Tag Archives: Sex Roles

Wayne Grudem explains male leadership in marriage

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

I’m not willing to take advice on this from most pastors, but Wayne Grudem is someone I respect because he does such a good job of applying the Bible to political issues. So he’s practical.

Anyway, here is something he wrote that was shared by a newlywed couple I am friends with.


Someone might say, “Well, okay, fine. There’s a leadership role for Adam, and I guess that means husbands should have a leadership role in their marriage of some sort. But how does it work? How does it work in practice?”

In our own marriage, Margaret and I talk frequently and at length about many decisions. I can tell you that I wouldn’t be here tonight unless Margaret and I had talked about this and asked the Lord about it, and she had given blessing to it, and said, “Yes, I think that’s right.” Sometimes we make large decisions such as buying a house or a car, and sometimes they are small decisions like where we should go for a walk together. I often defer to Margaret’s wishes, and she often defers to mine because we love each other.

In almost every case, each of us has some wisdom and insight that the other does not have. Usually, we reach agreement on the decisions that we make. Very seldom will I do something that she doesn’t think is wise–I didn’t say never. She prays; she trusts God; she loves God. She is sensitive to God’s leading and direction, but in every decision, whether it large or small and whether we have reached agreement or not, the responsibility to make the decision still rests with me.

Now, I am not talking about every decision they make individually. Margaret controls a much larger portion of our budget than I do because all the things having to do with the household and food and clothing and house expenses and everything . . . she writes the checks and pays the bills. I take care of buying books and some things about the car. I have appointments during the day with students. She doesn’t get involved in that. She has her own appointments. She has her own calendar. I don’t get involved in trying to micromanage all of that. We have distinct areas of responsibility. I am not talking about those things. I don’t get involved in those things unless she asks my counsel.

But in every decision that we make that affects us together or affects our family, the responsibility to make the decision rests with me. If there is genuine male headship, I believe there is a quiet acknowledgement that the focus of the decision making process is the husband, not the wife. Even though there will often be much discussion and there should be mutual respect and consideration of each other, ultimately the responsibility to make the decision rests with the husband. And so, in our marriage the responsibility to make the decision rests with me.

This is not because I am a wiser or more gifted leader. It is because I am the husband. God has given me that responsibility. It is very good. It brings peace and joy to our marriage, and both Margaret and I are thankful for it. Now, I need to add very quickly, men, this does not mean that a husband has the right to be a selfish leader.

Just about three years ago, maybe four years ago now, we started the decision making process. Margaret had been in an auto accident in Chicago. As part of the aftermath of that accident, she was experiencing some chronic pain that was aggravated by cold and humidity, and Chicago is cold in the winter and humid in the summer. Chicago was not a good place for that. Some friends said to us, “We have a second house in Mesa, Arizona, if you would ever like to go there and just use it as a vacation place, we would like you to do that.”

So we did. We visited Arizona. Mesa is a suburb of Phoenix. Margaret felt better. It was hot, and it was dry. And so I said, “Wow, Margaret I would love to move here, but I am only trained to do one thing; I can teach at a seminary and that is it. There aren’t any seminaries here.” The next day Margaret was looking in the yellow pages–literally. She said, “Wayne, there’s something here called Phoenix Seminary.” One thing led to another and God was at work in that seminary, and it was starting to grow.

Then we went through a decision making process. When we were in the middle of that decision making process, on the very day that we were focusing on that, I came in my normal custom of reading through a section of scripture each day, I came to a Ephesians 5:28, “Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.”

I thought if I would move to take a job in another city for the sake of my body, if I were experiencing the pain that Margaret had, and husbands should love their wives as their own bodies–then shouldn’t I move? Shouldn’t I be willing to move for Margaret’s sake? That was really why we moved to Phoenix.

Anyway, Dina and I were talking the other night about what would happen if – hypothetically – we suddenly found ourselves stuck with a child and responsible for it’s education. I said to Dina that I would have a meeting with her, and ask her to research all of the alternative forms of schooling, and look over the research on education and then come back with her recommendation about what would get us the most effectiveness for the least cost and risk. Dina said that she thought that was an excellent plan, but being the kind of person she is, she said that she would not wait to be asked to do this, but would instead pro-actively go and do the work and then present it to me to make the decision. A wife is a chief of staff, she does the research. She has to know all the politics. She has to do the face to face conversations. She has to make all the calculations. She has to be good at putting aside her feelings and being logical and analytical, in order to get results.

I think a lot of people worry that male headship means that husbands will micromanage like a tyrant, but that’s just wrong. That’s not at all what a man learns about how to lead others, in his workplace. A man looks for a wife with skills and experience to solve these sorts of problems for him while he is out working, and without needing a lot of guidance or monitoring from him. Micromanaging makes them both less efficient and more stressed. The more education and work history she has before she marries, the better she will be at solving problems on her own initiative. I always encourage young women to study hard things and to do hard jobs, but to stop working when young children appear (the first five years of the child’s life are critical). Learning hard things and doing hard jobs makes them more prepared for the roles of wife and mother.

Similarly, a wife does not want to choose a poor leader for a husband. She wants to choose someone who makes good decisions, and follows a plan through to a result. She should be looking at his decision making, especially in education, work and finances, and deciding whether he can do the male roles in a marriage.  She should be looking at his leadership style and communication ability. These things are well-defined, and she should be able to assess his ability by looking at his life to see if anyone follows his lead at work or outside of work on anything that matters. Does he reach the goals that he plans to reach? Is he realistic about risks and costs? She has to do an assessment of his leadership ability, because if she marries him, he will be leading her. Naturally, she will have to know something about leadership first, and know something about men, and what men expect to achieve with their marriages. What is his plan?

The easiest way for a man to avoid marrying a woman who resists his leadership is to not marry her. And the easiest way for a woman to avoid marrying a man who does not delegate tasks to her that she is better at is to not marry him. We are responsible for these decisions. As long as you don’t follow your feelings and intuitions, you’ll be fine. Don’t marry someone unless you have observed them demonstrating their ability to do the marriage roles cheerfully and well.

New study: doing housework adds 3 years to women’s lives

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

The UK Daily Mail reports on a study sure to confound feminists.


It’s probably not the most popular piece of health advice ever dished out – but researchers say that doing the housework can add years to your life.

They found that women who clean, hoover and do the laundry are likely to live almost three years longer.

Hoovering is what British people call vacuuming.


The team from University Medical Centre Rotterdam found that a 55-year-old woman who does little around the house is likely to live to see her 83rd birthday – but that those who keep on top of the housework should live on to the age of 86.

The benefit for men is much less marked. Their efforts with the loo brush will only buy them an extra year.

But men who do the gardening live 2.7 years longer, while working outside the home has little effect on women.

Dr Klodian Dhana, who led the research team, said the differences ‘may partly be explained by the fact that men engaged in more gardening and women in domestic work’.

The study of more than 7,000 men and women asked questions on lifestyle then followed them for decades.

Prior to this, we also saw studies about how marriages where women do more housework than men have higher frequency of sex.

Here’s the press release from Science Daily.


Married men and women who divide household chores in traditional ways report having more sex than couples who share so-called men’s and women’s work, according to a new study co-authored by sociologists at the University of Washington.

[…]The new study, published in the February issue of the journal American Sociological Review, shows that sex isn’t a bargaining chip. Instead, sex is linked to what types of chores each spouse completes.

Couples who follow traditional gender roles around the house — wives doing the cooking, cleaning and shopping; men doing yard work, paying bills and auto maintenance — reported greater sexual frequency.

Prior to that study, there was this Norwegian study.


Couples who share housework duties run a higher risk of divorce than couples where the woman does most of the chores, a Norwegian study sure to get tongues wagging has shown.

The divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled Equality in the Home, said.

The far left Wall Street Journal reports that marriages where the woman earns more are more unhappy:

“A new study reveals that women’s gains on the economic front may be contributing to a decline in the formation and stability of marriages,” writes University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler in a New York Times column.

The study, by three of Thaler’s Chicago colleagues, “found that traditional views of gender identity, particularly the view that the right and proper role of the husband is to make more money than the wife, are affecting choices of whom to marry, how much to work, and even whether to stay married.”

[…]Why are men averse to higher-income women? Perhaps because they understand that women are averse to lower-income men. Mating preferences, after all, are driven not only by attraction but by attainability. In theory all men should be attracted to supermodels; in practice few would have the confidence to ask one out.

Men, pay attention to these studies and choose wisely. Find out what you are designed to do in a marriage, and what women are designed to do. Train to do your jobs well, and pick a woman who not only does her jobs well, but wants you to do yours. And respects you for doing your jobs. Respect is more important to a man than the air he breathes.

Is cohabitation a better way to prepare for marriage than courting?

Painting: "Courtship", by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)
Painting: “Courtship”, by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)

Consider this assessment of cohabitation from the radically-leftist New York Times.


AT 32, one of my clients (I’ll call her Jennifer) had a lavish wine-country wedding. By then, Jennifer and her boyfriend had lived together for more than four years. The event was attended by the couple’s friends, families and two dogs.

When Jennifer started therapy with me less than a year later, she was looking for a divorce lawyer. “I spent more time planning my wedding than I spent happily married,” she sobbed. Most disheartening to Jennifer was that she’d tried to do everything right. “My parents got married young so, of course, they got divorced. We lived together! How did this happen?”

Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing. But when you talk to people in their 20s, you also hear about something else: cohabitation as prophylaxis.

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

That’s a nice idea – wanting protection against divorce. But I think these hopeful attitudes that young people have about cohabitation and the utility / harmlessness of premarital sex, is so much whistling past the graveyard. The fact is that cohabitation does not improve marital stability.

The New York Times author assesses the evidence about cohabitation:

Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.

As Jennifer and I worked to answer her question, “How did this happen?” we talked about how she and her boyfriend went from dating to cohabiting. Her response was consistent with studies reporting that most couples say it “just happened.”

“We were sleeping over at each other’s places all the time,” she said. “We liked to be together, so it was cheaper and more convenient. It was a quick decision but if it didn’t work out there was a quick exit.”

She was talking about what researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.

Cohabitation is associated with higher risks of divorce because it works to undermine the need for quality communication during courting and the need for commitment that is based on discipline, instead of pleasure. People slide into something that looks like marriage because the sex pulls them in. But they’ve never taken the time to talk about what the relationship is really about, and whether they are intending to commit to the other person for life, and on what terms, and for what reason. Young people find these conversations difficult and scary for a reason – they are not capable of discussing relationships in terms of self-sacrifice, self-control, and self-denial.

The focus on early sex is caused by a focus on wanting to get to pleasure right away. They want relationships to be like a consumer good, where they get their needs met without having to talk about suitability for roles, and acceptance of responsibilities and obligations. In my experience, young people are terrified of the responsibilities, obligations and expectations of a real commitment. They want relationships to be free,easy and fun – where they just get to do whatever they feel like, moment by moment. And somehow, it’s all supposed to work out, without anyone talking seriously about roles and responsibilities and commitment.

But of course that doesn’t work as well as keeping your distance and getting to know each other first. It’s not just compatibility that is important, though – it’s that both people need to prepare for the roles and responsibilities they will have in a marriage, and demonstrate to each other that each is capable of performing those roles.

What’s the answer?

Research has shown that pre-marital chastity produces more stable and higher quality marriages. And that’s because chastity helps people to focus on conversations and obligations instead of the recreational sex which clouds the judgment and glosses over the seriousness of marriage. Premarital sex rushes the relationship to the point where it is harder to break it off because of the sunk costs of sex and the pain of the break-up. Courtship is the time to discuss the things that break up marriages, like finances and division of labor. It is the time to demonstrate self-control and fidelity. Courting doesn’t allow either person to get control of the relationship through sex, so that they can get their needs met without having to care about the other person. When sex is ruled off the table, the only way to have the relationship go on is by serving the other person and showing them that you have what it takes to do the marriage role you’re assigned. That’s hard work, but young people need to accept that and get on with preparing for and practicing their marriage responsibilities.

Why not go back to courting?

If you asked me, I would tell you that courting is protection against a painful break-up as well as protection against a bad marriage. And the aim of courting is to interview the other person so that you can see whether they understand the demands of the marriage and whether they can perform their duties to their spouse and children. In particular, men should investigate whether the woman has prepared (or is willing to prepare now) to perform her roles as wife and mother, and women should investigate whether the man has prepared to perform his roles as protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader (or is willing to prepare now). Courting is not designed to be fun, although it can be fun. It is not meant to make people feel happy, it is mean to prepare them for marriage. And this is because you cannot translate fun and happy into marriage, because marriage is about well-defined roles, self-sacrifice and commitment. Marriage is about following through for the other person, whether you get what you want or not. You’d be surprised how often people give up on courting and show that their real goal for a relationship is not lifelong self-sacrificial love at all, but just using other people for their own happiness while they keep their distance from the responsibilities, obligations and expectations of the marriage covenant.

And that’s why I encourage men to very gently and subtly guide the relationship in a way that will allow both the woman and the man to practice their expected marital duties, see how they feel about their duties and get better at being able to perform them. Men have the most to lose from the divorce courts, if things go south. That’s why it is the man’s the responsibility to detect and reject women who are only interested in fun and thrills.

New study: switching male and female marriage roles makes both sexes unhappy

Child grabs for his mom, who is leaving for work
Child grabs for his mom, who is leaving for work

Here’s a report on a new study from the UK Daily Mail.


When females were the main breadwinner in the family, they were discovered to report more symptoms of depression.

However, the opposite effect was found in men: Their psychological well-being was highest when they were the primary wage-earners.

Researchers at the University of Illinois examined data on nearly 1,500 men and 1,800 women, aged between 52 and 60. Their well-being was evaluated through surveys.

The researchers first found that men’s well-being decreased once they had exited the workforce to become home-makers.

Meanwhile, the inverse was not so for women: Women’s psychological well-being was not affected by leaving their jobs to become stay-at-home mothers.

‘We observed a statistically significant and substantial difference in depressive symptoms between men and women in our study,’ says lead researcher Karen Kramer.

‘The results supported the overarching hypothesis: well-being was lower for mothers and fathers who violated gendered expectations about the division of paid labor, and higher for parents who conformed to these expectations.’

If you don’t like the UK Daily Mail, CNN reported on a similar study back in 2014.

Indeed. The trouble is this: who can afford to provide for a stay-at-home wife on one salary, in a country where 30% of your income is taxed, and many things (e.g. – health care, college tuition, etc.) are way more expensive because of socialist welfare state policies? We have a $20 trillion dollar debt, and taxes are only going to go higher, making it that much harder for a working man to provide for a family – no matter how diligent he is about getting STEM degree(s) and working full time, non-stop. Marriages where the woman stays home with the children are happiest for everyone, but thanks to the voting patterns of radical feminists, husbands have been replaced by government programs, and those cost taxpayer money. You can either have a big government welfare state or you can have a stay-at-home wife. You can’t have both.

I got a snarky comment on a post I wrote last week about how marriages where the husband does not work full-time are more likely to fail.

Here is the comment:

Well done.
I’ll now await your follow-up article on the divorce rate for couples where the wife works full-time outside of the home and how men should choose a woman who has demonstrated an ability to do marriage tasks – like taking care of the household full time, raising and nuturing children, being loving and supportive of a husband when times are tough (especially if, God forbid, he should ever find himself unemployed and thus no longer a provider, in which case most wives’ base and visceral impulse is to abandon him), not wanting “a career,” and not insisting that her husband waste all his earnings on fun and thrills for her.

Well, I’m blogging about it again today, but if the commenter were very clever, then he would have found this post from June of 2013 entitled “STUDY SHOWS THAT FEMALE-BREADWINNER MARRIAGES ARE LESS HAPPY AND LESS STABLE”.


Given these findings, it isn’t surprising that when a wife earns more than her husband, the risk of divorce rises, too. To study this, the authors used a survey conducted in two waves, 1987-88 and 1992-93. (There were no more recent data available for this particular test.) Then they investigated the likelihood of a divorce in the five-year interval. For this sample, some 12 percent of all couples were divorced during this period — a sobering fact about the stability of marriages in general. But the divorce rate rose by half, to about 18 percent, for couples in which the wife earned more than the husband.

When I was a high school student, I can remember trying to decide between being an English teacher, being a prosecuting attorney, or being a software engineer. It was my Dad who pointed me towards software engineering. As an avid stock picker, my Dad was seeing tech stocks exploding in value, and he knew that I would be able to find work even if I was laid off during tough times. I am glad that I listened to his advice, although my career still has not been easy, which is why I saved money for the two times where I was laid off (both times my subsidiary was folded by the parent company!). My reason for going into a field where I could earn more money was because I wanted to get married, have 4 children, and “heal” the experience of being neglected by my mother (who stuck me in day care after 6 weeks and worked full-time until she retired) by watching her parent my kids as a stay-at-home mom. I knew enough to know that marriage works better when the man provides and the woman focuses on the children – at least until they are 6 years old. Since then, I’ve discovered homeschooling, and I would definitely have done that. It’s not that I am opposed to women working, it’s that I am opposed to children not being raised by their mother.

As I explained in my lengthy reply to the snarky commenter, it’s gotten much harder for men to be the sole provider, and have a stay at home wife and homeschooling mom:

Regarding tough times, I think that the situation for men right now is horrible with respect to marriage and children. $20 trillion debt and a generation of unskilled snowflake millenials voting for socialism in droves. I also think that co-ed schools where teachers and administrators are 80% females produce lousy outcomes for boys (read Christina Hoff Sommers’ “The War on Boys”, 2nd edition). Affirmative action in higher education and in the workplace for women doesn’t help men become providers, either. Men also pay the same premiums for health care as women, and yet they use far less health care: more tilting the field against men. And so on, don’t even get me started on divorce courts and child custody.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve blogged on studies about male and female roles in marriage. If you want to get good results from your marriage, you definitely want to follow the studies below.

Related posts

Can recreational sex turn a selfish, irresponsible man into a marriage-minded provider?

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

An article from the American Thinker answers the question that vexes many men. As you read this excerpt below, ask yourself if it is a man or a woman writing this.

First of all, liberal women seem to be having an awful lot of sex these days. They are losing their virginity early, and working their way through as many “alpha males” as possible, but all the while they insist that a stream of recreational-sex relationships is somehow a path to lifelong married love. Can you turn a man who wants nothing more than recreational sex into the perfect husband, simply by invoking the magical power of vagina?

Liberal women think that you can:

On the one hand, liberal women believe wholeheartedly in the idiotic social construct they call, “sexual liberation.”  They pride themselves on losing their virginity, as though that “accomplishment” had ever been above the challenge-scale of an alley cat in heat.

These liberal women I’ve known, having given away their female V-card over and over and over again, all the while scour their host of intimate “trial runs” searching for that mythical, Hollywood-construct, Mr. Right.  This Mr. Right guy, for whom they are searching, is known to them up front as even more sexually-liberated than they, but this little factoid seems not to register in their liberated little heads as they frantically search for the equally mythical family home with the white picket fence, which somehow never gets hit by any of life’s roving tornadoes.  One can almost hear them say in unison, “And they all lived happily ever after.”

I think it’s one of the deepest mysteries of the world why women think that a man who has lots and lots of recreational sex is somehow marriage material. When I think of men who are qualified for marriage, I think of men who have studied hard subjects, gotten marketable skills, worked and worked, saved and saved, and shown that they can be faithful in marriage by exhibiting self-control in the courtship. But liberal women think that all of this reasoning is junk, and you must just jump right into sex to see if the relationship will “work out” or to find out what you “like”. Recreational sex, they insist, is a superior way of finding a husband. Discussing who will do what in an actual marriage and what the actual marriage is for is apparently ineffective.


Evidently, the liberal woman is capable of the most severe form of psychological denial known to humankind.  Certain that one of the men with whom she has copulated without strings will suddenly morph into a faithfully monogamous creature the minute she can convince one of them to say “I do” in front of a few witnesses, the liberal woman marches blindly down the aisle towards near-certain, adulterous doom.  Yet, no amount of honest reason can dissuade liberal women from this self-destructive, moral myopia.

What other term but “morally schizoid” could possibly describe this blatantly contradictory tendency among liberal women?

Having spent their youth casually throwing their own sexual morality to the winds of fairytale “liberation,” these liberal women still steadfastly cling to the faithfully monogamous ideal for that sometime-later moment when they actually do desire all the traditional things — the husband, the kids, the white picket fence — those pesky female-nature embedded longings, which coincidentally ensure the continuation of the human race.

But these liberal women somehow — in perfect schizoid manner — convince themselves that once married, they will be the gratuitous beneficiaries of the monogamous respect they still desire, but have never once demanded or deserved.  Intuitively, women know that strict monogamy provides the only real security for themselves and their own offspring.  Yet, they continue themselves to spurn the demands of monogamy until the very last minute, believing that fidelity springs forth naturally in miraculous profusion among all “married” humans.  Such pure poppycock can only be explained as a mental disorder.

I think women need to ask themselves questions honestly and rationally:

  • can recreational sex make an unemployed man get a job?
  • can recreational sex make a violent man be courteous and respectful?
  • can recreational sex make an atheist turn into a Christian?
  • can recreational sex make a male slut stay faithful?
  • can recreational sex make wastefulness turn into frugality?
  • can recreational sex make laziness turn into diligence?
  • can recreational sex make irresponsibility turn into commitment?

Marriages last because both partners have prepared themselves for self-sacrifice, rational discussions, problem solving and cooperation.

Previously, I provided the male perspective on liberal women’s poor decision-making about men and marriage. Read the article from the American Thinker (written by a woman), then read mine.