The Husband as the “Source”
In my reaction to the way some people interpret the words “headship” and “submission,” some time ago I was drawn to I Corinthians 11:3, which says, “The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” As I dwelt on what Paul said, my first thought was that this verse is not about hierarchy, for God and Christ are part of the trinity and as such are equal. I wrestled with what word I could use for “head” without changing the meaning.
I was watching a documentary on TV of how explorers were charting the “headwaters” of the Amazon river. So I played in my mind with the word, “headwaters,” and then heard them say that these many small rivers were actually the “source” of the Amazon–the rivers determined what became the Amazon. I had my word: “The source of every man is Christ, the source of woman is man, and the source of Christ (especially here on earth) is God.”
I was pleased with my reasoning, and then I noticed in a more recent version of the New Living Translation that there is an asterisk at the end of the I Corinthians verse. So I looked at the bottom of the page and there was an alternate reading. It said, “The source of every man is Christ, the source of woman is man, and the source of Christ is God.” To be honest, I still was pleased that I had had to work it out, for it had more meaning to me.
What does it mean to me? First, that my source–who I draw from and what guides me–is Christ. In the same way, who is the source, the guiding inspiration for a woman? It is her husband. He is her source, and he sets the pace for the marriage. Whatever is going on in the marriage, the husband is charting the course–he is responsible.
If a marriage is struggling to stay alive, it is the husband who is responsible. If the wife acts like the dictator, it is the husband who set it up that way–he has allowed it. Of course the wife is complicit in whatever the arrangement, but “the buck stops with the husband.” The good news in that is that he is meant to be the initiator in the marriage. So change begins not with the wife, but with the husband. If he lovingly initiates a new course to follow, the wife as a responder will feel secure and enter into the process.
Question: What does seeing the husband as the “source” mean to you?