.Much has been said about the difficult time we Westerners have with the uneasy balance between our ideals and harsh realities. This is true in many areas including our thinking about Christian marriage.
We share with our daughters the principles of Christian marriage by example. Scripture is powerful, but the repeated New Testament commands for us to “one another” makes it clear that quoting verses alone falls short. On a recent walk, my girls and I touched on the blessing -and responsibility- of living in submission to a husband’s authority, and imagined -as that’s really all we can do- the blessing and responsibility of living with the authority of paternal and husbandly headship.
As I took the time to think about the things I read on the matter, the picture which emerges is often sad and adversarial to the point of being toxic. It also stands in stark contrast to my own marital experience. We never fought a lot. The occasional disagrement? Yes, but fighting as a regular occurrence just didn’t happen. The reasons for that were not always the healthiest, but it only took a few short years to get to the point that we realized it is best to deal with disagreements when they arise if the law of love was principal driver.
The headship/submission model, when viewed it as a blessing rather than simply a burden to both parties, is a beautiful interplay between two people who understand the gift that God has given them. As we love, with full understanding of the weight of responsibility and accountability towards God and eah other, our chlldren also benefit
In a world where everyone is clamoring for what they believe is rightfully theirs -authority, respect, validation, and affirmation- children of Christian parents should get to see that these things flow naturally when the law of love, rather than the law of grasping for power or control, rules. It should go without saying (leaving aside extreme cases and eggregous sins) that getting you off your mind and focusing on blessing someone else leads to greater life satisfaction and happiness. However, and I know I say this a lot, nothing goes without saying anymore.
I can’t imagine seeing my husband’s authority as a vicious constraint put on me by an angry God solely to hold me down and keep me in check, but also believe that He has graciously put his spirit in me to guide me into all Truth. Isn’t that contradictory? My husband can’t imagine a life where every single tiny difference of opinion or act that annoys is an attempt to usurp his authority or an attempt to test his fitness so I can decide whether I want to stay or go. If I’m manipulating, and sometimes I fall into that, a swift and sure calling out sets things right quickly enough without thoughts speeding headlong into the notion that I am ripe to file for frivorce.
What kinds of Christians view sex and money in marriage as commodities for which each has traded for in marriage? Where in the New Testament do we see this as a way to approach a relationhip that God has says mirrors the relationship between Jesus our Messiah and His Body? It’s disgusting really, and I am so very thankful for a strong, dominant, yet loving husband who allowed the Spirit to teach him how this thing is supposed to be done.
The result, and trust me on this, is a beautiful interplay between people who know how to love, who respect authority and submission, and still appreciate the unique gifts and talents God has placed in the members of the family to be a blessing to its other members.
So when the man says to me (as he justifiably did quite recently), “Please don’t ever walk out of my house again dressed like that”, it didn’t take long for me to appreciate that he was right to object. I am after all, representative of his glory. The only reason I should be offended by his request is thinking of myself as a free agent representing myself only.
When I suggested that it would be best to wait before embarking on a new household project he is considering, he understood that I wasn’t usurping his authority. Rather, I was doing exactly as he had instructed, keeping record of the accounts as we updated our house over the summer.
If either one of us had been conditioned to see every little question, comment, or slight as a “spit test” on my part or lording of authority on his part, how miserable we would be!
It’s sad that many if not most believing women find the very idea of submission offensive, and that some believing men think headship means any independent thought their wives express is evidence of ftness testing or hypergamy.
For those *teaching* women: You don’t do any favors by telling sincere and well-menaing women that they are vile creatures simply because they display any evidence of being human and that their husband’s less than stellar, but equally human tendencies, are all their fault and that their men would become perfect specimens of godly leadership if only the women would submit right. Talk about manipulation and subversion!
After all…who’s supposed to be leading whom here?
It is so beautiful and comforting when you expect the best of your mate, refusing to assume the worst. Also, as bad a rap as romance gets, it’s kind of romantic and sexy too. And not just for him, thank goodness. God is not trying to make our walk in this life even more difficult than it already is by making enemies of those He gave us to ease our load.
So please…re-examine the Scriptures and your ways of thinking about these things. You’re missing out on SO much if you don’t.