The latest issue of JBMW was released yesterday, and I am going to highlight some of the articles in it over the next week or so. The first essay that I want to bring to your attention is by Heath Lambert, professor of biblical counseling at Boyce College.
The article is titled “Breaking the Marital Impasse: How Authority and Submission Work When Spouses Disagree.” This article is one of the most practical articles I’ve ever read on how headship works when husband and wife disagree. He opens the piece by describing a real life counseling situation that he faced on this very issue. He writes,
“Ted and Elizabeth had been members of a church I pastored for many years. Both lived committed Christian lives and were integrally involved in ministry for our congregation. One morning Elizabeth requested a meeting with me to discuss a “very difficult” issue in their marriage. I met with her and Ted that afternoon. As we talked it became clear that the problem concerned Elizabeth’s leadership of our church’s preschool ministry. Elizabeth loved the work, but life in their home was crazy. Ted was forced to work longer hours at work, their family was growing, and another ministry they shared in the church was quickly multiplying. Ted did not believe it was wise for Elizabeth to continue to supervise the preschoolers. They had been discussing this issue for weeks, but could not agree on a course of action. Finally, Ted “put his foot down” and made the final decision. Elizabeth would have to resign from the ministry. Elizabeth was stunned, angry, and hurt. In her anger she told him she would never quit. After 24 hours of conflict, Elizabeth called me for help.”
Lambert goes on to enumerate five guidelines that couples should observe when navigating this kind of conflict:
Guideline #1: A wife must submit to her husband in all areas except sinful ones.
Guideline #2: The distinction between “during the day,” and “the end of the day.”
Guideline #3: A wife is also a sister in Christ to her husband.
Guideline #4: A husband is not the only authority to whom his wife is accountable.
Guideline #5: Wise ministry engages both the husband and the wife in marriage.
This article is worth the time to read the whole thing. And you can do so here.
P.S. Dr. Lambert recently shared his testimony with the students of Boyce College. If you haven’t heard it already, I highly recommend your taking the time to listen. Download here or listen below.[audio:http://www.sbts.edu/media/audio/BoycePodcast/20101108-boyce-podcast-lambert.mp3]