If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man? By C.S Lewis

11 08 2013

If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man?

As long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next?
They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.

If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say “Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.” I do not think she is even very nattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own “headship.”
There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside.

The relations of the family to the outer world—what might be called its foreign policy—must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests.

The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?
C.S Lewis

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19 responses

26 03 2014
Peter

Men should be the head because the bible says so. Ephiseans 5:22-24

20 12 2013
kmc

Lewis wrote this in the forties of the last century– he was unmarried, didn’t marry until about 1956 when he married a woman as a favor so she could stay in England. He did fall in love with her. But this is theory, and lots have changed since then.

16 08 2013
Denise McClurg

Chinwuba lyizoba Many women need to get a grip on reality and look at society , the USA has serious problems due to the so called women movement. I agree with equal pay for equal work and so forth , I do not consider those women’s rights I consider them human rights we are all equal in that respect as far as rights and treatment go. But we have a separate roll to play as men and women. Age , gender or race should never make a difference in how you are treated. The feminist movement destroyed families and brought separation between men and women…that is evil , I believe in the God of the Bible and the way He said structure was suppose to be in the household. the devil is the father of lies and he does his best to destroy what God holds so dear and to humans the love of your spouse and family unity is the ultimate thing to achieve in life , after accepting Christ. Family is Gods plan for us on earth while we await eternity with Him.

16 08 2013
Editor

You have said it all +Denise McClurg I agree. You have a deep view of the issues at stake. We have to get more women (and men) to think and reflect on what you have said. Thanks

16 08 2013
Anonymous

Not exactly sure the point the June is making but I do read my bible and have a fairly good understanding of His word that He has blessed me with and men are suppose to be the heads of the family and when the husband and wife can not agree he makes the ultimate decision…

16 08 2013
Editor

Yes, your are right, it is right there in the bible: In Ephesian 5: 22-24 we read “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, “

16 08 2013
Denise McClurg

Because that is the way it is suppose to be 🙂

16 08 2013
Editor

You are right +Denise McClurg but many women no longer believe things should be one way simply it has always been that way. That’s why this article is important. 

13 08 2013
June Toko

I think whoever wrote this should read their Bible again…. In an idea world, the marriage that is spoken about is pssible, if two people love each other and are in agreement with what it is that love is to them….. Women who love their men are ok with what is decided by the man, but men that love their women as they love their own body know how to love and respect their wife…. Both know what it is that they should be doing to love each other and bring up their children with good tikanga good knowledge and understanding of how life really is in for them…. Now if you let the thoughts and standards of other people sneak into your marriage, you are going to find all sorts of dissapointments about your marriage. So remember who you are and why you married and get on with it…. Don’t let the temptations of others lead you astray….. Don’t compare your marriage to other peoples marriages…. just love each other, look after each other and share the wisdom you have found together with your children so they grow up knowing that good marriages can exist in this world….

13 08 2013
Editor

I agree with you June Toko and you and the Author are saying the same thing. He is only argueing that in case of conflict, there is need for a leader who will decide. He still agrees that man and woman are equal in a marriage, they just perform different function. There are equal but not equivalent. Equality does not mean equivalence

13 08 2013
June Toko

I had to read that again, and there are so many comparisons to outter influences and scenarios. But like I said, read your bible again, although it was written many years ago the answer is still in it. First and foremost, what ever will be, will be the will of Jehovah. So think!!! What would he do, what would Jesus do? As a family, they could pray, and read the bible…

13 08 2013
anny Ardhyan

Because a man have character to lead 

13 08 2013
Editor

I think you are right +Fanny Ardhyan. In most instances that is true. The man has a deep voice and muscles to defend his woman and child from predators. 

13 08 2013
Madeline Lund

+Chinwuba Iyizoba I think that is what we have become accustomed to, but I don’t think it has to continue to be that way.

13 08 2013
Editor

Yes +Madeline Lund there are many women who are heads of families, even countries. Still it is a role more suited to the man who can lift heavy object out of the way and clear the path for his wife and children and with his deep voice scare away predators..dont you think? 

13 08 2013
Madeline Lund

I think the woman can most certainly be the head of the family.

13 08 2013
Seán O'Nilbud

I think the woman can most certainly be the head of the family.

13 08 2013
Seán O'Nilbud

Because women are mental control freaks.

13 08 2013
Shota Khinchagashvili

I disagree with the very first sentence

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