During lent season, I took time to fast and earnestly pray for a man. A good man. A good Christian man. I have heard that Christian men are likely to stick around. They do not easily walk out of marriages for fear of being smacked by the man upstairs. It’s comforting.
I shared my thoughts with a girlfriend of mine who confirmed to me that indeed most Christian men do stay married. However, she told me not to get very excited considering that feminism has no place in the Christian home that I seek to have. There was a Bible verse to back it up.
She needn’t have shown the verse. I have been around Christian families all my life and I have heard about submission enough times. The general idea is that women ought to live in reverence of the God-ordained heads of homes that their husbands are. Quiet, unquestioning and obedient. Society provides a constant reminder of this.
And all that is fine. Except for one thing; there aren’t many reminders about the way Christian men ought to behave. There aren’t many people out there telling men to pick a leaf from Jesus, the man they claim to love and follow.
As a result, many Christian men have often been found to be over bearing bullies. They take ‘head of house’ to mean that they are small gods and everyone should worship at their feet and serve them and seek to please them. They won’t do anything around the house. They won’t be soft. They are unrelenting patriarchs.
In the off chance that my future husband reads this, here is what I want him to know. The same portion of the good book that asks wives to be submissive demands that husbands have the likeness of Christ. And what was Jesus like?
He was a humble leader. The kind that washed dirty feet. Using his authority, he could have directed one of his disciples to do it and said disciple would have been happy to oblige. But he did it himself and in so doing, taught those around him that leadership is about servant hood.
Jesus didn’t demand respect, he earned it. He didn’t walk around saying, “I deserve respect because I am a man.” He didn’t even demand respect on the account of being the son of God. Instead, he got people to love and obey him by being soft and loving and kind.
The final act, for which Jesus is most celebrated and remembered, is sacrificial love. And this is actually what is demanded of Christian husbands. Sacrificial love. The kind that is given without expectation.
I do not know if it is because sacrificial love removes the very comfortable cushion that patriarchy provides to men. And if that is why Christian men constantly choose patriarchy over love.
But what remains true is that the same Bible that asks women to be submissive asks men to be like Jesus. Humble. Kind. Gentle. Loving. Moreover, love is a lot more likely to bring about submission than domineering oppression.