So I found the controversy button on social media. Pretty neat feature. Below is a picture of my post on Facebook. There were some helpful comments at the beginning of the post. After that, Zuckerberg let the monkeys out.
Here is what the Bible teaches. Ephesians 5:23 says, “The husband is the head of the wife.” it also says in verse 28: “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” The husband should love his wife as he loves himself. This means the husband is responsible for his wife and must take care of her as himself. This means he is responsible for how she votes. The husband should not be abusive or a jerk about this authority and he should seek counsel from his wife on elections. But at the end of the day he is responsible and should make sure she votes just like he does.
The Bible also teaches that the wife is to submit to her husband. Titus 2:5 says: “Wives are to be obedient to their own husbands.” And Ephesians 5:24 says: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (ESV). Notice the language there: wives should submit in everything. That is really clear language. The wife should submit in voting issues.
A quick note: in my original post, when I say “make sure,” I do not mean the husband should coerce the wife. I do not mean that the man needs to go into the voting booth with her or that he needs to circle the options on the ballot for her. That is ludicrous. By “make sure,” I mean checking in on the wife and making sure they are on the same page and voting together. If they are not on the same page, then the husband needs to work on something.
In this scenario, I am assuming that the husband and wife have a good, healthy relationship and that they are working together. So when the husband asks the wife to vote just like him, he is making good decisions and she is submitting joyfully. I know that sounds like a lot to assume, but, by God’s grace, there are thousands of good marriages like this in the world. They are shining examples to the world.
A Few Key Points
1. The husband and wife are one (Gen 2:24). Why would they vote differently from each other? It doesn’t make sense to be united in other ways and then to be free-willy on elections. They should vote the same way and the husband should make sure this happens.
2. If they vote differently, then they are cancelling each other out which would be foolish. Some commenters suggested the principle of a house divided cannot stand. Jesus said it and it is true. The husband and wife need to be united or their house cannot stand.
3. If they vote differently, the husband is setting up his wife to be unprotected.
The Man Should be Out in Front
In my original post, I said that the husband should make sure his wife votes just like he does. When I say “just like he does,” this is not because the wife does not have a say in the matter but because he needs to lead her well. The best way to do that is to make sure her vote matches his vote.
Run the scenario: you, as the husband, vote third party and your wife votes for Trump. At the next get together, people are talking about who they voted for. You say third party and your wife says Trump. All eyes turn to her and ask her: “Why did you vote for Trump? Defend that position.” And there you are, as the guy, left to drink punch alone in the corner, while your wife tries to fend off the accusations. It is foolishness on the husband’s part to leave his wife vulnerable. If there is a hard decision to be made, the choice should go back to the husband and he should have skin in the game. He should be ready to answer for it.
This is true not only when other people ask us but when we stand before God. God will examine our decisions about how we led our wives. Did we lead and love them like Christ leads and loves the church (Eph 5:24-28)? And this examination will include voting decisions. Make sure your wife votes in a faithful way.
In our age of “freeing” women, what we have done is free them to be unprotected. Any man worth his salt should recognize the importance of being out in front on political decisions in order to protect his wife. Brothers, don’t let her vote in such a way that she is left unprotected. Being the leader means you take the brunt of the questions and objections and concerns. You should lead in the voting decisions because when the questions come, you should be ready with the answers. Don’t make her face down the loonies without you. A faithful wife will understand this principle as well and respect her husband for leading in this way. If a wife doesn’t understand this, then the husband should make sure to teach her.
This also leads to the important point that the husband should be talking with his wife about politics and about the candidates. This is part of the husband’s duty as well: to make sure she knows about the candidates and issues. She should not be a blind follower but a knowledgeable follower as well as a counsellor to him. God gave the wife as a helper to the man (Gen 2:20-21). This also means that the husband should listen to his wife. If the wife is right about an issue or about who to vote for, the husband better listen to her.
Objections and Questions
What about husbands who abuse their authority? That is a problem and that is wrong. Husbands should not be tyrannical nor abusive. They should lead their wives the way that Christ leads the church. Husbands should lay down their lives for their wives. This means being ready to defend and explain decisions that the husband and wife make.
The key issue to understand is that authority in the marriage is inescapable. The man either leads or he abdicates and then the wife leads. If the wife does lead, then she is abusing authority just as a bad husband is abusing his authority. The answer to bad husbands is not no leaders. The answer to bad husbands is biblical husbands who love Jesus and lead their wives. Think of a hammer. A hammer can be used poorly and it can be used well. If some men use hammers poorly, that does not mean that no men should use hammers. It means that we need men who are wise and godly about using a hammer. This is the same for leadership and authority in marriage. The man must lead. And we need faithful and wise men to do it.
What if the husband is abusive and manipulative about the vote? Then seek help from others. A marriage is made in the community of church and family and these others are responsible authorities that you can appeal to. No marriage is made in a vacuum. If there is a concern in this area, then church leaders and family should be consulted. It is important to also admit that church leaders and other family members are not perfect. They might misunderstand the situation or need more evidence before they see the situation rightly. God has given these other authorities as a way to protect the institution of marriage. But the first default assumption is for the wife to submit to the husband in all things. This includes voting.
The key in all of this is Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for sin. Men are called to lead in marriage and women are called to submit. They do this by faith, trusting and resting in Jesus as he is offered in the gospel. When the husband follows Jesus and lays his life down for his wife and she submits to him, it is a joyful and potent marriage. Men and women are sinners and they make mistakes but the gospel is big enough to heal all sins, even broken marriages. This is not an excuse for abuse or problems in marriage. This is the answer to those problems: the gospel forgives and brings true healing in marriages. We all need the reminder that Jesus came to save sinners. We must believe this and rest in it.
Here is the conclusion: The husband leads in submission to Christ, and the wife submits and follows the husband. This includes voting. The husband should love and lead his wife and make sure she votes just like he does.