A Woman’s Power in Marriage

Posted on September 5, 2012 by


We took a marriage class last winter by a man I have known and respected for 25 years – Rev. Harold Weaver.  He spoke a lot about authority during our semester: God-given authority, spiritual authority and the needs of those leaders who are in authority over us.  And I HOPE that one day I have the chance to take his class on spiritual authority.  But one thing he talked about that fascinated me was the two types of authority in marriage.

The husband has “positional authority” – God has given him spiritual authority over the marriage and family.  This is similar to the positional authority of a king, president, manager or CEO.

And the wife has “influential authority.”  The type of influence a wife has at her command in marriage is the same type of influence that a Vice President  (or cabinet member) would have over a President, that an assistant manager would have with a manager or that an advisor would have to a king.  Rev. Weaver pointed out several times that influential authority is often MORE powerful than positional authority.

MISUNDERSTANDINGS ARE RAMPANT

It is SO important for us to understand – the wife is not left without any authority or power in the relationship.  I have had some women commenting to me saying that biblical submission is slavery.  Not at all!!!!  That is an incredibly twisted and warped view of the biblical concept of marriage.  I am sure there must be some people somewhere who try to turn submission into some awful nightmare like that – and it makes me VERY sad that anyone would ever think such things.  There is NO WAY I WOULD LIVE LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!

The biblical model is not a master/slave relationship in any way – FAR, FAR from it!  And it is not a parent/child relationship, or an owner/pet relationship.  This is not a king married to a servant girl.  It is a king married to a queen.  The queen has a lot of power in her own right, too!  I don’t want there to be confusion about this!

Satan would love nothing more than to get us to swing to one side or the other extreme to the left or right of God’s design for us.  So instead of loving, Christ-like, servant-hearted husbands – he wants to create angry, abusive tyrants or passive-unplugged men who give up all their influence and authority in their homes – leaving their families unprotected and at risk.  And Satan would also like to create extremes out of wives, too – a doormat/slave who gives up all of her powerful feminine influential authority and allows her husband to be a selfish tyrant or a domineering, disrespectful, controlling shrew who tries to control her husband and everyone around her.  All of these extremes are ungodly, worldly, sinful and EVIL!

Wives have authority over their children, over the home, over their own work lives (although their husbands may decide about how much or little the wife works outside the home), over her friendships, over her body, health, lifestyle, priorities, hobbies, etc… usually with very little interference from her husband.  He only steps in if he believes things are unbalanced or she is heading down a potentially dangerous path.

HOW INFLUENTIAL AUTHORITY WORKS

When there is a decision to be made – it is the wife’s obligation, in my view, to share her perception, feelings and desires with her husband (unless she doesn’t care about the outcome of this particular decision).  When her husband has full confidence in his wife’s respect, faith, trust and admiration:

  • HE WANTS TO SAY YES TO HER.
  • HE WANTS TO MAKE HER HAPPY.
  • HE CARES ABOUT HER FEELINGS!
  • He knows he is responsible to God for his decision, so he wants to make the very best choices.

(And please understand – the converse is also true.  When a husband only experiences disrespect, contempt, judgment, criticism, negativity, manipulation or attempts at control from his wife, then he will not want to cooperate with her no matter what it is she wants.  He will not care about making her happy because he is feeling so defeated and dejected.  And he won’t care much about her feelings because she has trampled his.)

When a man feels respected and honored, he is hard-wired by God to want to serve the one who respects him.

So a respected husband will be very interested in hearing his wife’s opinion.  He knows that he doesn’t have the whole picture by himself.  He looks to her unique perspective to round out the information he has to process a decision.  And usually, he will agree with what she desires and cooperate with what she wants to do.

In the event that the husband believes his wife is NOT making a wise decision – if she is endangering herself or the family, or over-committing her resources, or seeking to make a rash decision based more on emotions than logic, or he believes something isn’t right – then he will use his positional authority to protect her, the marriage and the family.

Husbands tend to veto ideas that, in their view, will cost their family, wife or marriage too much.  Most husbands don’t micromanage every little decision.  But they will often step in when there is a serious issue going on:

  • another family member in the extended family is trying to have too much control over his wife/marriage/family
  • serious behavior issues with the children
  • major budget problems
  • misplaced priorities in the family
  • if the wife is giving so much of herself to others that she has nothing left for him – he will probably ask her to cut out certain activities – as well he should!  The marriage is more important than serving or ministering to outsiders.
  • if he sees that the children are a bigger priority for his wife than he is (that is not right, and he is wise to correct this imbalance).
  • if his wife is too involved in her parents’/siblings lives
  • if his wife is sinning against God

Husbands who feel respected tend to say “yes” to most things – I would even say 90-95% of things.  They love to see their wives happy.  Men measure their success as a man/husband/father largely by the degree of happiness they see in their wives.  Did you realize that your happiness is so important to him?  IT IS!

So, when a man feels respected and honored – he will try to give his wife what she wants at every opportunity because her delight is a gift to him.

But he also knows that he is accountable to God for his decisions and for the spiritual/physical/financial/emotional/mental welfare of his family.  So he will try to make the BEST decision for everyone using all the information he has available at the time.  That is why the wife must give her input – without her thoughts, feelings and ideas, her husband can’t make the best decision.  He’d be missing half of the information he needs!

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