Thursday, May 12, 2011

When husbands are against headcovering THREE RESPONSES

What do I do if my husband does not want me to cover my head?

In this blog entry I am posting 3 different responses that I have written over a span of time. Perhaps something here will be of help to you.

I am asked about this rather frequently. Women will write to me and say that their husbands do not allow them to cover for prayer. The secondary question is whether to obey the Bible and submit to the husband or obey the Bible and cover for prayer.

First Answer:

That is a tough situation. The passage teaches us that we dishonor our head if we pray uncovered. Some think that means the head on top of our neck and some people think that means our husbands. We really cannot tell because the word Kephale just means head and we can only guess which way Paul meant for us to take that but we can't know for sure.

If I were ever in that situation I would still cover for prayer/prophesy because the Lord God outranks my husband but I would be so discreet my husband would not even have to know that I covered. I would cover alone in the morning during my quiet time/prayer time. When I was at church I just would not pray. That's because I won't pray I guess if my husband asked me to stop he would be essentially asking me to stop praying.

I'm not preaching to you...or telling you what to do...not at all. You are you and I am me. You need to do exactly as you are led by the Lord God Almighty and by your husband. It's a tough spot to be in.

I have a daily prayer time for ladies in your situation. I pray everyday that ladies like you will be able to follow the Bible and that the husbands, parents, pastors, and friends that try to hinder that will graciously stop hindering.

Follow up answer:

Remember, I'm only telling you what I would do, not what you "should" do.

There are a lot of things that the Lord tells us to through His Word. May He help me to think of a few good examples off the top of my head.

Be kind to one another

Share each other's burdens


Give money

Practice hospitality

Meet together

Wait for the Lord

Treat our superiors as if they were Jesus


Don't complain

Don't offend others with our bad behavior

Don't Lie

Don't lust

Don't walk in the Flesh

Don't commit adultery

There are so many others. One summer I took a notebook and a New Testament and every time it said to do something, anything, I wrote it down in the notebook. I had to write a lot of the New Testament that summer. My point is that we have what we call "instructions" that we either do or don't.

Submitting to our husbands is one of those and it's probably one of the hardest ones too. How does it stack up as compared to giving money to the poor? Worshiping the Lord? Meeting with other believers? Any husband could forbid any of those. Some of those affect a husband far more than a lady sneaking a scarf on her head during her morning prayers at home in privacy.

It's a little funny that any husband would look at all of the Christian "instructions" and he would only make the selection of "submission to her husband." Yours probably didn't do that. He probably wants you to do a lot of the instructions. He probably likes you to be obedient to the Bible by not gossiping, stealing, lying, being puffed up and conceited. He probably likes you choosing to voluntarily submit to him, with the Lord's help. But why is he against covering? Cultural reasons? Why then did Paul write out 3 reasons for covering? (The three are provided right there in the passage. The Headship order, God, Jesus, Man, Woman. The order of creation, first man, then woman, and the angels.)

Culture was not mentioned. "Because that's how it's done" was not mentioned. "Because that's what our people have always done" was not mentioned. Paul was writing to a bare headed culture. He was rattling their world with this.

The Corinthians were a lot like the USA---really into beauty and beautiful hair and the beautiful body. The artwork proves this. Paul was "un-doing" what the Jews had been doing with the men covering. The men were to uncover and was new!!

For 2000 years all different cultures did obey I Cor 11. That is all over the globe, even the USA practiced headcovering for women and bare headed prayer for men for hundreds of years. It only *just* stopped in the 1960's. Just recently. They still cover in South America, in the Eastern continents such as Russian and Korea. Some Catholics never did stop covering. Same for the Amish, the Mennonites, the Plymouth Brethren, the Hutterites, the German Baptists, the Greek Orthodox and many, many more.

Let's really look at why your husband doesn't want you to cover. He doesn't like how it looks. He is not the type of man who likes to stand out. No one else does in your church. It's new to him. He thinks only cults do that. He likes your hair because you're pretty and so is your hair. It might change your whole wardrobe. He has not studied the passage. He has not read it in the Greek. He consulted 1 or 2 commentaries which advised against it. He once knew somebody who did and they were kooky.

I don't know his reasons and I don't want to cast doubt on what is probably a lovely and wonderful man. He probably prays and serves the Lord with great vigor and love. He probably helps out at church and loves you and the family and gives of himself all day long, every single day. I don't know why he chose this for you. If it has anything to do with vanity then perhaps he is picturing you wearing something ugly on your head and looking like a cancer victim. I have pretty hair and I wear it down. I don't cover my hair. I don't wear a bun. I don't even wear a pony tail. My hair flatters my face. I cover my head with a beanie and then my hair is hanging down and showing and I still look like me. I only cover when I pray/prophesy or think that I might have to do either without any warning. The grocery store is an example. I kept going to the store uncovered and strange people kept showing up at the same time as me. (I live in a city.) I would want to pray but my beanie would be in my purse. This happened so often that I got in the habit of wearing a beret or little snood to the store. I wear it to restaurants too and sometimes I remove it as I get to eating and enjoying the conversation and if I'm clearly not praying or prophesying. To me praying is speaking to God and prophesying is (perhaps) speaking for God. To or For.....I don't have a supernatural gift of prophesy.

I will let you think all of that over. I will include you and your husband in my daily prayers. I'm certain that the Lord knows what He is doing in regards to your life and the development of this and how it could possible affect you and all the people you know.

One last thing.........some Christians think that covering is only for Christian group meetings like Sunday mornings and not for private prayer times at home or other places. I don't think that way but many respectable and wonderful and intelligent Christians do. What would your husband think of you only wearing a little cute hat to church services? Nothing flashy or calling attention to you.

I will be praying.

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Another response I wrote in the past:

TWO Questions about Covering

Basically one question is what do women do when their husbands don't get 100% on-board with the covering.

The second question was concern about not looking pretty for one's husband if one were to start covering.

Clevsea's Answers:

Some women will not cover without their husband's blessing. Not me. I would cover regardless.


Because the headship order as given in the covering passage (I Corinthians 11) clearly shows that my husband is outranked by Jesus. Anytime I personally am faced with choosing between the Lord God and my husband I will choose God. There are times when I place myself under my husband's decisions even though I feel that they are not the Lord's most highest calling for he and I. Covering is not one of those areas for me however and I would choose covering to obey the Lord and His clear teaching in I Cor 11. Sometimes husbands are not even Christians and they have not read the Bible. To me that makes them somewhat untrustworthy to decide some things for me that I can see I am clearly accountable to obey.

But like I said many women will not cover unless their husband is 100% for it. I respect that. They feel that covering would defeat the purpose under those circumstances.

But for me I do not think that submission to one's husband is the whole purpose. The angels are named as one other purpose in I Cor 11. Whether we are speaking of "good" angels or "fallen" angels we cannot know from Paul's letter. Either way it seems best to simply obey what we are taught and not overly concern ourselves with what we cannot know.

Many other ladies with disapproving husbands cover regardless and they either "go for it" and cover in the most religious looking way that they can or they are way more discreet and wear hats more and hanging veils & kapps and bonnets less.

MANY ladies do concern themselves with how they will look. That is not foolish. As the covering passage says we (females) are made for them, not they for us. Part of the marriage is often a physical attraction, not always, but many times. So perhaps certain wives make themselves "attractive" when they are alone with their husbands but they still dress modestly in public and cover.

Taking your husband's sensibilities into account is very smart. You may get to the point where you and he can sit down and look at the zillions of covering websites and view all the options out there. You may be able to discern his taste in coverings by taking the time to do this.

There are ladies that I have known who freaked their husbands out, so to speak, by their choices and they later learned how important their physical appearance is/was to their husbands. This is why I say it is not a foolish struggle. A wise wife gives thought to this.

If a lady is married to such a man then it is possible to only cover for prayer and not when going places with the husband. I know we'd like to pray all the time but this is one compromise that has worked for some marriages.

Keep praying and seeking the Lord Jesus Christ for your clothing and covering choices. He will guide you and then you will obey that guidance. Sometimes you and I will choose obedience to the Lord over obedience to the husband but that too will be rewarded in some way in the Lord's timing.

Let me add that many husbands change. This is the truth.

At first they are frightened. The "frumps" scare them. They like tight clothes or they think that they do. After some time passes many, many husbands wind up SEEING the truth and thanking their wives for covering up their bodies and heads. They will eventually see the worldly women's attire and start to "wake up" to how ungodly it is. Then the see their wives with new eyes and realise that she is saving her charms for privacy. And....they like it after all!!

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Yet another response:

Common Question -- My husband doesn't want me to cover

Such a common question for the new covering woman. After studying, praying and coming under the conviction to cover she finds out her husband disapproves to a big extent. In fact he even asks her not to cover. Many times this is a non-believer in Christ Jesus and someone who doesn't know the Bible or will not obey the Bible.

Recently this question was asked on a Yahoo group. In this case the husband said he wanted to see his wife's hair and not to have it covered.

I have answered this at other times but these are today's answers to this question.

Here is my input.............

A few ideas:

#1) Cover secretly when you pray at home. No one needs to know what is on your head during your private prayer time.

#2) Wear a beret with your hair down. That is how I cover. Details below.

#3) Collect some hoodies. They come in shirts and in sweat shirts. You can use the hood as a covering when needed.

#4) If he works in the day time you can probably wear whatever you want to while he is away and then go bare-headed when he's home.

As to the theology of what to do I lean this way: When and if I have to choose between obeying my husband and obeying the Lord God concerning any CLEAR teaching found in the Bible then I choose God over my husband. Some say, "Hey, that's not submission to your husband."

Yes, I'm aware of that. But that very teaching comes from the Bible, doesn't it? The Bible is the source of the teaching on wifely submission.

With some things it's EASY to know "when" to choose the Bible over the husband who does not believe in the Bible. There are many, many things you would not do just because he told you to.

I do teach others to follow their husbands. I obey mine. It's Biblical. However, on this topic I would cover regardless of what my husband said if he was trying to get me not to. But I would be nice. I would not flaunt it. I would try to find a covering that he could stand.

I wear a "sur la tete Beret 11 1/2 inch diameter beret" available for $13.95 at the Villiage Hat Shop which is a large on-line store. They don't wear out and come in many colors. It's not my only covering but it is my main covering. When covering I don't put my hair up. This is an option for women who have disapproving husbands.

Lastly, there are some husbands who object to head covering and/or modesty, it happens. But SOME of these men change their minds and approve of it in short time.

You'll start to look normal with some kind of covering on and look "funny" when you're not covered.

You are going to find that at least 50% of covering women will think differently than what I just shared. At least half think that covering is wrapped up in submission and ought to not be done if the husband says "no." That's okay that they don't agree with me. I'm not asserting myself as a "know-it-all" I am only sharing what I do and what I think.


Jules said...

very well said. one thing that is very sad for me to see is that alot of Mennonite churches are going away from headcovering and etc. there are quite a few Mennonite churches out here in South Dakota that don't cover or wear dresses. I really miss seeing that back East. blessings!

Mrs. Q said...


Thank you so much for posting all of this. I really appreciate it and also appreciate you giving many ideas on how to go about covering "discreetly". I also agree that where the Scripture is clear on a command, the woman is to obey that command. (The husband's authority does not usurp the Lord's). Thank you for confirming what I have gleaned from Scripture.

Many blessings,
Mrs. Q

clevsea said...

Good. We find that we have agreement.

With this issue I usually find that the majority think that the husband's theologies come first over obeying the covering teaching.

Even one of my daughters (32 yrs old) just said to me that a woman would have to obey her husband and not cover. She said this with a question mark tone of voice so I just quickly told her, "no, that's not the case with the covering issue." She accepted that.

I think that idea is easily arrived at and many have arrived there--- laugh.

It's not a matter of being right. We each have to seek the Lord and His wisdom for ourselves.

Thank YOU!!

Ellie Rae said...

I have started covering in church (I was raised Catholic, and when I was a young girl, this was required in the Catholic church, but we didn't know why -- to have asked would have been seen as rebellion). The way I understand the Scriptures is that we women "ought" to cover when we pray or prophesy in public, not "must." But right now, we are having problems with women in church not being submissive at all, so I have felt led to begin doing so. My husband approves (I would not submit to the Lord over my husband unless my husband were asking me to do something blatantly against Scripture, a "thus saith the Lord"). But my husband approves. I feel funny because I am the only one (my husband is the pastor), but I feel it is necessary at this time. I like your blog, thanks.

Anonymous said...

BUT! if you go ahead ,and cover against your husband wishes you are going against him!
remember that