Husband as Head of the Family

Must a wife obey her husband, given he does not ask her to sin? If she disobeys what sin has she commited?


The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation in their ideas must be threefold, in the ruling of the domestic society, in the administration of family affairs and in the rearing of the children. It must be social, economic, physiological: - physiological, that is to say, the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother (We have already said that this is not an emancipation but a crime)

More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself,


Interesting that, for a man, this “emancipation” is apparently A-OK, but women being “emancipated”? That’s of the Devil! :rolleyes:

LOL you can’t even make this stuff up.

For what it’s worth, Pope Pius also wrote this:

[quote=]27. This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband’s every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.


In other words, the wife subjects herself to her husband, just as the husband submits himself to his wife in imitation of how Christ loved the Church, out of a mutual desire to do what is best for the other and for the whole of the family. It does not necessitate a servile attitude whereby the husband commands something and the wife blindly obeys, even if the request is not for something sinful.

Perhaps if you gave us an example of the type of request a wife might refuse her husband, we could better identify whether it would be sinful and, if so, what sin it would be. Otherwise, we can only guess that either the wife is being selfish or the husband is being unreasonable.

While we’re at it: if a slave disobeys his earthly master, what sin has he committed?

We are told by the Bible that a wife is subject to her husband in the same way as the husband lays down his life for her, just as Jesus did for His bride, the Church.

So the husband has a pretty big task too. The spouses work together. Anytime the question comes up about “what if” or “do I have to” then there’s a problem right off the bat. So always keep in mind how a man offers everything for his wife, and then the OP question would be meaningless.

Also, for what it’s worth, Scripture doesn’t say that a husband is head of the family. But of the wife. There’s a distinction there that’s important too.

Is the slave willfully subject to the slave owner and the slave owner willfully subject to his slave?

I don’t see the connection between your scenario and a Christian marriage?

I would be willing to bet that all of the males on this thread who are espousing a woman’s subordination to a man in marriage are either adolescents or at most in their early twenties. Either you are just egging people on this thread for the sake of argument, or you have no concept of what marriage in the US and Canada is in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
If you persist in these beliefs, I hope you can reconcile yourselves to being celebate, because there aren’t too many contemporary American women who will agree with you.
They may say they do, but once the ring is on their finger you will have a rude awakening.
The days of a womans’ place being “Kinder, Kuchen, Kirche”(children, cooking, church), died out around the time of WW I, and was finished during the great depression.

When my Mom and Dad were married, my Dad understand and was fully aware of his position in the family…After 26 years of marriage, he still hasn’t gotten promoted…:slight_smile:

Yeah I agree with the Pope on both entries. The problem is extremes. I personally know a guy (my husband’s best friend actually) that’s a chuvanist pig, I told him that to his face.

A woman deserves respect, to be treated kindly not like a child or a slave but she needs to understand the husband is the head of the family/house.

This guy (my husband’s friend) and many other men out there like to treat women like doormats and get their jollies off at putting a woman “in her place” with demeaning talk and treatment. This guy is twice divorced and trying to “train” my husband to follow his lead (he’s 8 years older than my husband) he’s even told me that “women were put on this earth to serve men”. I told my husband I didn’t marry this guy and I WON’T BE MARRIED to this guy. (read between the lines) I was also told that “you need to get your doctrine from your husband and ideally you shouldn’t ask him anything he should just tell you and you should listen and obey”. :mad: Yeah it ticks me off. I knew things were getting bad when my husband told me when I wanted to convert to Catholicism “that you’re dividing our house and usurping my spiritual authority” that the guy was getting his way on training my husband. (I was the only one that was going to convert not my husband or kids) Anyway it’s junk like that that is abuse of women.

On the other hand there are women that think they in the new feminine 21st. century get to boss around their husband and or make the decisions in the house. They want “equal” treatment but usually that means (I’ve seen it first hand) that THEY are in charge. They refuse to be under a man’s lead it’s “demeaning” to them.

Anywho that’s my .02 cents. Pray for me and my family please.

“Unnatural equality”? Christ practiised and taught equality. He did not exclude women.


The sort of marriage the OP supports is a Christian marriage only for those men who prefer a marriage of subordination and not a partnership of adults. Anyone who wants such a marriage is free to do so but let’s not say it is the kind of marriage based on equality which is what Christ taught and practised.

We have to remember that the idea of the husband as the “head” is a give-and-take role. The husband isn’t the king that dictates and rules over the house. He loves his wife as Christ loves the Church and his wife in turn serves him. Think of it this way, if your husband puts your best interests at the forefront to the point that he would be willing to die for you, wouldn’t it make sense to return the favor by taking care of him as well? When a husband truly acts as the “head” in the way the Church dictates he does not put his own needs before all others. Rather, he is extremely mindful of making sure his wife is happy too.

When this approach is done properly both spouses are equally more concerned with looking after the other spouse’s needs before their own - as it should be.


Prayers for you and your family.

Equality in a marriage is not about one partner lording over the other.

With respect to you and Paul, how on earth could any human being love anyone as Christ loved and loves? I prefer JPII’s mutual submission.

I am sure wives would also die for their husbands and children.

I have no issue with your last para (Ibolded).

“…the kind of marriage…which is what Christ…practised”? What does that mean? :confused:

On the subject of what Christ taught…do you mean Christ taught equality? Where did he teach that? I remember lots of places where he told his disciples to serve one another, where the greatest should be as the least and the first should be the last, but I don’t remember where the red letters say anything about expecting equality. :shrug:

I would suggest that what Christ taught concerning relationships between Christians was not based on equality, but on mutual service. Those are not the same thing, not by a long shot! Likewise, in Ephesians it says, “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5:21)

There is nothing contradictory about equality and service to others. It is one thing ( and a good thing) to serve others in love and another thing to say God says a woman mustt serve her husband as she is subject to him.

So love commands that every Christian serve others except the woman who promised to love her husband? (You do realize that I have never suggested that a wife is chattel who has to submit to un-Christlike behavior from her husband without ever calling him on it? I hope you’re not mixing me up with those who are talking like t***ls.)

Again, where in the New Testament does Christ say that everyone ought to consider himself or herself the equal of everyone else?

*If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. *Phil. 2:1-6

The New Testament doesn’t say “consider yourself equal to each other”. No, it says, “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph. 5:21

There is a reason for that, and forgetting that reason is what causes squabbles like this. Anxiety over whether one is being treated “equally enough” has something to do with the divorce rate, too.

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