In a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God.
Any man who speaks with God or about God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of Christ, dishonors Christ.
In the same way, a wife who speaks with God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of her husband, dishonors her husband.
Worse, she dishonors herself - an ugly sight, like a woman with her head shaved. This is basically the origin of these customs we have of women wearing head coverings in worship, while men take their hats off. By these symbolic acts,
men and women, who far too often butt heads with each other, submit their "heads" to the Head: God.
Don't, by the way, read too much into the differences here between men and women.
Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God - that is true. But the head on a woman's body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her "head," her husband.
The first woman came from man, true - but ever since then, every man comes from a woman! And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let's quit going through these "who's first" routines.
Don't you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism - a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission?
I hope you're not going to be argumentative about this. All God's churches see it this way; I don't want you standing out as an exception.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)