Wives are Glorious Despots

1 Timothy 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 

The Greek word translated “manage their households” is Oikodespotein; to rule as a despot. The wife is the despot of the home. What are we to make of this given biblical gender roles and headship?

This is not contradictory. The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. Husbands have the responsibility and authority to lead their household. But good leadership does not micro-manage. It is not overbearing, rude or controlling. Husbands do not have the prerogative to make every decision in the household. Spheres of authority were created by God for good reason. The fact that a woman gets pregnant does deny that the husband is ultimately responsible for the child, unlike the modern view.

When it comes to choosing which prenatal vitamen, or OB or researching the right body pillow, no man is threatened enough to wonder where his headship went. But ultimately, if it’s a home birth or hospital birth fall well within his prerogative.

Men, what do you think of bosses who are control freaks and cannot let anyone else have authority, give input or take ownership of customers or products? What do you call such a boss?

A good leader in business is one who finds or cultivates competent men to whom he can delegate. A man ought to choose a woman who brings value to his life. Some of that value is the fact that you can trust her. She is competent and knows her business.

Proverbs 31:10–11An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 

Trust here means to entrust. And that means there is an object to be entrusted. In a home established and governed by God, that means what is entrusted is the management of the home. That means if she says take your shoes off and put your socks in the hamper, then you do it like a good husband. In a biblical home, wives have far more practical authority than most reactionary patriarchal men suppose. And thinking biblically about gender roles means more than enraging the fema-nazis.

This does not place the husband “under,” the wife; she ought not boss him around or otherwise treat him like one of the kids. But the husband must honor the standards and decisions which she establishes. There are extremes here. For the first year of marriage I thought leading the home included calling home midday and letting Anne know what I wanted for dinner.

But neither does it mean you have no say in the color of the paint or how the food budget gets spent. Everyone in the house must see the husband honoring his wife, whether its following her instructions taped to the prepared meal or not putting his feet on the coffee table. He must demonstrate that he trusts and respects here judgements. He must entrustthese things to her and demonstrate he does by honoring those decisions.

So, what does this look like? Say mom wants everyone to wash in the bathroom and not the kitchen. That the soccer shoes are taken off in the garage and not the foray. That the X-mas decorations go up before the Apple cup comes on the TV. She wants plates washed and put in the dishwasher. All these desires should have the force of law, for everyone, including you. In a very real and necessary way, her home is her domain. She is not the head of the home, but she is its executive.

What is it communicating to her daughters and sons if her wishes are habitually disregarded? What is it communicating to her daughters and sons that she has no authority? What is being communicated to your wife?

A definite indicator of an unhappy and unorganized home is the ignoring of mom and the head of that home is actually an abdicating father.

If she has to struggle to get her way, if it’s all competition and survival of the fittest and the loudest yeller, nagging will become her mode of competition with you.

But if her word is law, in regard to the management of the home and she is empowered and honored by actually being entrusted with that task; she will be far more careful about what she requires. And you will be welcomed home to a far more delightful and warm place.

She won’t have rested control away from you and you won’t be abdicating. Instead, she will be in her element. It is her domain in which she was gifted by God to bear proper authority.


Author: Michael Kloss

There is a Sunday conscience, as well as a Sunday coat; and those who make religion a secondary concern put the coat and conscience carefully by to put on only once a week. - Charles Dickens

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