It is interesting that the ONLY place in the New Testament where the word "authority" (Gr. exousia) is used with reference to marriage is in a verse found in 1 Corinthians 7 [verse 25] where Paul is addressing the abstaining from sex between a married couple. There he says such a decision is to be a mutually agreed thing and one made in "symphony" with each other. [In other words, the man's not the boss here.]
Passages like Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Colossians 3:18-18, and 1 Peter 3:1-7 certainly all speak to several aspects of men and women relationships, in marriage and in the Church to mention a couple, but the Greek word for "authority" in never used BECAUSE AUTHORITY IS NEVER ADDRESSED in these verses. Terms such as "head" may be interpreted to mean "authority" but that is reading into the text rather than interpreting from the text. I repeat...The ONLY text in the Bible that actually uses the word "authority" (Gr. exousia) in the context of MARRIAGE is, in fact, 1 Corinthians 7:25.
This ought, it seems to me, to give pause to anyone holding to the commonly held position that "the husband has authority and the wife is to submit to it because the man has the final say or word in any decision." [The man's the boss.] Is that biblical? Is that actually found IN THE TEXT OF SCRIPTURE?
Not according to my good friend Jon Zens who has done a remarkable study on ALL the texts about men and women to be found in scripture. let me give you just a bit of what he says about it all.
Jon says it this way...
"First, 1 Cor.7:1-5 is the only place in the NT where the word “authority” (Greek, exousia) is used with reference to marriage. But it is neither the authority of the husband over the wife, nor vice versa, that is in view, but rather a mutual authority over each other’s body. 1 Corinthians 7:4 states that the wife has authority over her husband’s body. One would think that this would be a hard pill to swallow for those who see “authority” as resting only in the husband’s headship.
Second, Paul states that a couple cannot separate from one another physically unless there is mutual consent (Greek, symphonou). Both parties must agree to the separation or it doesn’t happen. The husband cannot override the wife’s differing viewpoint."
Jon Zens goes on to address this statement by John Piper who is a great preacher [IMHO] and has quite a following among those who hold to the "The man's the boss" mentality.
"John Piper suggests that “mature masculinity accepts the burden of the final say in disagreements between husband and wife, but does not presume to use it in every instance” (p.32). But 1 Corinthians 7:5 contradicts Piper’s maxim. If the wife disagrees with a physical separation, the husband cannot overrule his wife with the “final choice” (p.33). Such separation can occur only if both husband and wife are in “symphony” (unity) about such an action."
Jon Zens then has a personal conclusion he makes...
"Now, if mutual consent applies in an important issue like physical separation [sexually] from one another for a period of time, wouldn’t it seem proper that coming to one-mindedness would be the broad model for decision-making in a healthy marriage? In light of 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 I would suggest that decision-making should focus on finding the Lord’s mind together. Over the years good ideas, solutions to problems and answers to dilemmas will flow from both husband and the wife together as they seek the Lord in “symphony” (unity)" as a couple."
Mary and I have for several years now lived with the understanding Jon Zens is articulating here about decision making as a couple. Paul teaches that unless the couple can agree on a course of action, it cannot be executed. So our goal has been to come to some agreed course of action as a couple. How is that done? That will take another post. But that it CAN be done and SHOULD be done according to scripture is the point of this post. I'm convinced that from the bible TEXTUALLY one CANNOT support a "The man is the boss" mentality in marriage. It seems to me that is decidedly more cultic than Christian at it's heart