How relevant is man as the head of household in today’s society?

Is this still in any way relevant as in “today’s world” as couples seem to for the most part just share decision making and try to be on the same page etc.
While there is unfortunately a bit of feminism in today’s society (I mean the bad anti man sort) I’m not referring to feminists but just to “average people”
If you believe man as house head is still relevant in which way does it happen on a practical day to day sense?

Listening.
Loving and treating your wife with respect.
Understanding your faith and going to church.
Doing your tasks without being asked or prodded.
Contributing to conversation in a meaningful, Christian way.
Making the decisions you should be making.

Read Gary Smalley’s “If only he knew.”
This great book was written for husbands in failing marriages but has good advice for husbands in all stages of marriage.

1 Like

I think you have a skewed view of the past if you think couples didn’t do this in the past.

What do you think “man is the head of the house” means?

3 Likes

Im not suggesting that they didn’t in the past but just that these days it’s more so than ever.
I think there are some differences from our parents generations and our generations,at least in some cultures.

No head of household in my house. We either agree or compromise.

5 Likes

Gender roles are awesome!

That is the way it was in my previous marriage and will be in my next marriage.

1 Like

I believe it is extremely relevant. As the world rejects God and his intentions for his creation, it is increasingly relevant that Christians live in accordance with God’s word in opposition to the rebellious ways of the world. I that light, it is extremely relevant that a man love his wife as Christ loved the Church, and that fathers should bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If we don’t, no one else will. That being said, just because the man is head of the house doesn’t mean he has to make all the household decisions. It means he needs to model what it means to be Christian to his wife and family, and lead them in faith and righteousness.

1 Like

We discuss, we give our points of views and reasons for such. In the end if it is something mechanical or something MAJOR for the house I usually defer to hubby because he knows more about those kind of structural, plumbing, electrical issues. If it’s something decorative he usually defers to me. But neither of us just takes the reigns when it involves both of us or the entire family.

5 Likes

Im not really 100 % sure,hence the question,but within my own upbringing it meant sometimes my mum would just ‘“stay quiet” about a matter if she saw my dad was very strong/passionate about it.
(Generally though my mum is vocal with her opinions,even sometimes a little bit bossy lol).
For example my dad once wanted to put up some stupid horseshoe over the door because he was convicted it would protect house/his business from bad luck and even though my mum probably knows it’s superstitious she let him/remained quiet on the matter.
Whereas I would probably be like no way if I was married and my husband did something like this.

With genuine love and an authentic marriage, you’ll smile, shake your head, he’ll most likely understand and move it to the back door or shed. :heart_eyes:

1 Like

It sounds more like a matter of choosing your battles rather than necessarily a matter of deferring to the head of the house. Some things in marriage just aren’t worth making a big fuss over, and she may have concluded that with the horseshoe incident. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

My husband and I have been married for 40 years, and we love each other very much.

To us, what this phrase means is that if there is a decision to be made that we disagree on, and it is an important decision; e.g., a move, having a child, a major financial investment (e.g., remodeling a room or buying a different car), a conversion to Catholicism (!)–my husband is the one who makes the final decision.

He could make the decision to allow me to make the decision! This is what happened in our conversion to Catholicism. He was ready, but I wasn’t quite ready. So he made the decision to wait for me, because he didn’t want to move somewhere and leave me behind. So essentially, I made the decision, and then as I grew more convinced that Catholicism is indeed, God’s plan for mankind, I told him I was ready.

All other decisions we make on our own, although more often then not, we consult with each other.

That’s what it means in our marriage.

3 Likes

Maybe you will let him put this horsehoes to avoid a conflict… Or suggest him that you prayed together for the success of his business and family?

There is so many opportunity of conficy between spouses that it is best to avoid to fight for details things…

1 Like

I wonder if maybe concepts like man as household head or woman “submission” etc were created in Catholic in first place because when people married in the “bible days” it wasn’t always for love so maybe the couple could have been very different personalities and this helped them not to fight a lot etc?

Or is it more just about genders having seperate “roles”?

The Bible and the Church teach us that marriage is a “picture” to the world of God and His Church. God is the Head of His Church, and the Church, His loving Bride, submits to Him in all things. He loves His Bride so much that He died to redeem her.

So no, the headship of the husband is not just a social invention of the Church to help couples not to fight, and it’s not just about genders having separate roles (which doesn’t make any sense–if the man is the better cook and loves being in the kitchen and the woman loves repairing cars and building additions to rooms, of course they should each do the tasks that they are best suited for!).

It’s a witness to the world of the plan of God and His love for all of us. A marriage should draw people to God and help them to learn to love Him and submit to Him.

2 Likes

Thanks for your answer.
That can sort of come across abit “philosophical” though.How does it happen in a concrete/practical/everyday sense though?

Also,do men still want to be the head of household in today’s age?
There are even some men today that are themselves feminists etc…

It’s not like people see a Christian couple and say, “Wow, I want to know God! I’m going to go to church so I can pledge myself to God!”

But I do believe that godly couples who illustrate with their entwined lives the relationship between God and His Bride Church, are a constant witness of God’s plan for mankind, and that their relatives, especially their children and grandchildren, will try to follow their example. My husband and I have certainly done that, following the example of our relatives as far back as we know, and our parents.

And I believe that people who don’t come from godly families will see the Christian couple in society and recognize that there is more to life than just what we experience with our senses.

What is a feminist? Someone who is willing to do whatever will help women to be all that they were created to be, and to accomplish all that they are capable of accomplishing. This is a perfect description of a man who marries a woman and cherishes her as his precious bride and is willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, to make sure that she achieves all that she was meant to achieve.

A man who does not accept his role as head of the house is likely to say to the woman, “You’re free to do whatever you want.” Well, that sounds nice and feminist, but it doesn’t necessarily empower a woman to accomplish anything or to be who she wants to be. It’s possible that if the man doesn’t feel he has to sacrifice anything to help the woman accomplish her dreams (after all, what about HIS dreams?), SHE will have to work hard at a job or jobs, and will have no time or energy left for her own dreams and ambitions. A man who is head of the house takes it upon himself to try hard make sure that his bride has what she needs to achieve her potential.

Obviously it doesn’t always work out. Economic hard times can make it impossible for both the husband and the wife to accomplish anything other than hard work just to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. But even in those times, a man who is head of the household makes sure that his bride is loved and honored and that her needs come before his needs.

1 Like

Well I don’t know how relevant this is in terms of the “man making the major decisions”.

I think though this is more about the man taking moral and spiritual leadership and being the one to lead in sacrifice for his family.
Statistically, the husband/father’s participation in religious activities is the single biggest indicator of whether the kids will have religious faith. I’d say that’s a pretty big endorsement of the male role in leading his family to Christ.

The OP asked how, specifically, a man acts as “Head of the Household.”

I agree with you that a man should lead in spiritual activities, but we can’t isolate “spiritual” from “practical.” A man who is very faith-filled and takes the lead in spiritual activities in the family, but refuses to “lead” the family in financial matters ( e.g., working multiple jobs if necessary to make sure the bills get paid, making the final decision about whether the family should move to a different neighborhood or even a different area of the country or world, etc.) will be disrespected by his wife and children.

A very good example of this is Louisa May Alcott’s family. Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a “pastor” or “spiritual leader” who led his wife and four daughters into all kinds of activities and situations (e.g., spiritual 'communities" that lived together), many of which resulted in the family nearly starving to death trying to live entirely off the land (Mr. Alcott was “above” doing manual labor, and the girls ended up doing most of the heavy lifting and actual work in their family). I have read LMA’s “March family trilogy” hundreds of times over my life, and I have come to the conclusion that although they are wonderfully wholesome and uplifting, they also depict men in a very unflattering and disparaging way. The trilogy is LMA’s way of expressing utter disdain for her “spiritual” father who refused to lead his family in practical matters like finances, earning money, etc.

Again, the man MAY make the decision to pass certain “big” decisions to his wife, and that’s just fine. He’s still the leader of the household, and good leaders delegate, especially if someone else knows more about the situation they do!

I am NOT saying that the man is the KING and the wife is his loyal subject and the children his minions! Nope, not a t all!

Yes, a man who is “head of the household” is the KING, but his wife is the QUEEN, and his children are princes and princesses! The family is “royal,” and everyone has a share of that royalty.

In any organization, there has to be ONE PERSON who is charged with making the Big Decisions, the Final Decisions. Even if there is a Board of Directors, or Executive Board, or whatever–there will still be one person who is the Ultimate Authority.

Of course, what this means is that the glory for a good decision will go to that one person, but…the disasters caused by a bad decision will also be blamed on that one person. Being in charge of the decisions is NOT the gravy job!

I guess my best testimony for this arrangement in marriage is our 40 years so far, and still going strong. :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.