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Head of Household

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The phrase "head of household" is used by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to describe an unmarried person who pays more than 50% of the costs of keeping up a home. In a marriage, this expression doesn't apply for tax purposes, but it still has significant meaning for many Black couples who try to define the order of their relationship. Some men desire to be in positions of power with everything and everyone following them. But what does The Bible say about men being leaders in the home, and what exactly does it mean for Black couples?

A woman will often listen to a man gripe and carry on about being "head of the house" when he wants to enforce a rule, or make a stern decision about their lifestyle. Often, wives are subjected to domineering men who have mismanaged the idea of being head of the family. Being intimidating is an ineffective strategy that can lead to stress, debate, and trouble in the relationship. For Black men to understand what "head-of-the-house" means, we must first determine what it doesn't mean.

"God placed the man as head of the house. That does not mean that he is the god of the house, or the lord of the house. This simply means that, relative to rank, man is the caretaker and protector of his wife and children," says Dr. Frederick K.C. Price, Pastor of Ever Increasing Faith Ministries in Los Angeles, CA.

In his book entitled The Christian Family, Price further states, "If you read the entire 11th chapter of I Corinthians, you will see that Paul was making a clear comparison between husbands and wives and Christ and the Church. He was not talking about women as women, but about women who were wives."

Dr. Price used the reference to Paul from verse three which states:

"But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."  - I Corinthians 11:3

Some men misinterpret this and use it to take advantage of their wives. These men are distorting God's guidance in order to maintain some type of control over their wives and their households. But as Dr. Price points out -- only Christian men who are responsible and able to fulfill their spiritual duties can be "head of the house." If a man does not live as an example and is not spiritually guided, he cannot be in a lead position.

In no way, shape or form should a woman ever submit to a man who doesn't walk by Faith. No man, Christian or not -- has the power to force a woman to submit to him. Furthermore, submitting to a man should never involve control and manipulatio. Both the husband and wife should be submitting to each other.

"When Paul said a husband ranked over his wife, he meant that a husband is responsible for his wife. God is holding us husbands responsible for our wives. We are responsible for loving them, taking care of them, providing for them, and protecting them in the domestic environment," Price says.

It is important for men and women to remember that a husband does not come between his wife and God. A husband is not the spiritual head of his wife and he has no authority over her spirituality. The purpose of rank in the family, is to define responsibilities of man, woman, and child -- not to assert command or power over them.

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