Can You Define Headship with One Word? (My Guy Can)

Another one of our casual dinner conversations. “How would you define headship?” I asked.

My husband answered with one-word: Vigilance.

Vigilance. His word slipped neatly into its space in my heart and completed what I longed to hear but never thought to articulate. It suited me. I was stunned by how right it felt. Someone – he – deeply cared about my welfare.

Vigilance is God’s idea. It permeates all of His interactions with us. It shines through Christ’s headship over His bride, the church. It serves as an example for every husband (Ephesians 5:1, 23). Some husbands follow Jesus’ example. Some don’t.

Adam didn’t. While the garden chapters (Genesis 1-4) don’t use the word headship, they clearly describe Adam’s responsibilities – the ones he carried out pre-fall but turned from when he sinned. Adam was responsible to guard and serve his wife … and He didn’t. He ended up vigilant for his own welfare, but not for hers.

God asks earthly husbands to follow Jesus’ example and put their bride’s welfare ahead of their own.

A well-known Gershwin song, Someone to Watch over Me, captures our longing: I need someone to watch over me. Everybody does, men and women. And God fills that need by watching over each of us. But He also – and this is important – specifically gives each and every husband the responsibility to watch over the welfare of his wife. That’s what headship involves.

My guy said it well. “How would you define headship?” I asked. “Vigilance,” he replied. May every marriage contain this kind of care.

Can You Define Headship with One Word? (My Guy Can)
© Lynne Fox, 2016



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