Is there a correlation between Christian women wearing a headcovering as is instructed in 1 Corinthians 11 and the divorce rate among Christians? Most churches today teach that the woman does not need to cover her head and that the teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 does not apply to today. Is it true that the headcovering teaching is not important, has no value for today, and is to be “spiritualized” and reinterpreted? Or is the Church reaping the consequence of ignoring the headcovering command in the high rate of divorce and the destruction of families among Christians?
I grew up in a Mennonite church that practiced the headcovering. As the years have passed, many Mennonite churches dropped the headcovering. I have observed that among those churches that viewed the headcovering as no longer necessary or important and discontinued wearing the headcovering, the divorce rate among church members has significantly increased. At the same time the Mennonite churches that continued to require the wearing of the headcovering continued to have a very, very low divorce rate. The Amish, whose ladies also wear a head covering, have almost a zero divorce rate.
A hundred years ago, almost all denominations required a woman to wear a headcovering, at least to church. All of those denominations have experienced a significant increase in the divorce rate since they took the view that the headcovering is not important.
Compromise in beliefs in one area leads to compromise in other areas of Scriptural commands as well. When a Christian or a church explains away the need to follow the Bible in regards to the headcovering it becomes much easier to explain away the Scripture applying to divorce and remarriage. After all, the church is following the world in not wearing a headcovering and they are also following the world in saying that divorce and remarriage is permissible.
The divorce rate has increased so much in the church that today it is more likely for a person who attends a church to divorce and remarry than for a person who never goes to church and does not profess to be a Christian!
Why the woman’s headcovering affects the divorce rate and why the headcovering is so important for today.
The woman’s headcovering has a much greater significance and importance than I realized. When I awoke early this morning, while I was still laying in bed, God gave me some new insights that showed me why the headcovering is so important for the church today.
In Malachi 2 God tells us the reason why He designed marriage and made a husband and wife one. It was because God wants their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and all the rest of their descendants to be Godly men and women after His heart. God is interested in our salvation, but He also is very much interested in the salvation of all the descendants of every Christian in the world. God wants ALL of our descendants to serve Him. When divorce occurs in a marriage, it often destroys the children spiritually. The chain of a Godly heritage is broken and the next generations are not taught to serve the Lord. Here is what God says:
Malachi 2:13-17 “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”
God desires for a husband and wife to produce children who will grow up to Godly men and women who will also produce children who will grow up to Godly men and women for generations to come. In order for a father and mother to produce Godly descendants for many generations, the father and mother have to be one, not divorced. In order for a father and mother to be one, there can’t be two heads; they have to be a united unit. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the tendency of women is to contend with men. Because of that bent in a woman’s sin nature, God commands six times in the New Testament that women submit to their husbands.
- Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
- Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
- Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
- Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
- 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
A woman’s covered head is a reminder to her that God wants her to submit to her husband’s leadership and not boss and nag him. She has to submit to her husband’s leadership if they are to be one in their marriage. That doesn’t mean that she has no input or say, she needs to. But there can be only one head of the home and God says in 1 Corinthians 11 that it is to be the husband.
1 Corinthians 11:3-5 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
It is important for a wife to submit to her husband if they want to have Godly descendants for many generations. The wife models submission to their children. More is caught than taught verbally. Submission is an important lesson for every person to learn because each Godly Christian must submit to Christ’s leadership and keep His commands. Disobedience to what God commands is sin and bars a person from entering heaven. God tells us “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23) Christ is the head of man, and men must submit to Christ’s leadership.
The importance of a woman wearing a headcovering and submitting to her husband’s leadership and its affect on the divorce rate is greater than what you might think. Most people assume that generally husbands are the ones who instigated a divorce, but that is not correct. David Bercot in his book The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down on page 51, states that in research he has found, in the United States, 67% to 75% (varying by state) of all divorces are filed by women. In England, 70% of all divorces are filed by wives. But the percentage of divorces initiated by women is even worse than that when it comes to couples who own houses and have minor children. As an attorney examining land titles and reading the legal filings on several thousand divorce cases, Bercot’s observation is that over 90% of those cases were initiated by the wives!
In the research paper “These Boots are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women,” Margaret Brinig, Professor at University of Iowa, says that children are the most important asset in a marriage, and the partner who expects to get custody of the children is by far the most likely to file for divorce. Women are much more willing to file for divorce because they rarely fear losing custody of the children.
God knew all of this when He commanded women to submit to their husbands, to view their husband as their leader. In many marriages if the wife had submitted to her husband’s leadership it would have prevented a divorce. God knew that Christian women needed a daily reminder to submit to their husband and not reject his leadership nor to divorce him.
You will note that God does not specify the style of headcovering that a woman must wear. The style is not what is important. Instead God puts the emphasis in 1 Corinthians 11 on the head being covered with something other than the woman’s long hair. One mistake that the Mennonite church and the Amish have made with the headcovering is to specify a particular style of covering as the only valid one for the ladies to wear in their local church. The differences in headcoverings, the size, the shape, and the style be it ever so small between different Mennonite churches are used by Mennonites to evaluate the spiritual condition of those in a particular church. The people are then labeled as more liberal or conservative. This is wrong. It is not the style of headcovering that is important but that the headcovering be worn.
I believe that the reason God did not specify a particular headcovering is so that it could change with changes in society, not that a past culture be frozen in time like the Amish are doing. Women should feel attractive in wearing their headcovering, not like they are out of date. At the same time the headcovering needs to follow God’s other instructions on dress that it not be elaborate. I believe that it is appropriate for a woman to wear a number of different styles, colors, etc. of headcoverings just like she wears different styles and colors of dresses or skirts and blouses. It is the covered head that is most important and the daily reminder to the lady that God wants her to submit to her husband.
The Christian woman’s headcovering has a significant affect on the divorce rate. It drops the divorce rate very significantly. That is not to say that every marriage where the wife wears a headcovering will be permanent and not end in divorce, nor that every wife will always be submissive to her husband. Nor does it address the problems on the husband’s side in the marriage. And we are not attempting to address all the causes of divorce, just the influence of the headcovering on the divorce rate. God gave the command for a Christian woman to cover her head for a reason. He knew she needed a daily reminder to submit to her husband’s leadership and never seek a divorce.
God’s desire is that each married couple be one so that they can establish the foundation for many Godly generations and that all their descendants will be men and women after God’s heart. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have attempted to lay the foundations of many godly generations without following all of God’s commands, including the headcovering. The experiment is over. Let’s not continue that path any longer. We see the results and the consequences in large numbers of broken Christian homes, wayward children, lost grandchildren, and many apostate churches that are going through the religious motions of church worship each Sunday.
It is not enough to observe the headcovering and divorce situation and analyze things, and curse the darkness into which many have fallen. We must act and make the necessary changes. There is hope because we see the mistakes and know what to change. We do not know how soon Christ will return. If He doesn’t return for another 200 years, each Christian family will have hundreds of descendants between now and then. Each father and mother is responsible to God to produce Godly offspring. What we need to do is lay and repair the foundation so that there will be many Godly generations.
A Christian woman wearing a headcovering, and using it as a reminder to submit to her husband’s leadership, has many benefits. One is that she will be more likely to remain happily married the rest of her life. Her submission will make her more attractive to her husband and less likely for him to be attracted to other women. 1 Peter 3:3-5 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”
Another benefit is that she has a greater chance of raising her children to be men and women after God’s heart. Another benefit is that she shows her children by her example how to submit themselves to God’s authority. And she has a greater chance of raising the foundation for many Godly generations and providing those descendants with a wonderful Godly heritage.