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Published Date: March 5, 2005

Published Date: March 5, 2005

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Who’s the Boss?

A man and woman are seen on stage. The man has two envelopes in his hands. The words “To: Husbands” are written on one envelope, and “To: Wives” is written on the other. The
man holds the envelopes so the audience can read the inscriptions. He takes the message from the envelope marked “To: Wives” and reads it quickly.

Husband: Paul has written a letter saying that I should be your head. I wonder what I must do to be the head.

Wife: Let me see that. [Reads…] But this is not for you. It’s addressed to me. You’ve been reading my mail.

Husband: Okay, okay… So, I wonder what I have to do to be the head. I’m sure it means that I should make all the decisions. I have to be in control of everything in the family. I am sure that is what it means.

Wife: Paul doesn’t say anything like that. Anyway, why don’t you read what he has written to you?

Husband: [Takes the message from the envelope addressed “To: Husbands” and reads…]

Wife: Well? What does he say?

Husband: He says that I should love you. Since I am the head of the family, it means you have to obey me.

Wife: Let me see Paul’s letter to you. [Reads…]

Husband: I wonder if there’s anything more I must do to be the head.

Wife: This is ridiculous.

Husband: What do you mean?

Wife: Well, Paul has written what you must do and all you can do is read what he has written to me and talk about being head. Why don’t you concentrate on what he has written you?

Husband: But I told you—he just told me to be loving.

Wife: Tell me, how many lines did Paul write to me?

Husband: [Counts silently] Nine.

Wife: And how many lines did he write to you?

Husband: [Counts silently]

Wife: Well?

Husband: Wait! I’m counting… Twenty-seven.

Wife: How many?

Husband: Twenty-seven.

Wife: How many? Can you speak up? I can’t hear you.

Husband: [Angrily and loudly] Twenty-seven!

Wife: And all you can say is that you must love me, while you spend so much time trying to find out what you must do to be the head when he hasn’t said a single thing to you about being the head!

Husband: But Paul did say that I must be head.

Wife: No he didn’t. He said that I must voluntarily accept your headship. You can’t force me. It’s up to me.

Husband: Hmm! Never thought of it that way.

Wife: Shall we look at what you are supposed to do?

Husband: I’m telling you all I have to do is love you!

Wife: But how?

Husband: What do you mean?

Wife: Well, Paul didn’t just write “Husband love your wife, Husband love your wife, Husband love your wife” twenty-seven times did he?

Husband: No.

Wife: Then that means he said a little more. What did he say? 

Husband: After he talked about loving the wife, Paul just drew a parallel between the marriage relationship and Christ’s relationship with the Church. Then he simply repeated the point about loving the wife. That’s all.

Wife: So what does he say about Christ’s relationship with the Church? Why don’t you read it aloud so I can hear what Paul says.

Husband: [Reads aloud Eph. 5:25–33]

Wife: Don’t you think Paul is saying that you should do the things Christ did?

Husband: Paul says Christ made the Church pure by washing and that He died for the Church. That is something only the Savior can do. I can’t do anything for your salvation.

Wife: True. But he must have had a reason for talking about these things in the context of what husbands ought to do.

Husband: I suppose.

Wife: When did the Lord Jesus wash anyone?

Husband: [Pauses to think] When He washed the feet of His disciples.

Wife: So He didn’t play the “I am the head” game with His disciples, did He? Instead He was their servant.

Husband: That’s true. He in fact said, “I am among you as a servant.”

Wife: Okay. What about the matter of Him dying for the Church? Does that apply?

Husband: I suppose it means that I must make sacrifices for the sake of our relationship.

Wife: So what is Paul saying to you?

Husband: Love, serve, and sacrifice. Ouch! That’s tough.

Wife: If I regard you as head, and you play the part of a servant, then who’s the boss?

Husband: Neither. Come to think of it, that must be why Paul began by saying, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Wife: [Picks up a Bible and reads and then says] I think the New Century Version brings out the meaning better. “Be willing to obey each other. Do this because you respect Christ.” Husband: Yes, that makes it very plain. Sometimes a husband has to obey his wife.

Wife: A husband?

Husband: I…I have to obey you.

Wife: So who’s the boss in our marriage?

Husband: You are.

Wife: No, you are.

Husband: Hey, this is like two persons holding a door open and repeatedly saying, “After you…No, after you…No, I insist, after you….”

Wife: No. I think neither of us is the boss. Jesus is the boss. He is Lord.

Husband: If Jesus is the boss, why call the husband head?

Wife: Isn’t there a passage that says that God is the head of Christ, as the man is the head of the woman?

Husband: That’s in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3.

Wife: Looks like you know all the references for the passages that talk about male headship.

Husband: [grins sheepishly, opens the Bible, and reads] Paul said, “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” But that passage affirms male headship doesn’t it?

Wife: Tell me, does the statement that God is the head of Christ make Christ lower?

Husband: No, it doesn’t. That just means that in the human order Jesus accords God the Father that honor.

Wife: Then that means that in human society a wife is to give the honor of head to the husband. But it doesn’t mean that the woman is somehow inferior, does it?

Husband: I get the point. So you’re just giving me an honor. But I can’t demand it or grab it.