What is the godly way for a husband to treat his wife? Should he take authority over her and make decisions for her by going against her will?
We know that Jesus is called the bridegroom of the church so we can learn from the way that Jesus acted towards his bride while he was here on earth. Let’s have a close look at the topic of decision making. Just before Jesus was to die, Jesus was with his disciples and he knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was going back to God.
John 13:4 (NET) he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.
John 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.
John 13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.”
John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
John 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!”
13:10Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean…”
Notice in this passage that not only did Jesus take the position of a servant, but he did not force himself on the disciples to make their decision for them. Peter balked at having his feet washed and Jesus did not take authority over Peter. Instead, Jesus explained to him that it was necessary to allow Jesus to do this act of service in order to have a share with him. It was then that Peter made the decision to allow Jesus to do his work and to serve him.
So how does this illustrate how the bridegroom should treat his bride? It shows that although Jesus could have taken authority over the disciples, he did not do that. He allowed them to submit to his service. For the disciples submission was allowing the bridegroom to serve the bride and to give himself for his own body. There was no forced submission and the servant-hood of Jesus was not for the benefit of the groom, but for the benefit of the bride.
Why is this an example of God’s way? It is because if the bridegroom takes authority over his bride he violates her personhood. The submission that Jesus gave to the Father while he was here on the earth was an act of power not of weakness. It was an act of his own will not an act of one who had taken authority over him. Submission can be a godly example of power under control and it is the means to allow another person to serve you. Jesus does not violate our will but he woos us so that we will submit to his tender service. Taking authority over a person is forced submission and it is never advocated in the scriptures.
Any thoughts about why the husband is never granted the right to take authority over his wife?