excellent point, and is something to be aware of, in ourselves as well as others. Little slips in self control and anger and disregard of a loved one lead to bigger ones. We should always repent of such as soon as we realise we have fallen into such a behaviour, and if necessary, seek some accountability in the situation. I was told by a lady that any woman could 'drive' any man to hit her. While I don't believe that is universally true, nor do I think all the blame for such should attach to the woman, I think it is largely true that we can needlessly escalate a situation of this kind with almost anyone by our response; and I think when someone is behaving this way, it is often not the best time (unless there is some sort of agreement in place, as what Joy mentioned, which both parties honor) to stand up to them about it, to be stubborn or uncompliant in anything needlessly, or to address points of difference, if one can wait to do so.

It may also be worth noting that Wesley got 'bullied' (not physically, but still quite effectively) out of marrying the woman he loved previously by his family: he may have had a personality that lent itself more to being bulllied. I think sometimes questions of submission are complicated by the fact that a woman may have such a tendency. Ultimately the Lord who makes our personalities rules in all these details to His own ends and glory, and it is quite probable that no one ever makes it out of conflict with a spouse without something to regret (and it is better for it be this sort of 'incidental' that exists almost always as the 'flip side' of our good characteristics, than the principle on which one primarily acted, I think). But pastors should be aware that it is easier for some people to submit than to make waves when they or others are being hurt, not simply because they have a gentle loving nature and a genuine selflessness in their concern for others, but because (on the flip side of that) they have a nature that is more comfortable being dominated than standing up to domination. Such is quite possibly not the usual problem of enlightened Western women, though :).
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
Pergamum;

However, if a wife were to try to vote pro-choice and her husband outright demanded that she not do so, and she disobeyed, which is worse, the wife's non-submission or the husband's command?
Why is one worse than the other? If the husband is 'demanding' and not loving his wife, isn't he in sin? And if the wife is non-submissive isn't she also in sin?
Is it a 'sin' to vote for someone who is 'pro-choice'?

It would appear that if Sarah called Abraham Lord, then a modern wife can submit to a husband's moral leadership as it pertains to the selection of the leaders of this country.
and what if a person running wasn't pro-choice, yet was a devout Muslim, and the only other candidate was pro-choice, do you refrain from voting at all?

If a wife only submits when she wants to, this is not truly submission after all, right?
Is it right, no, yet, that is how most Christians live their Christians lives...submitting to Christ only when they want to and in the areas they want to..


If a husband is truly captian of his ship and leads the family in moral decisions, and if the county is faced with many moral choices and we are at a moral crossroads, why would the husband's lead in voting by contrary to his rightful boundaries? If a husband cannot persuade his wife to forsake her error by supporting a better candidate from her heart, he can at least retrain her evil by demanding that she abstain from voting. Right? Wrong? Why?


What if the candidate is not a better choice in other ways?

Wouldn't it be better for the husband to sit and talk with his wife, to find out why she thinks the person is a 'better' choice? Listening to her in love, trying to understand her point of view?

What if in the husbands 'demands' she vote a certain way and then she rebels against him and votes for the other candidate anyway, because God is speaking to her heart to vote for the other person. Many a husband has made foolish decisions without discussing things with their wives and taking their wives thoughts and concerns into account. All in their need to have things done their way..and thus forcing their wives to submit..

Maybe before they make a final decision they should take the matter to God in Prayer so that they can get on the same page.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Bobbi:

Why is one worse than the other? If the husband is 'demanding' and not loving his wife, isn't he in sin?
I think it is possible to demand something in love. Being demanding does not equal being unloving. Therefore, the husband's demand may not be sin (and probably is not if he is trying to restrain the ignorance of his wife). He is merely exercising his rightful authority.

It is also possible to be unsubmissive and not be in sin as well, but I am not sure merely a vote is a good enough excuse unless a clear moral principle is at stake.



Wouldn't it be better for the husband to sit and talk with his wife, to find out why she thinks the person is a 'better' choice? Listening to her in love, trying to understand her point of view?
This might generally be the wiser and more harmonious choice in the long run, but if the husband has the authority (and perhaps lacks the time), then this is an option and not a requirement. He may order his house as he sees fit, with or without consultation on the part of the wife.

I am assuming that both parties are already praying. Holding a council or a family meeting and checking to ensure a unanimous decision between husband and wife, however, is not a requirement before the husband acts as the leader of his home. He does not sin if he decides not to consult his wife.

Agree or disagree?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
p.s. I am signing off for awhile and will check back tomorrow. Know that I am arguing one side of the argument trying to fully understand the whole issue from all perspectives. I have only demanded a full meal at 10pm at night a few times in my life ;0
 
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