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Copyright March 9, 2007 8:42 PM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti


Updated March 10, 2007 6:26 AM CST

Copyright March 10, 2007 6:26 AM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti




Is the husband the boss of the wife?  Well, first, what is a “boss”?  Here is the dictionary entry for the word “boss” in the standard dictionary of American English:


3boss noun [D baas master] (1679)

1   : a person who exercises control or authority; specif : one who directs or supervises workers

2   : a politician who controls votes in a party organization or dictates appointments or legislative measures

boss•dom \-dm\ noun

boss•ism \"bä-'si-zm, "bÕ-\ noun


©1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.  All rights reserved.


In this dictionary entry, you will find the standard definition of the word “boss.”  The standard definition is definition 1, first part (read above):


A person who exercises control or authority.


So, the question is:


Does the husband exercise control or authority over the wife?


The only one who can answer this question correctly is the Lord.  He gives us the answer to this question in the Bible in Ephesians 5:22-25 (and elsewhere in the Bible):


Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it….


In this passage, we read the words “submit,” “head of the wife,” and “subject.”  Now, at first, it sounds like the husband does, indeed, exercise control or authority over the wife.  But note that wives are not being commanded by their husbands in this passage.  Wives are being commanded by the Lord.  Thus:


The commandment of God is the boss of the wife, not the husband.


This is further borne out by the words “as unto the Lord.”  Of course:


If the wife obeys the commandment of God, it will look like (appear that, seem to be that, create the illusion that) the husband is the boss of the wife.


Now, regarding the responsibility of the husband, the husband is not to simply order around his wife but, rather, to love his wife, which involves much, much more work than simply ordering someone around.  As far as any “ordering around” is concerned, the Bible teaches that the husband may order around his wife if doing so is an expression of love.  For example, a very simple example, if the husband commands his wife “Get out of the house!” because the house is on fire.  Still, note that the wife’s responsibility is not to be bossed around by the commandment of the husband but, rather, by the commandment of God to obey the commandment of the husband.  Even when the wife is ordered by the husband to do something, the husband is not the boss of the wife, the Lord is.


For in-depth discussion of this topic, see Dr. Bisconti’s Marriage Encyclopedia (link not yet active).




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