The Pressure of Headship

I overheard two Christian women talking about their husbands. They were discussing how inadequate their men feel they are as the heads of the households. I’ve written a little on how dehumanizing subservience can be for women, but not so much on the other side of this equation.

 The two men discussed are quieter and more laid back than their wives. They are married to women who are natural leaders and planners. For someone who prefers to be in the background to be married to a woman of these skills who expects them, on account of their testicles, to not only exceed them in leadership, but to do so in a way that reflects their ideas of a supernatural perfect being, is a lot of pressure.

 Neither of these men feel they have biological fathers who were upstanding examples, even when they were present. That makes fatherhood and partnership difficult enough without the added pressure to be god’s stand-in for their family.

 I feel sorry for them. As an oldest, I know some of the pressure that comes with being given responsibility over other human beings slightly shorter than myself.   I once also led the worship band for a campus group and knew that I was the least musical and least organized person on the team.  Knowing that every other (of the three) people could do a better job did give me some performance anxiety and it was great when everyone finally found the role they were best suited for.  

A number of couples in my old church got around the gender roles of headship and submission by saying that both parties had to submit to the Holy Spirit working in the other.  This allowed the men to save face when their wives were better at something they felt was a ‘man’s role’ like balancing the chequebook or deciding when to visit hospitals (real examples from a sermon).  I hope these couples get there too.  Until then, I hope the wives don’t get too exasperated with their husbands trying to do a god-like job of something they aren’t naturally gifted at.

2 thoughts on “The Pressure of Headship

  1. Ahab says:

    The male headship model sets itself up for so many avoidable problems. If these couples believed in egalitarian relationships, I doubt these tensions would exist.

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