I have serious concerns about the relationship dynamic that is being set firmly into place during engagement in our culture with the wedding planning being all about the bride, what she wants, and “her” big day. I understand why a bride is usually in charge of the wedding plans:
– her family is paying for the wedding usually
– she cares a lot more about all the details than her man does
– a wedding is her lifelong “dream come true”
IN MARRIAGE, GOD GIVES THE HUSBAND THE ROLE OF LEADER AND SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY
God’s design for marriage is clearly for the husband to be the one who has spiritual authority and leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Cor 11:3)). God commands wives to respect their husbands and to submit to their husbands’ leadership as unto the Lord. “Submit” is a sticky word that is widely misunderstood today. But in the Bible, “submit” is a military term that means “to rank under.” It has nothing to do with a person’s value. God sees men and women as having equal value as people (Galatians 3:28). But God wants marriage to display the relationship between Christ and His church, with the husband representing Christ and the wife representing the church. These roles are not reversible! (A wife is not to submit to her husband if he is asking her to go against God’s Word.)
HOW DOES A BRIDE TRANSITION FROM BEING IN CHARGE TO EMPOWERING HER HUSBAND’S LEADERSHIP?
When a woman spends a 6 months or a year or more before marriage being the one “in charge” of the wedding planning – I am concerned that it is extremely easy for her to slip into the posture of being “in charge” of the entire relationship, or in charge of the marriage or in charge of her husband. And it is very easy for a man to take a passive, uninvolved role and just let her handle things. It then becomes natural for a bride to just continue on after the wedding telling her husband what to do and how things are going to be. This inverted dynamic of authority and masculinity/femininity will inevitably produce an incredible strain on a marriage.
MEN NEED RESPECT MORE THAN LOVE IN MARRIAGE!
Men MUST have respect. Respect is the greatest need of our husbands. Most women today have no concept of the male realm of respect and don’t speak it well at all. When a woman takes control, is bossy, argumentative, demanding, controlling, nagging, critical, negative, scolding, demeaning, contentious, condescending and disrespectful – a man will NOT want to have anything to do with her. He will either react in anger or he will completely unplug from the marriage and just let her have her way by herself.
EMPOWERING A HUSBAND’S NEW LEADERSHIP
Men are designed by God to be the leaders in marriage. If a wife takes over, it will stunt the husband’s ability and drive to lead. The wife will often feel she “has” to lead and that if she didn’t, he would do nothing. But if she is patient, and she admires and respects the good things in him, and she WAITS long enough, he will take up the helm and begin learning to lead himself (unless there is abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, severe mental health situations, infidelity – please get godly, wise counsel if you are in a situation like this!)
A previously dominant woman must be VERY PATIENT. And she must stop all the negative remarks, sarcasm, telling him what to do, acting like he isn’t smart enough to figure things out, belittling him, and making fun of him. If she will begin to verbally praise and admire all the things she genuinely admires, and she allows him to lead and has a cooperative and willing spirit, a formerly passive man CAN learn to lead effectively, and the wife will have so much weight off of her shoulders and be able to have real peace from God! Both husband and wife are most fulfilled when they each obey God’s commands and principles for marriage.
GOD’S DESIGN IS NOT PC, BUT IT WORKS!
Biblical submission and respect for husbands is not at all politically correct or popular in Western culture today. It goes against many of the messages of feminism that say women should be independent, be in charge, handle everything themselves, and not cooperate with a husband’s leadership or obey God.
But God designed men and women, and God designed marriage. His way WORKS! Our ways do not!!!
You can go for many years trying your own way and see just how much pain, loneliness, suffering, grief, anger, fear, resentment, and anxiety you can create for yourself and your husband (like I did!!! – and I regret it!), or you can start out doing things God’s way and have peace, joy, and the most fulfilling, godly, amazing marriage! When you obey God, your husband will be most able to cherish, adore, protect, and love you. You’ll have your needs met best when you meet your husband’s needs so that he feels respected, admired, and empowered to be the leader that God desires him to be.
Keep in mind, there is no romance FOR YOU unless the guy is in charge of the relationship! If you are in charge, you won’t be able to be surprised, delighted, protected, cared-for and cherished. And if you are in charge, you will miss out on intimacy and romance. Like Laura Doyle says in “The Surrendered Wife” – you can either have control or you can have intimacy. They are opposites! He might not do everything you want if he’s in charge, but when you reward him with your delight when he does surprise you, you’ll be amazed at the lengths your guy will go to in order to make you happy!
So, as you plan your wedding –
- be sure to include your husband-to-be’s preferences and ideas.
- Be respectful of his desires and thoughts.
- Speak to him in pleasant, gentle ways.
- Smile at him a lot! Be wonderful to be around!
- Realize that he has great ideas, too.
- develop a willingness to say “yes” to what he wants to do. It is not all about you.
- do as much research as you can about God’s design for marriage BEFORE you get married and as a newly wed so that you can lay a firm foundation on which to build a lifetime of romance and adventure!