A woman is, by the will of God, always under the authority of a man. Until her marriage she is subject to the will of her father, and after her marriage, to the will, and often, whim, of her husband.
‘To the woman He said…Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ Gen 3:16
A woman must submit to her husband’s authority over her just as much as a man submits to the authority of Christ in his life.
‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.’ Eph 5:22-24
And so, since Adam, every husband has exercised authority over his wife and every wife, except the wayward ones, has submitted to the rule of her husband. And in doing so, uncountable number of women throughout history have suffered the brutality and harshness of men who turned their authority to authoritarianism.
Authority in man is instituted by God for the ultimate good of the woman under his rule. Authoritarianism is usurped by many men in authority to institute their own pleasure above their wife’s wellbeing and happiness. The one is from the Creator, to create a sense of security for the woman; the other is from the Destroyer, to destroy the woman’s sense of security under a man, so she can seek it from other sources.
Divorces, women’s liberation movements, destitute women, prostitutes, and men-hating feminists are the direct products of men who exercised brutal authoritarianism in their homes, or they are the tragic consequences of men who did not exercise any authority in their homes, which is equally disastrous for the women entrusted to their care.
Even among Godly husbands, including senior ministers of Christ, I have observed many instances where their authority was temporarily transformed into ugly authoritarianism. In such instances, the man’s tone changes, his facial contours distort, and his words and actions cause the woman beside him to express her disappointment and hurt verbally or vibely.
Husbands, if you want your Lord, the Savior of your body, to rejoice in your submission to him, you must give cause for your wife to rejoice in her submission to you. And the way to do it is to exercise authority over her just as Christ exercises authority over you and the rest of his body, the church.
‘Husbands, love your wives, JUST AS Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself’ Eph 5:25-33. Emphasis mine
In closing, let me mention that there is just one area in a man’s life over which he has no authority himself, but he is subject to the authority of his wife, just as much as she is subject to his authority in the rest of the areas in her life:
‘The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.’ 1 Cor 7:4
If the wife so desires the physical body of her husband at any time of the day or night, he has no authority to say no. His mind may belong to him, but his physical body belongs to her.
May the Great Authority over us, even our Lord Jesus, in whom we rejoice, rejoice over us even as we sincerely seek to cause the one over whom we have authority to rejoice in us.