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  • Writer's pictureTy Montgomery

Respectfully Yours: The Cost of Feminism to the Christian Home

Updated: Feb 7


woman's hands on man's chest

If you’re a consistent reader, I’m grateful you’re here. If you’re a new reader, this title might be a little shocking. To both, I pray you’ll take this post with how I intend to deliver it: graciously.


I believe that feminism has cost the Christian home. I believe there are certain ideologies that have made it nearly impossible for some godly wives to submit to the headship of their husband. I know when I say “feminism," a lot of things might pop up for you. So I want to explain what I mean when I say it.


I first learned about feminism in college, and at that point, I would have considered myself a feminist. I still might do so, but since then, so many definitions and concepts of feminism seem to have come about. Some of the feminist ideologies I have heard have made it difficult for me to outright call myself a feminist out of caution to misrepresent myself. I want to make it clear what I believe in when it comes to feminism. I believe in equal rights. I believe in equal pay. I never want a woman to be disrespected, manipulated, abused, or passed over because of her gender. I believe in fairness, and that women deserve to be treated equally for their work and contributions. I also believe that women have been looked over, misunderstood, and passed over for far too long.


Today though, it seems like things are shifting. Today, it seems like there are demographics of feminism, even in Christian spaces, that hate men and despise gender roles or relationship roles as defined by God, and ultimately make it incredibly difficult to follow a specific command from the Word of God, submit to your husband's authority. This is the feminism, or part of feminism, that I want to speak about. In the words of my wife, "As a godly woman, you have to submit to your husband if you desire to live peacefully with your husband and reflect Christ and the church."


Ephesians 5-6 tells us how we should live together as believers. It calls us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. One of the relationship dynamics it touches on is marriage. In the context of marriage it speaks about headship and order and how that order works to support everyone involved, and I believe it gives us a picture of how mutual submission works in marriage. For a wife it looks like submission in the form of rank or authority. For a husband it looks like submission in the form of service and sacrifice (Ephesians 5: 21-33). For a better understanding, I want to lay some ground work for what I believe the husband's role and responsibility should look like based on scripture before I dive into how I think feminism has cost the Christian home.


As men, we are called to be the head of our households. This doesn’t mean that the wife is less than in terms of value and equality (Scripture tells us that we are co-heirs together in 1 Peter 3:7), but in terms of responsibility, the man has a different responsibility to his family before God, and the husband is held accountable to this. The husband is required to cover his wife, and to love her as Christ loved the church. That’s a huge responsibility!


As men, we are called to be the head of our households.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can think about a sibling dynamic. When your parents left home, they left the eldest sibling in charge and if something went wrong they were responsible. It didn’t make the eldest sibling more valuable than the others, it just gave the eldest sibling a responsibility different from the others and it created accountability, because the oldest would be accountable for the actions of the others.


In conjunction, another image to help explain is that husbands are to cover their wives like an umbrella in a storm, shielding and protecting her. In doing so, the wife is to be submissive to the direction of the husband so the husband can protect her. She has to stay under the umbrella to remain dry (It is very important to note that the husband is NOT the God of his wife). God holds the umbrella over the husband, and the husband holds the umbrella over his wife. So, if a man wants to stay dry while holding that umbrella, then he must stay under God. I also want to be clear that if men are not creating a safe environment for women, if there is abuse in the home then this setup is completely broken and women need to do what’s best for their safety. In conclusion, the authority that a godly wife is to submit to is an authority that lives servant leadership like Jesus. (Side note: I will write another blog concerning my thoughts on what is costing the Christian home concerning husbands and submission to their wives by means of service and sacrificial love.)


Now understanding the type of authority that a godly wife ought to submit to, there's a feminist model that I have found that represents what I believe. It addresses the equality of men and women while making space for the marriage dynamic that scripture has laid out for us. This model is what some Christians would call complementarianism. Complementarianism is defined as God having created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home. This gets taken out of context often and people try to apply it to all men over all women which isn’t what the Bible says. The call for a woman to submit to a man, after submitting to God, is only in the context of marriage (a wife to a husband). On the other hand, there are some feminist ideologies that in some ways have created power struggles for headship and disrupted the interdependence that God has set forth. These ideologies can make it difficult for a godly wife to submit to her husband's headship. Because of some of these feminist ideologies, Christian wives, who are strong independent bosses outside the home, have become strong independent bosses in relation to their husbands and have caused damage to the intimacy in the desired godly marriage. It has caused some women in families to turn away from the man the moment she doesn’t get to make the last call, and in other settings, the men are becoming more submissive to their wives instead of stepping into their role and responsibility as servant leaders. This is creating a spirit of separation, confusion, and a lack of unity. Like people walking down two separate paths, whatever one might call them, these feminist ideologies seem to be driving a narrative of independence to the point that interdependence, intimacy, vulnerability, unity, and the reflection of Christ and the church struggle to exist. Husband and wife should be working together to become one, a union


My relationship has helped me to see this so clearly, and my wife operating in her godly femininity has allowed me to see where I fit. It’s allowed me to step into leadership easily, not because I was forcing it but because she made space for me to do so...


...I think now is a good time to note that men should not be forcing their authority or leadership over their wives. The authority that Husbands are given is not one that resembles a power trip over their wives where they haphazardly and dangerously pull rank. This space to lead is cultivated by your wife's submission to God and your ability to be the husband she needs by your submission to God....


...This space opens the door for me to be intimate and vulnerable with her. This space allows me to live my purpose when I can comfortably lead someone who wants to be led. This space allows US to live our collective and individual purposes. Her submission to me has taught me things about God and holds me accountable. 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, "In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.“

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬-‭2‬ ‭NLT‬‬


It’s a beautiful thing when two people can settle into the spaces they want to be inside of a relationship that’s supported by how God designed us to be. A woman who is protected, loved, and cared for isn’t constantly challenging what a man is supposed to be for her.


A lot of husbands are begging for their wife's submission to their authority, but this call to submission is not easy for a wife to adhere to when husband’s don't know how to lead. Quite frankly, if I were a wife and my husband wasn't leading me well, I would be a feminist in all the ways at home myself (kidding lol). But, seriously, I want to take this paragraph to appeal to the wife that struggles with submission by saying as husbands we are responsible for cultivating a space that feels safe to submit in, because that's what Jesus did. He served, sacrificed, and loved in a way that made all of us feel safe knowing we can and need to submit to him in order to live peacefully. A husband cannot truly lead his wife until he knows how to submit to God. The Bible calls men to live with understanding for their wives. A husband has to ask himself what it means to truly be submitted to something because he can’t ask his wife to do what he’s not doing himself.


It’s a beautiful thing when two people can settle into the spaces they want to be inside of a relationship that’s supported by how God designed us to be.

Before a man becomes a husband, he has to learn to fully submit himself to God, furthermore, scripture tells us to submit to one another as believers out of reverence for Christ, and I believe this also has to apply in the dynamic of marriage. I believe scripture lays this out by commanding wives to submit to the authority of their husbands and by husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church (servant leader who sacrificially loves). This is the journey I’m walking through now. As men we’ve got to go where God leads and directs completely, making us safe people to submit to. As wives, respect and honor are also so important for making a space where a man can lead. The fight that is being fought outside the home cannot be brought into the home, and it's on both husband and wife to keep this from happening. The reality is, learning to work together and following God’s model for marriage isn’t easy, but it’s beautiful.


I believe that women were created of equal value, and in an unfair society, in the workplace, in schools, in sports, feminism is needed to fly the flag that advocates for meritocracy for women. I just pray that we don’t let that correction of broken systems confuse us about the design for families and seep into our marriages and homes. Wives, in the eyes of God you were made equal from the beginning, you are co-heirs with your husband, so you don't need to fight for equality in your marriage. Women of God, even in your submission, you are worthy of just as much love and respect as your husband. Husbands, I'm coming for us next and our desire for power, because we too are costing the Christian home.


What do you see the Bible saying on this subject? Let me know in the comments.


Live love,

Ty

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Guest
Jan 19

Hey Ty

It’s interesting that you post this article. My friend and I was just discussing this topic. First of all let me start by saying everything you said is valid and makes sense. I do believe that. There is definitely a shift. A lot of our men have strayed away from reading the word and going to church. I feel that as women are forced into that masculine role in the home because people have stopped listening and have stopped most importantly reading the Bible and standing on what it says. People are taking Romans 10 “How can they hear without a preacher?” out of context. Like for men to lead in a Christian home and for women…

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