I was reading a blog recently and came across some very negative sentiment toward Quiverfull families, or what they consider the “Christian Patriarchy Movement.”
(Here is the blog I was reading.)
I have to say that it breaks my heart to think that a woman submitting to her husband is so deeply loathed. Unfortunately, some men will take it too far and use it as a tool for abuse, but that is NOT what the Bible supports. In today’s world that is so filled with pro-feminist, pro-choice, anti-family agendas, God’s plan for the family is now looked upon as a bad thing, and that breaks my heart.
Whether you like it or not, this world is filled with positions, stations and hierarchy. If you work, the odds are good that you have a boss, and he/she probably also has a boss, and so on. There is an owner of your company, but the tasks are so numerous that it would be impossible for him/her to perform all them all, and so he/she must delegate the tasks to others. It is the same for the family. Someone must be the head. Someone must be ultimately responsible for decision-making when there is not an agreement and a stalemate is not an option. That role, in the context of the family, is designated to the man. Certain roles are then delegated to the wife, and the children must submit to her and the husband. And still more tasks are delegated to the children. The husband, the wife, and all children must submit to the “big boss,” a.k.a. God. So, the hierarchy looks like this: God>Husband>Wife>Children. As children grow, they then become adults and the hierarchy shifts accordingly.
It may sound very rigid and strict, but this is God’s simple and very effective plan for a family to run in peace and harmony. Think again of a company as an example. Can you imagine how a large corporation could function if there was no hierarchy or delegation of tasks? If everyone was equally responsible for everything and accountable to no one, how could it work?
Many women struggle with this idea because they want to be in control. Many men struggle with this idea because they would rather sit back and let someone else do it all. The important thing to remember here is that God calls us to a higher standard than basic human nature. As women, we need to rise above our desires to control everything and allow our husbands to lead. Likewise, husbands need to step up to the plate and lead their families as God commands; with love, just as Christ loved the church. When I think about it, I really would not want my husband’s role. I would not want to be accountable to the Lord for our family. It’s much easier to be the wife, to support my husband, and to hit my knees and pray for him when he struggles.
The sad reality is that there will always be those who abuse power. There will be those men who take the command for wives to submit to their husbands as a license to abuse and overwork her. It’s important to remember that this is NOT biblically supported, and this is NOT in God’s perfect plan. So many will look at only the first half of the command (“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22) and not see the rest of it. Here is the whole command, in context:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33 (KJV)
It’s important to note verse 25 which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” No husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church would abuse her or mistreat her. He would cherish her, protect her, and her thoughts and opinions would matter to him. He would make decisions carefully, taking her wishes and needs into consideration. He would try his best to make decisions that are best for her and the entire family as a whole. THIS is God’s perfect plan for a family.
My thoughts go out to women who were/are not in ideal marriages like this, and who were/are married to men who refuse to see the second half of God’s command for marriage. I implore you to remember that these are not examples of God’s perfect plan.