Who’s The Boss? Two Views on Marriage

### People always want to know, if the man is not the head, who makes the tough decisions?

As you saw in yesterday’s post, I recently read the fantastic book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, by Mark and Grace Driscoll.

I raised the question of whether there can be two differing views on marriage. The two views are :

Complementarian. – this is taken from passages pertaining to the order of Creation (Gen. 2:21-22), curses associated with the introduction of sin (Gen. 3:16), and Ephesisan 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 which state wives must submit to husbands. This is viewed as the male being the head.

Egalitarian. – this view is rooted in a belief that male and female are created equal in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), that they are to submit one to another (Eph. 5:21), and there is an interdependency that is needed in the marriage (1 Cor. 11:11).

While holding to the headship view, Driscoll does affirm the value and equality of women. His wife serves as his “functional pastor” and he affirms that Eve was created to stand side by side with Adam (pg.37), not ahead of or behind. However, he does not allow for any other view or Biblical interpretation

My wife and I follow the egalitarian view, but have many friends and co-workers which follow male headship.

In my honest opinion, the key is not the view you hold. The way you live out your view is the most important thing.

One church has recognized this dilemma, and offered a statement on how either view should be lived out.

“(1) To those couples who follow the model of male headship: Husbands strive to avoid both self-centered control and worldly authoritarianism, and seek to exemplify the self-sacrificial servant-leadership demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ toward his bride, the church. Wives, strive to avoid both selfish independence or passive apathy in the marriage, and seek to exemplify the active, passionate submission that characterizes the church’s love for its eternal groom, Jesus Christ.

(2) To those couples who follow the egalitarian model: Strive to avoid a marriage characterized by indecision, and seek to lead and/or follow in the various areas of your marriage as God has gifted each of you. In all things, exemplify a heart-attitude of submission toward each other, after the pattern of self-sacrificial servanthood demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ toward our heavenly Father.”(taken from Woodland Hills Church website,

Mark Driscoll seems to agree on some level when he says, “theological agreement is more important than the sharing of chores in the home.” (pg. 61)

My wife and I always counsel people to make their own decisions. There is a good Biblical case for each view. Often, when you see multiple opinions on issues in the church, it is because Scripture is not as clear as it is in the essentials of our faith. At the door of heaven, we will not be asked which view of marriage, the end times, or eternal security we held.

As long as your view includes self sacrifice, serving, and love, the couple can choose which model to follow, Much in the same way there are different styles of worship, prayer, spiritual gifts and more. There are different styles of marriage.

A potential pitfall comes if the husband and wife have differing views. This is a recipe for disaster.

A recent post at by Sandra Glahn says something into this debate.

The goal of marriage is not a well negotiated power structure; it’s oneness that leads to the upbuilding of the entire body in love. The thing the apostles taught that the husbands should “be” was (Paul:) full of sacrificial love, like Christ. And (Peter:) respectful and honor-granting, lest their prayers be hindered.”

In either case, the answer to “Who’s The Boss?” is still God!

He is the head of all marriages.

All couples should make decisions together, leaning on each other’s strengths, while clinging to God for guidance and direction.


2 responses to “Who’s The Boss? Two Views on Marriage”