Job Assignments

When my husband was in the military, he got a good understanding of authority. His commanding officers were to be saluted and yes-sir-ed , not because they were better at chess or got higher SAT scores, but because they were wearing the uniform with all the stars on the shoulders. They bore the responsibility and assumed authority. And if the man wearing the uniform was a very bad man, my husband would salute the uniform for what it stood for, not the man wearing it.

When God gives husbands the authority in a marriage, He also gives them the responsibility that goes with it. Wives are to submit to their husbands and treat them with respect out of reverence to God, not because husbands have higher IQ’s or bigger wing spans.

In a similar way, when God says the husband is the head of the wife, this is not because a head is better than a body and the husband gets the better job because God just likes the men more than He likes the women. Look at your body. Where would it be without the head? Where would the head be without the body? One completes the other. Now the body needs to get direction from the head. It’s a creation design, it’s not a power trip. When the body launches out on its own, without the head, we have spastic motion. This is because the links between the brain and the body are damaged or diseased, so the resulting motion is jerky and abrupt. When a wife refuses to be submissive to her husband, the link between head and body are disabled and the marriage is handicapped.

A woman should respect a man before she marries him because she wants to feel completely confident that he will lead the marriage with wisdom and humility, relying on the Lord. She can respect him for his spiritual strength and character, even if she can beat him at tennis or scrabble. But at the same time, if she feels she would be the better leader of the two, for whatever reason, then she ought to think twice before marrying him. The jobs are not up for grabs. God has already assigned them.

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22 thoughts on “Job Assignments

  1. I have known this and firmly believed it for my whole marriage, but never really struggled with a situation that I just didn’t want to submit to a decision my husband has made until right now, actually. Thank you for this timely reminder. The decision that he’s making right now is difficult for me, but it is not wrong or sinful in any way, and therefore I need to submit. I was convicted by this thought last night as we were talking, but shoved it away. God has used you to convict me again this morning. Thanks so much.

  2. A friend pointed out to me that husbands can be respectable at the onset of marriage and turn away or take dishonorable action towards his family. How can I tell her to keep respecting a person who is not respectable anymore? I know that this is why God commands it of the wives, it can be hard…it also seems that when a husband loses his wife’s respect his loses her in a way.
    How do we address this to the many hurting ladies with in our lives, even those with in the church?
    It is easy to respect my husband, he makes it easy by being a godly husband and father. But it seems as though not many wives have that luxury.

  3. ‘When the body launches out on its own, without the head, we have spastic motion.’

    (smiles) Too, too true. I will remember that phrasing of it.

  4. Monica, to reiterate another lesson from the Wilsons that the ladies in our church were discussing recently: When we usually agree with our husbands, it’s easy to think we’re really good at submitting. When we disagree is when it’s hard. But agreement isn’t submission, it’s just agreement. In my own life, I occasionally have the opportunity submit, and it is hard. Usually we just agree and it’s very easy–and I get to thinking, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this submission stuff!” But I’m just fooling myself, because when I really and truely have to submit, I’m not all that good at it!

  5. Thank you for such a helpful clarification. This subject is hard, at least for me. These words are so emotionally loaded, and for those of us raised in feminism it takes awhile to get used to. I need all the reminding I can get that this design is not based on the merit of men or the weakness of women. But if not merit, then what?
    There really are no perfect analogies. The military one helps, but the private still has the opportunity to become sergeant eventually, if he works hard, is smart, etc. His submission is based on inexperience; the rank is not arbitrary. Yes, there are men who don’t deserve their rank, but they are the exception. It is overall a merit-based system.
    It’s so hard to think of myself as being “created to be lead” without that meaning “created to need leading because she can’t think for herself.” I’m learning and growing in this, and my husband has been fantastic. It just is taking time, and I’m not there yet. I agree with all of this, and I really can’t find another way to interpret the Scripture (I’ve tried!), but I’m still feeling it as unfair. What to do then? Obey anyway? I just tell God that I love Him and trust Him, but this seems really unfair and I don’t like it, but I’ll try to do it anyway, and please give me more faith and grace. Is this the best way to handle it?
    Thanks for all your help. Your wise writings help me see the beauty in some very hard truths.

  6. Agreed Billie! I’m ok with the little stuff, but when there’s something I really, really don’t want to do I’m a bit sulky. I’ll do it cause it’s my husband (and he’s usually right to boot -I’m not talking about hairbrained ideas), and I love him, but it’s not always exactly joyous submission. Although that is how I learned how to cook oddly enough,

  7. Coming to an understanding of the divine authorities in my life and willingly placing myself under them has truly been by far one of the greatest blessings from God in my life! We find many great blessings when living in submission to God-ordained authority. Security and protection are just a couple of those blessings. And although I have lost sight of this at times, I do praise the Lord so much for the headship of my husband, the leadership of my pastors, as well as the civil magistrates in my city, state and country. I praise the Lord that each particular sphere has a place and a part and are there for those who may need to appeal in certain situations. As I have come to understand the responsibility they have before God to lead according to His Word, I have come to the conclusion that I think I have the easier part! Although submission never seems easy, I think it pales in comparison to having the weight of responsibility that comes to those in leadership and authority. This has led me to a second conclusion – our husbands, pastors, and those in civil authority need lots of good ol’ fashion knee bending and earnest prayer! I often find that wives who are unwilling to submit to their husband because they believe they are poor at leading are usually not willing to pray for them either.

  8. A great reminder that God assigned these roles-something that many of us women growing up in these feminist times sometimes have a struggle remembering!

  9. Brandi, a word of encouragement: I too, grew up in a very feminist household. To top that off, my friends in school and teachers, etc, viewed the world that same way. (One of my best friends even had NBAHW, which stood for “Not Be A House Wife” scrawled over every binder and book cover! Apparently it was her incentive to do well in school, which spoke volumes of her opinion of a house-wife’s intellectual ability!) Amusingly (now) my feminist-inspired enlistment in the Marine Corps taught me some of these same things about submission and authority! (and rank, many times is more arbitrary than you’d think. Just because a fellow can run fast and complete some extra education doesn’t make him a good leader, but it does improve his cutting score for promotion) Anyway, when my then-boyfriend-now-husband presented me with some of Nancy’s audio series, I listened to them with nothing short of boiling blood! How radically different it all was! And after searching the Scriptures, finding out how wrong I was all along, I think I was still more angry and opposed to this way of thinking! But the Holy Spirit works wonderful miracles! Now, 9 years later, I listen to those same tapes and can’t figure out what angered me so vehemently! It’s only God’s grace that has brought me to this place. (And surely, His gentleness that He gave me a husband that I usually agree with!) We can all pray with you as you work this out with fear and trembling, and I trust the Holy Spirit to give you not only a peace, but a joy about this. Reading everything you can of Nancy’s, of course, will help too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Ooh, (wincing) I didn’t mean to make that sound like I have “arrived” or anything–just that it gets easier and actually more wonderful!

  11. Thanks, Billie. That was very helpful. If this does get easier for me, it will be only by the mercy of God and the work of the Spirit. He has used the Wilsons enormously, which is why I sit on this blog like a stalker. Like a crash course in a foreign language, I need to be immersed in good teaching about femininity.
    I don’t have Chronicles of Narnia in front of me right now, but I’m thinking of the passage where the little boy (Eustace, I think?) is pierced by the lion and has his rough skin pulled off. That’s how I feel every time I study this. It’s hard and it hurts, but I’m a little close to health each time. Thank God for His patience with me.

  12. For Brandi,

    Now I’m not saying I have are no demented moments where it seems the most desirable thing to grab the reins and run; but (as Diane said) I usually don’t find myself thinking of the masculine job as being overall the most desirable one. And I suspect that most women who say they think so, don’t actually. It’s not so much a question of which job is harder or easier–it’s just that here we girls are, gifted by nature to support, cheer, encourage, feed, teach, nurture, and beautify; would you really and truly want to have to hunt and gather? to find, pursue and secure a wife? to accept the responsibility for educating and protecting an entire family, and then take the rap if you fail?


  13. Brandi, I “stalk” this site, too! Every chance I get! That passage (it was Eustace) was so good, when my husband read it to our family, he stopped for a whole minute just to soak it in and then afterward said, “Oh! That was good!” before reading again!

    Claire, when you’ve been brought up with a femenist mindset (which really serves to make women less feminine and more masculine, ironically) that’s exactly what you want. Learning those wonderful truths is refreshing and a blessing, once you can accept them with out anger or hurt, but that certainly didn’t come immediately for me. It was a long, painful, lesson years before it became a beautiful thing to embrace. I could tell that tale, but this isn’t my blog, and I talk too much as it is! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Billie, I agree with your response to me. I hadn’t realized this before, because, as you said, usually I agree with my husband. Thanks for reminding me that agreement does no necessarily equal submission. Through this post and confession to both God and my husband yesterday, my heart is much quieter on this subject today. Thanks again!

  15. Brandi said: “There really are no perfect analogies. The military one helps, but the private still has the opportunity to become sergeant eventually, if he works hard, is smart, etc.”

    I think it is hard in our society for a Christian woman to totally reject the world’s philosophy that leadership/submission as positions in the abstract are merit based because everywhere we turn we see that being entrusted with leadership does in fact have a lot to do with at least perceived merit. The only adequate analogy I know of is the submission of God the Son to the Father. He has shown that the place of submission has nothing to do with substance, and ennobled it with His Deity forever. There is no way God can be superior to God. It was not an arrangement of merit. It was an arrangement of willing love in the Godhead, to accomplish the Divine will. So we are accomplishing in our creative order the Divine will. I think it’s more like a dance than a job. Is leading ‘superior’? How could it be said to be so — it’s one kind of movement, juxtaposed against an equally significant and necessary movement from someone else. Both together make beauty and order.

  16. Thanks again, Billie. You do understand!

    It’s not exactly that I think the men get the plum role. It’s mostly that I don’t like being thought incapable of, well…much of anything. I am a physician. (Housewife by trade…long story). So, yes, I can hunt and gather, and educate. I was pretty good at it, back in the day. I don’t know about protection: I’m not much of a fighter (Billie, though….I wouldn’t mess with a Marine!) but I can write a check to the security system guy. I don’t even find it comforting to know that my husband would have to take the rap for my mistakes. That makes me feel like a child.

    I’m not defending this; I believe it is sinful pride. I am trying to overcome it; that’s why i’m on this blog and thinking and praying about these issues. I look forward to a day when I can see the fences as protective, not restrictive.

  17. Monica, You’re most welcome! Your words were so familiar to my lips, so I thought you could use the same reminder I need when that’s going on!

    Kamelda, what a beautiful picture! It’s like a pas de deux! I LOVE dance analogies! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Brandi, we must have been writing at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is all very humbling. But since I also grew up believing in Darwinian evolution (another interesting facet of my upbringing!) I’ve had quite a bit of experience in this “humbled by God” department! (and continue to experience it regularly…)

  19. One thing I left out:
    None of my resistance is based on a rejection of the work with which I am currently privileged. I love being at home with my children, I enjoy keeping and improving my home, providing a restful environment and meals to be savored. I find it easy to honor my husband. I made the choice to leave my career for home, and I make it again every day. I would not trade one day with these babies for what I had at work.
    I guess I’m a bit like my 15 month old, who is obsessed with the kitchen cabinets that are off-limits. Or my three year old, who just wants to know why. It’s nice to hear that it does get easier. Thanks, everyone, for all the encouragement.

  20. Brandi, your words, “I look forward to a day when I can see the fences as protective, not restrictive” tugged at my heart. I well remember those same feelings and I well remember one of the things the Lord used to help me see those fences as protective. Granted, the Lord is indeed a personal God and He uses circumstances in one life that He may not use in the same manner in another’s life. I have shared what I would like to share with you now with others who have also wrestled with the issue of submission – wrestled in the sense of desiring it but yet still a bit leery. Of course, we must first understand that submission is something that God commands of wives. It isn’t a suggestion. Thus our obedience from the heart is what God is after. But He is so good and so kind and opens our eyes to understanding. And while we would love it if God would always explain things clearly to us, sometimes things are left mysterious and that is His prerogative too. When He does grant understanding we must realize that something is deeper here – He is not just after our obedience for the sake of obedience. His lovingkindness is being made known to us. He loves us and He is demonstrating this great love by teaching us how we can live a blessed life in a fallen world. What He can redeem and use for His glory is simply another story of His ongoing amazing grace.

    I grew up with a mother who had epilepsy. It was an intense disease and her seizure activity seemed unmanagable though many treatments were tried again and again. Naturally, you can imagine that any child would be frightened when seeing a seizure from their mother. It created a lot of difficulty in our home. It created a lot of tension between my folks. My mother wasn’t allowed to do many things that are on the normal “to do list” for busy wives and mothers. She wasn’t to cook, iron, or drive and she had to wear a helmit on her head when she walked around. But oh, how she just wanted to be a normal wife and mother. It was what she was created to do. But since her safety was of great concern to my dad and her physician she wasn’t to do certain things and she definitely was to wear her helmit. Yes, my dear mother struggled in the area of submission too, especially when it came to wearing her helmit. When dad would catch her not wearing it, well, it got a little loud in the house. I remember the day he told her that if she wouldn’t wear her helmit she would end up in a situation she wouldn’t want to be in. His exact words being, “you’ll end up in a coma in some nursing home.”

    Shortly there after, my mother fell during a seizure. She wasn’t wearing her helmit and suffered great intercranial hemorrhaging. After three years of being in a coma, she finally passed away in a nursing home bed. I share her poignant story, because it is now my glory. I came to understand that there is blessing, protection and life in submission. I share her story not to dishonor her, but because I believe this is what she would want me to do. How often do we mess up and God in His mercy redeems our messes and then condescends to still use us? I often wonder if my mom would’ve heeded my dad’s wishes, if she would still be here – to tell her own story, with a much different ending! I was 16 years old when she died. I was the fourth of five children she birthed. And we all miss her dearly.

    We never truly do know what consequences may befall us when we go our own way. And this story isn’t meant to breed fear. But one thing is certain, the fences God places around our lives exist for our good. With every stake God pounds in the ground He is sending a very loud message – “I love you and thus I cannot but desire to bestow blessings untold upon you.” Perfect love does indeed cast out fear. Brandi, you are loved by Him and I am praying that you begin to revel in the joy of being fenced in.

  21. Thank you, Diane, for sharing your story. I thank God for His patience in chipping away at my obstinance. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. May God bless you.

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