By Eric on June 28, 2012 8

The Head and Heart of Our Family

This post was inspired by this one. One thing that really stuck out to me when reading it and that was the concept of the man being the head of the family and the wife being the heart. We’ve written about what the Bible says about this in the past, but this was a refreshing spin on the subject.

head vs. heart

When I say head of the family, it’s not as much the authority, but more or less the strategic-thinking brain. For Kelsey and I this makes perfect sense. She is much more of a live-in-the-now kind of person while I am a what-does-the-future-hold? thinker.

Neither is wrong; it’s just different.

Example: Kelsey and I both read this post. It breaks Kelsey’s heart to see Rooney growing and changing so fast in front of our eyes, or rather, while she is at day care during the week. For me, it’s exciting to see the changes. I love to watch her grow, evolve and learn new skills. I do miss her, but Kelsey’s emotions drive her day. This makes me sound heartless, I know, but I guess I have the ability to not dwell on my emotions for very long before moving on.

Kelsey can’t comprehend why it doesn’t make me sad to see her changing so fast, and I don’t understand why she dwells so much on the baby that she was and is.

This is what makes Kelsey and other mothers so special. Kelsey gets to gently remind me when I am not acting with my heart as much as I should be. I also get to help her use her head when she is thinking and acting only with her heart. It’s definitely a fine balancing act, and I’m sure glad that we have each other. It reminds me of this verse from 1 Corinthians 12:

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

I am not trying to stereotype women and men as a whole, but rather shed light that there are different personalities that we all have and finding the balance with our spouse might actually strengthen how we work together. There are certainly couples out there that are flip-flopped on these personalities, and that is completely fine. Some couples might even have a perfect balance in both areas and that’s OK, too.

Defining each of our roles regarding the head and heart has really helped us understand each other on a deeper level. I know that Kelsey will keep me in check when I am trying to reason through every situation with logic. She will remind me at 5 p.m. to come join her and Rooney on the floor for family playtime before Roo goes to bed. And when Kelsey’s heart can’t make sense of a situation we are in, I can help her break down the situation and devise a plan to make it all better.

Looking back, maybe you have picked up on these personalities that we have. Kelsey writes posts about love and feeling inadequate, and I write posts like how to be an intentional family man.

What do you lead most with, your head or your heart? Or are you balanced?



Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I love hearing about your family and I love reading your blog, so I hope I can share my opinion without coming off resentful or anything!

    It’s frustrating to hear that the husband is supposed to be the boss of the family (or when it’s man and wife, instead of husband and wife… but that’s just semantics). I think that puts a lot of pressure on him (on skills he may or may not have) and devalues my contributions (of skills I may or may not have).

    For my family, if we left the future-planning and most of the decision making to my husband, we’d be in pretty bad shape in more ways than just financially.

    I completely agree that being married means focusing on your spouse’s expectations instead of your own all the time… but can’t it simply be a two way street instead of a “listen to what your husband wants and don’t overwork yourself”? Maybe my comment is more for the blog post over at windchimes!

    Thanks for making me think this morning!

    • While I do believe that the husband is the spiritual head of the household, re-read the third to last paragraph. I think these roles are certainly flip-flopped for some couples. It’s certainly not an absolute among men and women, but that’s just how Kelsey and I are different. We do appreciate hearing your opinion!

    • I remember walking out of premarital counseling 5 years ago and being offended at the thought of my then husband-to-be being the ‘boss.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t think he was capable of making decisions and leading our family- I just thought I was better at it. ;) As we grew in our marriage, we really studied this concept and what it meant for us. One thing that is always refreshing to me is that in Paul’s letters he writes, “wives submit to your husbands” but the very next thing he says is “husbands love your wives.” For us, if my husband is being obedient to the Word and loving his wife (me), he is only going to make decisions and lead our family in a direction that is best for me. He’s not being a ‘boss.’ When living by this standard, we discuss and pray (often a lot) before making big decisions. I can think of twice in our marriage that our end choice wasn’t one I would have picked for us but we stuck to our decision making process and ultimately I submitted to his choice. In both cases, it ended up being what was best for our family.

      • PS- Eric, great post. My reply wasn’t really as much about your post as it was to the above comment. I did take your post as being about the thinker and the lover rather than the ‘authority.’

  2. i respect and appreciate the way you interpret how those verses manifest themselves in your relationship with kelsey and then acknowledge that they may look different in other relationships. i like to think i have a weird mix of head and heart inside myself, and my boyfriend does a fantastic job of keeping me balanced when i need it.

    on a completely unrelated note…your title makes me wonder – do you like the band “the head and the heart”? they’re amazing!

  3. While I do think personalities play a role in this, I think you would find the Herrmann Brain Dominance research interesting – It is more about how your brain functions vs. personality characteristics or gender. Through work, I was recently able to participate in a two-day professional development series which covered this information. It was obviously for the benefit of improving office relationships and communication, but I found it extremely eye-opening and understand my marriage (and other relationships) in a completely different way. In the past I have been completely boggled by the way Tanner thinks and makes decisions, because my brain works in a completely different way. I just expected him to think through things the same way I did (especially after I explicitly explain my thoughts), which honestly makes it difficult to get on the same page sometimes. Now that I understand what his brain “needs” and he knows what I “need” we can frame our conversations with each other while keeping in mind these needs, thus reducing misunderstandings (hopefully!). I completely agree that these roles are not necessarily gender-related. I am definitely the planner in our family while Tanner lives in the moment and leads with his heart!

  4. Wives–if this post rubs you the wrong way, I highly recommend the blog Many of us have capable husbands who would be godly heads of our homes if we would let them! The ideas and advice there have given me LOTS to think about!

  5. I consider myself a “head” person. But I feel sad and guilty that I am not spending more time with my daughter each day. That I am missing out on some of the new things she is doing and learning each day. It breaks my heart.

    In our relationship, both my husband and I tend to lead with our heads. We both make very rational, sensible, well thought out decisions. Maybe we could use a reminder to follow our hearts more often :).

Leave a Reply


Text formatting is available via select .

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>