Certain churches express concern about men who are passive or not as involved with their families as they should be. No one wants a passive, non-involved, detached spouse – whatever the issue may be – finances, spirituality, etc. This is a legitimate concern. However, I have problems with the odd way that certain churches address it. Their solution is to emphasize men becoming the leaders of their home.
But the alternative to passivity is not leadership. The solution is to become more involved and participatory. What we want is a partner. If one spouse is detached in a certain area, they should become more involved but not necessarily the leader.
I am tired of being told that women want their husbands to lead them. Really? I don’t. I want a partner. I’m really thankful I have one. My husband has never felt the need to lead me, but rather walks side-by-side with me through life.
In addition, I’ve observed churches say the husband is to lead in everything. Everything? I’ll describe a video I had to watch at a local church.
The gist of it was the wife (with a financial degree) unilaterally did the family finances, and the husband was totally detached. I agree this is a problem, as neither spouse should be completely detached from such an important issue as family finances. However, the video quickly offered the solution that the husband needed to take charge and be the leader with family finances. Really? You have a wife with a financial degree, but the husband needs to take over in this area? Certainly the husband needed to become more involved, but shouldn’t the wife’s expertise make her ideal for handling the family finances?
I have another post entitled: Two heads are better than one. (Who’s in charge in the marriage relationship?) – I interact with the Bible, but close with this:
In our marriage our view is that: “two heads are better than one.” (I didn’t come up with that phrase but recently read it somewhere.)
We make decisions mutually and together. If we disagree on something (not often), one of us is typically willing to concede and let the one with more wisdom/experience regarding the issue decide. Sometimes I am more knowledgeable on a particular issue, other times it is my husband. So sometimes I submit to him, and other times he submits to me. But most of the time we are on the same page.
Who’s in charge in the marriage relationship?
Neither of us is in charge of the other, but we attempt to walk hand-in-hand or side-by-side. We don’t want to model our marriage relationship on fallen humanity, but on the redemption of all things that comes through Jesus.
Adding this note later (July 2016) for my future reference. A Priscilla Papers issue (Fall 2012) gave me this thought. Complementarian and egalitarian views of marriage are generally considered opposing views, but they are not opposites! The opposite of a complementarian marriage (male leads/woman submits) would be female leads/male submits. And female leads/male submits is definitely not an egalitarian view of marriage. On a line diagram, comp would be over to the left, egal would be in the center, and female lead/male submit on the right. An egalitarian view does not see interchangeability between man and woman in the marriage, but flexibility. Depending on things such as life circumstances and individual gifting, roles in a marriage may flex or change.