The culture encourages men to assume a submissive posture and shrink away from the challenges of being the captains of their ships.
Many men are happy to comply. They can sit on the couch, let their wives carry the burden, and pat themselves on the back for having the courage to live by such egalitarian principles.
Unfortunately Walsh then hopelessly confuses the issue by asserting that a husband has an obligation to lead but must not be a “boss”:
I believe that men have a duty to lead, and I believe that there are many, many women who agree with me.
Notice: I’m not saying that the man should be the boss. Being a leader doesn’t mean being a “boss.” But I don’t need to spend time dispelling the notion that men ought to be the boss, because, as we’ve covered, that notion doesn’t really exist.
But calling your wife “the boss” isn’t the only temptation Christian men face when it comes to headship. There is another temptation which Walsh and many other Christian men succumb to, and this is the temptation to denigrate other Christian husbands in an attempt to puff themselves up and gain attention and approval from frustrated Christian wives. Unfortunately Walsh gives in to this temptation in the very same post, denigrating the husband of a woman who contacted him on Facebook:
She told me about her own prize catch; he wakes up at around 11 AM to play video games, meanwhile she brings their two sons to church. Something tells me this is the sort of guy who would call his wife “the boss.”
…I don’t know this woman. But I’m guessing she’d be overjoyed if hubby dropped the video game controller and picked up the Cross of Leadership.
The husband he describes certainly does sound like he is failing to lead his family spiritually. However, aside from Walsh puffing himself up, what is to be gained by tearing this woman’s husband down like this? Note that not only does this make it harder for the husband to recover and lead like he should, it also does absolutely no good for the frustrated Christian wife. Expressing contempt for her husband doesn’t make it any easier for her to submit to her husband’s leadership or increase her patience in dealing with his failings. Instead, it places additional strain on a family which is already struggling, and during a time of rampant divorce. This doesn’t help the husband, the wife, or the children. The only benefit gained by this kind of chest thumping is to Walsh himself.
The problem is throwing other men under the bus feels courageous, and it has the added benefit of being very easy. Undermining the headship of other husbands is far easier and more satisfying than reminding wives (and ourselves) of the Apostle Peter’s instruction to the wives of failing husbands. But the easy path is not the courageous one, no matter how it feels. What takes courage, obedience, and faith is to witness a failing Christian husband and remember that the Bible is clear that husbands are the head of the household, and wives are called to submit to their husbands even if the husband is not leading her as Christ leads the Church.
Unfortunately throwing the husbands of women who write to him under the bus is something Walsh seems to do quite frequently. In another recent post, a woman wrote in who was arguing with her husband over whether she should be trying to get back in shape after having a baby. In this case the husband cited one of Walsh’s previous posts when discussing the issue with his wife. Walsh responded by sowing discord in the other man’s household (emphasis mine):
I’m about to do something that is very rare in my life, and possibly unprecedented on the internet: I’m going to admit that I was wrong. You’re right, Kim. I was wrong. I don’t want to spend too much time rehashing a post from a month and a half ago (which is approximately 40 centuries in cyber years) but I also don’t want to sit here and let your husband cite me as justification to harass you about the weight you gained while carrying his child for nine months.
A little further down Walsh explains that her husband is a jerk:
…if I may be so bold, your husband is acting like a jerk. He might be a great guy, for all I know. I’m sure you married him and had babies with him for some reason. He could otherwise be a gentleman and a scholar, but, on this point, he’s a jerk. I mean, a huge, massive, towering jerk of impressive proportions. You had his child a MONTH AGO and he’s calling you lazy and accusing you of not “working hard enough”? Really?
While Walsh claims this is “something rare” in his life, histrionic attempts to curry favor with women are anything but rare on his blog. In another post he responds to a recently divorced mother who is frustrated with people who don’t tip her at her job as a waitress:
This woman has challenged me to speak out against non-tipping tyrants, and I could not live with myself if I failed to answer her call.
Given his histrionic style, I assume that Walsh is a very young man. As such, it will become easier over time as he grows in wisdom and self confidence to avoid the temptation to curry favor with other men’s wives. Unfortunately we have large numbers of Christian men who are falling prey to the same temptation but lack the excuse of youth and inexperience. Christian marriage and headship is sacred, serious business, and as Christian men we need to be very careful to treat it as such. Standing up for Christian marriage will seldom make us popular in this feminist era, but it is the only faithful choice and is also the loving choice when considering the needs of husbands, wives, and their children.
Original bus image released as public domain by Mulad.