Several bible-believing Christians often quote me this verse from the bible: “A woman will leave her family and join onto her husband’s family.” There are several problems with this. First, and most importantly, that is NOT how the verse even goes. The actual verse comes from Genesis 2:24, and is repeated by Jesus himself when responding to questions of divorce (Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7), and it says, “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
But somewhere, sometime, someone twisted this very crucial piece of scripture, and now several men and women misquote it, and hold to an inaccurate belief that the woman’s identity be absorbed into her husband and husband’s family. The loss of identity is another issue, because this often leads a woman to measure her worth based upon her “performance” (i.e: her obedience); is she doing well, is she not doing well? Is her husband satisfied or dissatisfied? What does his family think of her? One’s own happiness becomes dependent upon another’s. We have a word for this: it’s called slavery.
So women out there, just sit there and keep your pretty mouths shut because men take charge. Women, do what you’re told, when you’re told.
It’s a horrible wrong, to twist scripture and use it for one’s own benefit. It’s like signing God’s name to checks he never meant to sign.
So what did God say?
Men and women are equal.
There is equality among men and women. Eve was taken from Adam’s rib (literal translation is “side”). She wasn’t taken from his toe, that he should dominate her, and she wasn’t taken from his head, that she would rule over him. God makes it clear; side by side as equals in worth and status.
There is unequal responsibility.
There is unequal responsibility. While God does not give sole responsibility to men, he does give them primary responsibility. First, God creates Adam before Eve. Second, God only gives the commands to Adam. Third, when they sinned, God only calls Adam forward to answer for the crime. Therefore, God gives men headship over the family, and I believe men will be judged stricter for how they lead their marriage and household.
Love like Jesus.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” Ephesians 5:25. I believe more than 75% of marital problems would cease if men could truly love their wives like Christ loves his church. But this is the hardest thing to do. Because, as I am continuing to learn, loving like Christ means being loved like Christ. How many of His gifts go unnoticed? How many times do we forget to tell him ‘thank you’? When do we give thought to His happiness? And yet he continues to love anyway. Men, that’s what we need to strive for. To put her first. To serve her even when we don’t “feel like it.”
But I Always Give
“But I always give and she never gives back. What about me!? When do I get to be happy?” You’re either asking that, or afraid you will one day.
How do we respond to that? How do we serve when we’re afraid of being taken advantage of?
How Did Jesus Do It?
Jesus demonstrates what it means to be a true leader, by washing His disciples feet. God in the flesh, down on both knees, washing dirty, filthy feet. Feet from guys who are only hours away from abandoning him to crucifixion. How did he go throw with it? Because HE KNEW what the Father had given him, where he came from, and where he was going.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” –John 13:3-5 (ESV)
Keep Your Love Tank Full
Men, you must ground yourselves in knowledge. The knowledge that you are already supremely loved by the Father. If you let her inconsistent love be your fuel, then you’ll find your tank going empty at unexpected times. Instead, let the consistent, abundant love of Christ be the source that fuels your service to her. We then have full tanks to love her like Christ would himself love her. And she’ll love you for it.
Headship = Servant Leadership
The headship given to men is not to be abused, nor used to exploit the woman under our care. Jesus says clearly that true leadership is being a humble servant. Matt. 23:11. Jesus walks what he talks; read Philippians 2. Jesus is not followed because of his position. Jesus is followed because of who He is. Can you imagine the difference between your wife following you because of obligation versus out of desire? Wouldn’t you rather have a cheerleader than an employee?
A Woman’s Strength
Finally ladies, love your man. God calls him to lead, and there’s a lot of pressure. He needs encouragement, support, and respect. Society would have us believe that men are the strong ones. And so we appear. But truthfully, men are strong usually because there’s a strong woman backing him up. The real strength comes from you. Your words have the power to build him up, or tear him down. Your touch has the power to comfort his pain or amplify it. And your service, however unnoticed, is the gift of grace God is giving through you to get to him.
While some may lead you to believe that “men take charge and women do what they’re told”, I challenge you to act and lead differently. Men, you are to sacrificially serve your wife as Christ does for the church. Ladies, you are to pass along God’s grace and love onto your husband through your support and encouragement.
James William Davis, who normally goes by “Jimmy”, is Frances’ lover, boyfriend, partner in crime, her king booboo, future husband, and her future baby daddy. In addition to all the roles he plays in her life, Jimmy is a youth pastor at Jericho Road Church and a seminary student at Talbot School of Theology. He has a big heart of service, is devoted to his youth kids, and most importantly, Jimmy loves God. This love and devotion is what propels him to serve others the way Jesus does. You can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @JimmyDavis5