Rachel Held Evans is speaking of this article: Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus.
I suppose the article would be a lot less “offensive” if it were titled: Wives, Get Him Ready for Jesus. In fact, no one would be offended at that title, including the most conservative and patriarchal of Christian men. But because the article is calling men to be leaders in their marriages it is “so patronizing”. I wonder if RHE would be equally offended at this Desiring God article: Real Men Love Strong Women.
So what does the Bible have to say on the subject?
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
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.
Are husbands and wives commanded to submit to each other? Yes. In the same way? No.
The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the Church. This is called Covenantal Headship, or Federal Headship. Adam was the federal head of the human race. Even though Eve was the first to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, sin poisoned humanity through Adam. Jesus is the federal head of the Church and the New Creation. All who belong to Him have died to Adam and have been recreated in Jesus. Jesus is also a man. That’s how covenants work — the head of the covenant is responsible for the whole.
A man is the federal head of his family. Want to see a happy and healthy family? Find one with a strong man who lovingly takes charge. He is not a tyrant. He listens to his wife. Wisdom is, after all, personified as a woman in the Bible. He submits to his wife’s and childrens’ needs. He is not selfish. He would die for his family — he does die for them a little each day when he puts his own desires aside for them. He does not make decisions democratically as no one has the final word in a 50/50 relationship, but he listens to the counsel of the whole family before deciding. I have never heard a woman complain about a man like this, but I have heard women complain of men who are too timid to be like this.
I imagine RHE would not disagree with the description of a good man I’ve given above, but if she would, then who has the final word in her marriage? If it’s her, is that okay?